Yesterday, Freedom day July 19th came and went, when most covid restrictions were lifted in England. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak the Chancellor were self isolating after they were named as close contacts of the Health Secretary who had tested positive at the weekend. Downing Street first said they would participate in a Covid testing pilot – rather than self-isolating – before reversing this decision within hours. In addition, more than half a million contacts of Covid-positive people were told to stay at home in a single week, with growing criticism about the effect on the economy and public services. The UK also recorded the highest number of new cases in the world at nearly 40,000.
In America, stock markets dropped sharply yesterday as investors worried about the impact of the coronavirus Delta variant on the economic recovery. ame US stocks plunge amid coronavirus variant fears – as it happenedRead more . The selloff came as the variant continues to spread across the US and around the world. Covid cases are now rising in all 50 states and some cities are once again considering or imposing mask mandates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 725 points, or 2.1%, after losing 946 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 lost 1.6% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite declined 1.1%. Monday’s selloff was reminiscent of the market losses experienced in the early days of the pandemic, with airlines and travel companies falling hard amid fears of new travel restrictions. click full source.
The fast-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus is eroding some of the world’s progress against the Covid-19 pandemic. The most transmissible variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus identified to date causes more severe illness than others, and has already landed in at least 85 countries. Even countries that have done a good job of vaccinating people are starting to hit the limits of people willing to get their shots, leaving smaller groups still vulnerable to the disease. This has effectively created two distinct pandemics in the US, with vaccinated people starting to return to normal while those who are unvaccinated make up almost all new hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19.
In the US, the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 currently accounts for 20 percent of new cases and is on track to become the dominant variant in the US. “The delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the US to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a briefing in June. In Israel, the variant is responsible for up to 70 percent of new cases, prompting the country to reinstate an indoor mask mandate. Health officials in Israel reported that about half of the new cases were in adults who had been fully vaccinated. In the United Kingdom (which has vaccinated a large portion of its population) and Uganda (which has not), delta comprises almost all new infections. The same is true in Australia and parts of Asia, which had reduced their rates of community spread to enviably low levels but are now imposing new lockdowns in some cities to control the spread of the variant.
Delta itself is continuing to change. Health authorities reported last week that a sub-variant with additional mutations, delta plus, has caused at least 50 infections in India, where the delta variant was first detected last year. Delta plus has already been reported in 11 countries.
Why the delta variant appears so dangerous
The delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, initially known as B.1.617, is one of five variants of concern identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A variant of concern is one that spreads more readily, causes more severe disease, or reduces protection from vaccines or previous infections. Delta checks all three boxes.
The looming threat now is that the more delta spreads, the more likely it is to mutate further in dangerous ways. “The scary scenario is that this is not the last or the most harmful variant,” said Maureen Miller, an infectious disease epidemiologist and medical anthropologist at Columbia University. And when variants cause new lockdowns, the restrictions affect everyone — not just the unvaccinated people who are most at risk. click full source
So there we have it. The Delta variant will become the dominant variant world-wide and may well derail the UK plan to weather the third wave by achieving herd immunity naturally without lockdown restrictions. Only time will tell.