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Britain is being swamped by yet another Covid wave – how can we stop them coming? | Kit Yates

Matt Hancock is wrong to say we are ‘past the pandemic’. And we won’t be until the world’s population is vaccinated

We are at the beginning of another wave of Covid – the third in six months. Roughly one in 50 people in England are currently infected, while that figure is as high as one in 30 in Scotland. An estimated 1.4 million people in the UK – more than 2% of the population – would have tested positive last week according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey. Chances are you know someone who’s got the disease. Covid hospitalisations have also been rising for the past couple of weeks. On Monday there were more than 1,000 admissions in England – the first time we’ve reached that level since April.

It’s possible that some of the stark 40% week-on-week rise in prevalence reported last Friday is due to large numbers of people getting together over the extended platinum jubilee weekend. However, scientists who have been monitoring the Covid situation closely have been predicting an uptick for a while now. Two new subvariants – BA.4 and BA.5 – of the Omicron variant have been increasing their share of UK infections for several weeks. Last week they finally overtook the BA.2 version of Omicron responsible for the most recent wave that the UK experienced, in March and April. Although there is no evidence that these new subvariants cause more severe disease, their rise to dominance suggests that they can, at least to some degree, evade existing immunity.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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