The opening ceremony of the Olympic games kicked off today despite covid rates in Japan being at their highest since January., although new cases today were only 5,397 compared with over 36,000 here in UK. However, only 25% of the population is fully vaccinated. Athletes from competing nations wore face masks and many were socially distanced as they took part in the parade in an empty stadium.
Today’s daily figures show the UK recorded 36,389 new infections – a further drop from 46,558 logged on 20 July. It is too soon to say if cases have peaked, however, given that the statistics do not capture the impact of unlocking that happened on 19 July. One expert said it will take a few weeks after relaxing restrictions to know for certain. Prof Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia said: “I would caution that this may just be a temporary slowing in reports before we start to see a return to exponential growth towards the end of next week as a result of the ending of restrictions last week.” It is possible cases will increase again, with some measures, such as the R rate, still suggesting the epidemic is growing. The latest estimate of R – which measures how quickly the virus is spreading – is unchanged from the previous week at 1.2 to 1.4, which means that on average, every 10 people infected with coronavirus goes on to infect between 12 and 14 others.
The estimated daily growth rate shows signs of a possible slowdown, however. This week’s estimate is that infections are growing at between 4% and 6% a day, down from between 4% and 7% last week. Meanwhile, data from the Office for National Statistics based on swab tests in the community suggests 1.3% of the population – or one in 80 people – has the virus, up from one in 100 the week before.
According to the ONS figures for the week up to 17 July:
- one in 75 people have the virus in England – compared to one in 95 the week before
- in Scotland it is one in 80 – compared to one in 90 the week before
- in Wales it is one in 210 – compared to one in 360 previously
- in Northern Ireland it is one in 170 – compared to one in 290
The more infectious Delta variant currently accounts for almost every Covid infection in the UK. A new report from Public Health England warns of a small but increased risk of catching this variant, first identified in India, even if you have had Covid before. click full source.
In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues apace.
However, with more than 46 million people – just under 88% of all UK adults having now received a first dose of a vaccine, and more than 36 million people ( 69% of all adults), have had their second dose, so what is going on ? Why is the holy grail of herd immunity not kicking in ?. The same thing is happening in all highly vaccinated nations. It must be mainly young un-vaccinated adults and children catching covid and being tested. The UK has the highest rates of testing between 3 and 5 times the rates of other nations. Only time will tell when we start to approach herd immunity and the pandemic starts to wane.