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New COVID Surges In UK Tied to Premature Loosening of Protocols

New COVID Surges In UK Tied to Premature Loosening of Protocols

More than 50,000 new COVID19 infections were recorded in the U.K. on Thursday, the highest daily count since mid-July and a higher number than reported in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal combined. The country also saw 115 deaths, with Tuesday marking a daily death toll of 223 people — the highest since March.

Barely three months after Britons celebrated “Freedom Day,” which brought a near-full lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, 1 in 55 people in England were estimated to have had Covid in the week leading up to October 16th, according to the U.K. Office for National Statistics.

 

Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths in the U.K. during that period were relatively low, even if cases continued to rise, and the country’s vaccination rollout was largely lauded as a success internationally. But now, many as 1 million people may have been infected with the virus in the last week alone.

The rising deaths and skyrocketing infection rates, combined with a public health system stretched far beyond its capacities, have prompted calls for the government to reassess the lifting of lockdown and quarantine measures. Experts say there is a range of factors driving Britain’s current surge. As the pandemic nears the two-year mark, they are closely monitoring the country’s response to rising cases and whether the U.K. is a warning sign for the rest of the world.

NBC News took a deeper dive into the U.K.’s COVID surge, reporting that Britain was one of the first countries to start vaccinating its population, so Britons enjoyed a return to so-called normal life earlier than most. But now, there are fears that the immunity gained from Covid vaccinations is starting to wane as the delta variant — which has accounted for approximately 99.8 percent of sequenced cases in England, according to a recent government report — as well as a mutation of the variant known as “delta plus” continues to spread.

Because the U.K. rolled out its vaccination program earlier than the rest of Europe, that could also mean protection is waning sooner, especially among older recipients.

Read the full report at NBC News.

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