Uk News The government must target virus hotspots and adolescents to avoid a deadly third wave United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - There are two clear dangers to navigate as the Government carefully navigates the planned easing of lockdown restrictions.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A Covid-free summer that seemed assured just a week ago now hangs in the balance – and so too do thousands of lives. In four days last week, the prime minister went from being ‘confident’ that the UK is on track to lift all remaining restrictions next month, to reportedly being ‘very worried’ about the Indian variant that is accelerating in various parts of the country.The government needs a clear-eyed strategy to minimise the risk of a deadly third wave if it sticks to its roadmap for lifting restrictions. There are two dangers to navigate.The most urgent challenge is avoiding a third wave before the vaccine rollout is complete. Even before the Indian variant took centre stage, the government’s epidemiological advisors foresaw the biggest danger period for a surge in infections being between now and the school summer holidays. We’re in a race against time, and with a more transmissible variant on the loose that risk just increased.A guide to today's talking points, straight to your inboxEmail address is invalidThank you for subscribing!Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription.The government’s response so far is a vaccination surge in hotspots like Bolton and Blackburn to protect older, more vulnerable people. But if we’re to win the race, jabs need to be used to break transmission and contain the new variant, buying us time to get the rollout done. That means vaccinating younger adults in those areas now.Nor should the surge be restricted to areas where the Indian variant already has a foothold. We need to get ahead of the curve by also directing vaccinations towards the most exposed areas of the country where population protection levels – whether through vaccination or past infection – are low.Diverting scarce jabs from some areas to others isn’t robbing Peter to pay Paul. Parts of the country hit harder by earlier waves already have substantially higher natural immunity as a result.If we’re lucky that might be enough to prevent a summer third wave.
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. Locally targeted restrictions also look set to make a comeback. Read More Indian variant: How ‘surge vaccination’ could help in the UK’s fight against the Covid strain The second danger from the new variant arises once vaccine rollout to adults is complete. At that point, the hope had been that levels of protection against infection across the population would be sufficient to prevent widespread outbreaks of covid without any formal restrictions on normal life. But a more transmissible Indian variant throws that into doubt.With the dominant Kent variant, SAGE modellers figured we’d need to get population protection up to around 71 per cent to end the epidemic. And by August it seems likely that protection will exceed 70 per cent.But experts now see a ‘reasonable likelihood’ that the Indian variant is as much as 50 per cent more infectious. That would push the herd immunity threshold up to 81 per cent – well above the level of protection we’re likely to achieve on current plans – triggering a third wave at some point.Here the obvious option, if regulators say it is safe, is to expand protection by vaccinating adolescents. This could take population protection into the high 70s, and might just be enough, combined with widespread use of a digital health pass and other containment measures, to minimise the threat. Even if it’s not, with adolescents covered we won’t need anything as heavy-handed as the lockdowns of the past year to keep things under control.Prospects of a safe reopening in June partly depend on what we discover about the transmissibility of the new strain in the coming days. It’s clear we’re not out of the woods yet. But nor are we out of options.Ian Mulheirn is executive director for UK policy and chief economist at the Tony Blair Institute
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