Monday, June 27

Britain’s Covid Numbers Show We Must Immediately Move To ‘Plan B’ | Kit Yates


TOAll the Covid indicators in the UK are going in the wrong direction. They have been for a while. Cases are increasing; Hospitals are feeling the strain from an increasing number of Covid patients, and the number of daily deaths is increasing. At the same time, vaccine delivery is slowing.

On Monday we saw almost 50,000 reported cases. Only in 16 days throughout the pandemic have we seen higher numbers. On Wednesday we saw similar numbers. Our seven-day average is more than 45,000 cases per day, and the ONS estimates that one in 60 people is infected, the highest level since January. For comparison, Germany is seeing 165 daily cases per million of its population. In France the figure is just 71 and in Spain 35. The corresponding rate for the UK is more than 650 per million.

The continued increase in cases since mid-September has been due in large part to unmitigated transmission in schools. High school cases the school’s students are at unprecedented levels. The recent discovery of false negative tests at Immensa’s Wolverhampton lab is also starting to have an effect on the numbers. The Southwest, the region hardest hit by the scandal, and which appeared to be bucking the trend for the rest of the country, with case rates (artificially) low in early October, is now at the center of the UK epidemic. Unsurprisingly, the impact of telling thousands of people that they were not contagious and that they could continue their daily activities has been devastating. This will lead to tens of thousands of unnecessary illnesses, further putting pressure on hospitals in the region and ultimately costing lives.

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The Immensa debacle will further elevate the already high death rate nationwide. We are currently averaging more than 130 deaths per day, with 223 reported on Tuesday alone, the highest number since March 9. 1.8 deaths per day per million, our rate is more than double that of Germany and three times that of France and Spain. The UK death figures are even more surprising in light of the fact that current figures reflect case rates some three weeks earlier. Three weeks ago, we had an average of 35,000 cases a day. In the short term, the death figures only go one way.

The most frustrating aspect of our poor performance on Covid is that, with relatively little effort, it could have been very different. R is floating right above one. It wouldn’t have taken that long to bring the broadcast number back below one, reversing our upward trends. Looking with green eyes at our comparable continental neighbors highlights the alternate reality we might have been living in had we continued to wear masks in indoor public spaces, started vaccinating our children during the summer, and took steps to improve ventilation in our schools. and workplaces.

In contrast, in England, the masks, which have no economic damage, only a benefit to public health, were removed for purely ideological reasons. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization pontificated for weeks before recommending against vaccinating children 12-15 years of age, despite finding an overall benefit of vaccines in this age group, using estimates that have not published.

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The intervention of the medical directors of the United Kingdom was necessary to give the green light to the protection of our secondary school students against this disease. Even then, deployment has been catastrophically slow. Only 17% of 12-15 year olds in England they have been vaccinated since the program was announced, more than a month ago. In the absence of vaccination we should have implemented mitigations in schools. Masks, ventilation, and local contact tracing would have helped keep children safer. Instead, the promised 300,000 CO2 monitors – not even a mitigation in and of themselves, but the first step in determining when there is a problem – have not arrived. Last week it was reported that only 2% of promised monitors had been delivered. Filters or mechanical ventilation are not yet mentioned to really address the core issue. We have left our children, who have suffered and sacrificed so much during the pandemic, to face Covid alone.

The other factor that could explain some of the differences between the UK and European neighbors is vaccination in the adult population. Last spring, the UK really “beat the world” when it comes to vaccination, jabbing faster than almost any other country. But since the summer we have discovered that our vaccine coverage lags behind that of many EU countries. ” Five million adults in the UK stay unvaccinated. In addition to general coverage, the type of vaccine administered influences the quality of protection provided. The most vulnerable people in our society were given the AstraZeneca jab, which provides poorer protection and is less effective in reducing transmission than the mRNA vaccines that were the staple food of much of continental Europe.

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Adding to our problems, the recent scientific consensus is that vaccine-mediated immunity declines over time. Six months after our peak vaccination rate and heading into winter, it is clear that our rapid launch, which made a big difference early on, is now working to our disadvantage. The booster program was supposed to rectify the problem, but its implementation has not been able to keep up with the first and second rapid doses we administered last spring. More and more people fall six months after their first dose, becoming more and more vulnerable all the time. In a country employing a vaccine-only strategy, boosters are crucial to protect the most vulnerable.

The most important lesson the government should have learned from its mistakes in handling the pandemic so far is that early and decisive action is always better than watching and waiting. In short, it’s “plan B” time. The introduction of masks, vaccination passes and increased work from home can now allow us to control the situation in a relatively painless way. However, it is important that we activate plan B as soon as possible, because if we do not, we may have to jump directly to plan C. And at the moment there is no plan C.


www.theguardian.com

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