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Watching the Euro 2021 may have caused the third wave of infections in the UK

thousands of people meeting not only at Wembley Stadium but also in pubs and homes to watch matches, most of the time without wearing masks or observing social distancing rules.

An Imperial College London study published today confirms a ‘substantial third wave of infections‘. Professor Steven Riley, the author of the research, confirms that ‘watching football matches may have led to men having more social activity than usual. Hence an increase in infections.

Watching the Euro 2021 may have caused the third wave of infections in the UK

The third wave of infections that has swept through England in recent weeks, especially among men, may have been facilitated by the progress of the English national football team, which has led to thousands of people meeting not only at Wembley Stadium but also in pubs and homes to watch matches, most of the time without wearing masks or observing social distancing rules. This is shown by data from Imperial College London published today in the React study, which tested more than 47,000 volunteers across England between 24 June and 5 July, confirming a “substantial third wave of infections”. It also found that men were 30% more likely than women to contract Covid. “Watching football matches may have led to men having more social activity than usual,” said Steven Riley, author of the study.

Also according to the React study, between 24 June and 5 July, about one in 170 people contracted the virus or 0.59% of the population. This is four times higher than the previous report of 7 June, when 1 in 670 people tested positive. The outbreak has spread across the country but especially in London, where infections have increased eightfold in a month. Despite the success of the vaccination programme, commented Professor Paol Elliott, “we are still seeing a rapid increase in infections, particularly among young people. However, it is encouraging to see a lower prevalence of infection in people who have received both doses of a vaccine. It is therefore essential that as many people as possible take both doses of the vaccine when they are offered”.

One hundred scientists appeal to Johnson: ‘Do not lift restrictions on 19 July’

Following the new increase in infections, a hundred doctors and scientists published a letter to the British government in the journal Lancet, highlighting the risks of a hasty lifting of measures to contain the virus. “As a third wave takes hold in the UK, the government is thinking about how to open up even more. A decision that carries with it the implicit acceptance of a new surge in cases.” Scientists say that for the coronavirus to be defeated, the population needs to be immunised to prevent exponential growth in the spread of the virus: but community immunity is unlikely to be achieved by 19 July 2021, the date given by Johnson for the relaxation of restrictions. “Proportionate mitigation measures will be needed to prevent hundreds of thousands of new infections until many more people are vaccinated,” the letter says.

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