In the UK, the spread and high contagiousness of the Delta variant (or Indian variant) triggered a third wave of the Covid pandemic.
The covid pandemic situation in the UK was clearly improving thanks to the country’s massive and efficient vaccination campaign, which began in early December 2020. However, despite the good results achieved in recent months, the country is facing a new wave of infections caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Covid, Delta variant in the UK: ‘Third wave underway’
The UK is facing a new wave of Covid infections caused by the circulation of the Delta variant, first detected in India in October 2020, which is rapidly undermining the balance achieved in the country over the past few months.
The constant and aggressive spread of the Delta variant in Great Britain has led the British government to postpone the lifting of restrictions imposed in the country until 19 July: such a move was to be introduced from 21 June.
At the moment, therefore, British experts are convinced that they will have to deal with an overbearing ‘third wave’.
Professor Adam Finn, a government advisor and a leading member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, spoke on the subject. In an interview with Radio 4’s Today radio programme, he explained: “The infections are going up – we can hope that they won’t increase any faster than they are now, but they are going up. The third wave is on its way“.
Covid, delta variant in the UK: increased contagiousness
Despite a 33.4% increase in the number of infections in the UK over the past week, experts have revealed that the rate of new positives appears to be down from the first Delta variant pandemic outbreaks in late May.
In a 14-day period, however, infections in the country increased by 118%, leading to a doubling of Covid-related hospital admissions in UK hospitals.
The Delta variant therefore remains the most infectious and aggressive SARS-CoV-2 variant, especially when compared with the so-called English variant, which is currently predominant in Europe. The Delta variant is around 60% more infectious than the English variant, with some studies suggesting a 97% increase.
Covid, Delta variant in the UK: vaccines and initiatives in other countries
In addition, one of the main difficulties faced by the UK in relation to the spread of the Delta variant concerns vaccines. It has been found that a single dose of vaccine does not protect people effectively, so both doses are needed to achieve good coverage against the variant.
Given the situation in the country, as well as delaying the long-awaited ‘Freedom Day‘ and speeding up the vaccination campaign, the UK is carrying out extensive testing in all areas most affected by the Delta variant, sequencing most of the swabs. The measure has found that the Indian variant is the cause of around 90% of the new SARS-CoV-2 positive cases reported in the UK.
For this reason, many countries are launching initiatives to drastically limit and avoid contact with the UK.