Cases of the highly transmissible delta Covid-19 variant almost doubled in a week across the U.K. – rising from 33,630 cases last week, to 75,953 cases today, with more people admitted to hospital.
Bloomberg is reporting that close to 90 percent of the sequenced and genotyped cases across the UK are the Delta variant. Thursday’s one-day total is the highest since Feb. 19 when 12,027 cases were reported in the country.
Through it all, Public Health England (PHE) is still coming to grips with the fact that even when the vaccine program has reached all adults, it is still possible to get COVID-19, presenting a challenge to the government as it seeks to reopen the economy.
“We are aiming to live with this virus like we do with flu,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament this week.
Increase in cases is primarily in younger age groups
With the Delta strain being behind the recent surge in cases in the UK, particularly among the younger age groups, two new studies are shedding some light on what is happening.
In the first study, according to the Center for Infectious Disease and Policy (CIDRAP), it was discovered that young people are helping drive the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in England.
The second study showed reduced COVID-19 vaccine and antibody efficacy against the more transmissible Delta variant.
This surge in cases among the younger generation is to be expected, sort of, simply because at the beginning of the vaccination drive, older people and those most at risk were given the first doses.
This was proven out by researchers who found that those 65 and older who had been vaccinated early on still had a lower association between infections and hospital admissions.
“We can take a lot of comfort in the fact that there does appear to be very good protection in the older age groups, where virtually everyone has been doubly vaccinated,” senior study author Paul Elliott, MBBS, PhD, director of the React program, said in a BMJ press release today.
The authors said that the true number of SARS-CoV-2 variants probably has been underestimated and that more variants of concern will continue to emerge, making it all the more important to be vaccinated.