🏴 POSTCARDS FROM ENGLAND 🏴: Euro Cup heartbreak, big crowds, and Delta still rising.
The lads still did everyone proud, but the boisterous Euro Cup crowds may not have been the best news for COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks.
Cases continue to rise in the UK, thanks to the more transmissible Delta variant and perhaps a healthy nudge from Euro Cup football cheering crowds, whether in stadiums, pubs, or homes.
The REACT study in the England which regularly tests a representative sample of the population found that men were 30% more likely than the women to test positive for Covid in the period from June 24 to July 5th. Public Health Scotland also reported that nearly 1,300 Scotland fans who travelled to London to watch their team play England on June 18th later tested positive for coronavirus.
🤦🏻♀️ The WHO’s COVID lead Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove lamented on twitter during the final match:
“Am I supposed to be enjoying watching transmission happening in front of my eyes? The #COVID19 pandemic is not taking a break tonight… #SARSCoV2 #DeltaVariant will take advantage of unvaccinated people, in crowded settings, unmasked, screaming/shouting/singing. Devastating.”
Despite rising cases, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed today that most coronavirus restrictions will be lifted in England on July 19th. This includes the opening of nightclubs and other large venues and an end to mandatory social distancing and facemasks.
Precautions including masks in crowded indoor settings are still being encouraged, but mandates will be lifted. A large group of scientists recently published a letter in The Lancet (linked below) calling for the maintenance of mitigation measures until more vaccines are deployed.
Government advisors point to the weakening link between cases, hospitalizations and death due to vaccinations to justify the final re-opening steps (see figure). While the link is clearly weakened compared to previous waves, hospitalizations are now rising quite quickly. Deaths are rising slowly but so far remain at low levels, some continued good news.
💉 87.2% of the UK population above age 18 has had at least one vaccine dose, with 66.2% of adults “double-jabbed.” (Compared to 67.7% and 58.9% for >18s in the US).
💉 The UK is not yet vaccinating those under 18, but its % of the total population with at least one dose is still higher than the US (67.6% in UK vs. 55% US).
Rising cases and hospitalizations in the context of very high vaccination rates remains a cautionary tale for other countries, and many European countries such as the Netherlands are seeing VERY rapidly rising cases dominated by the Delta variant. Cases are also rising in many US States with lower vaccination rates, where mask mandates and most restrictions have also been lifted for quite some time.
The twists and turns of the epidemic curves remain unpredictable. After the past 18 months I remain humbled when trying to guess where things are going next.
This week, I am simultaneously awed by the power of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 deaths and nervously watching the power of Delta to continue to find susceptible hosts.
If you haven’t yet, get both doses of your vaccination. If cases are rising where you are, remember to avoid crowded indoor spaces and #MaskUp when necessary. Stay Safe and Stay Sane!
Nerdy Girl Jenn (from London)
Figure Source: UK Government Slides from Press Conference July 12, 2021
“1,300 Scotland fans who travelled to London later tested positive for Covid”
“Covid: Watching Euros may be behind rise in infections in men”
“Mass infection is not an option: we must do more to protect our young”