Why the delta covid variant strain terrifies experts




It spreads more easily, is more serious and is more resistant to vaccines.

More than a year and a half since the emergence of Covid-19 in China – triggering a global pandemic that has crippled economies, killed millions of people and forced international borders to close – there are growing fears that the strain Indian virus does not derail for long. expected reopening and plunging the world back into crisis.

The so-called Delta variant, which was first detected in India last October, has now spread to at least 62 countries, including Australia, and is causing a growing number of outbreaks in Asia and Africa, the World Health Organization said this week.

In the UK, the Delta variant – renamed by the WHO to simplify its scientific name, B.1.617.2, and to avoid stigmatizing countries that detect new strains – now accounts for 90% of new cases, which have started to start again despite a successful vaccination campaign.

Britain on Friday recorded 8,125 new cases nationwide, the highest daily number in four months and a weekly increase of 58%, with 158 people hospitalized.

The worrying figures are forcing the government to consider delaying the final easing of restrictions on June 21 by two or four weeks, Time reported.

The goal is to give people more time to get their second shot. About 75% of the UK have been vaccinated, but only 40% have received two doses.

Figures released this week showed that two-thirds of the 383 Delta variant hospitalizations were to people who had not been vaccinated, while there were 42 hospitalizations and 12 deaths among people who received both doses. vaccine.

“It’s about giving people certainty,” government source said Time. “The worst-case scenario is that we relax the restrictions and then have to implement them again. It must be a one-way ticket.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to wait until Sunday to review the figures and make a final decision to be announced, the newspaper said, but a delay is widely expected.

The sun the newspaper reported on Friday night that Mr Johnson was should postpone “freedom day” to July 19.

This came after an analysis from Public Health England showed infections rose to 42,323 from 12,431 last week, a 240% jump.

Mr Johnson told world leaders at the G7 summit on Friday that “we need to make sure we do not repeat some of the mistakes we have made over the past 18 months”.

Anthony Costello, a British pediatrician and a member of the independent advisory group SAGE, told the BBC earlier this month that June 21 was too early to ease restrictions.

He noted that the Delta variant was considered 50 to 70% more transmissible, had a 2.7 times higher probability of hospitalization and had evidence of “vaccine escape”.

“If you’ve been given a dose of the vaccine, you’re only 34% protected,” Dr. Costello said.

“If you have had two doses, you are only protected about two-thirds. This means that there are millions and millions of people who could be infected with this virus. Now, many of them will be younger and the death rates are expected to be much, much lower. But many people could end up in hospital, the NHS could be in yet another push – we just don’t know. “

In addition to the higher transmissibility, there are anecdotal reports from India that the Delta variant is more severe in children than the so-called Alpha strain.

And doctors treating patients in India have reported worrying new symptoms, including gangrene and hearing loss.

A YouGov poll published by Time On Saturday, the majority of British voters supported the postponement of the June 21 reopening.

The poll found that 53% said the restrictions should stay beyond June 21, and 34% said they should end.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, before flying to G7 talks in the UK earlier this week, warned that the worrying spread of the Delta variant in that country meant Australia’s borders could remain closed without end in sight.

“They have vaccination rates in the 1970s and with their older population even higher than that, and they have 4,000 cases a day, 4,000 cases a day,” Mr Morrison told Radio Station. Perth 6PR.

Host Liam Bartlett interrupted to note “they have open borders to a lot more countries than we do.”

“Exactly, so if you are suggesting that we should aim for a position where we can have 4,000 cases per day, then no I don’t think Australians would agree with you,” the prime minister said.

“I’ll tell you what’s real, I’ll tell you what’s real. UK vaccination rate of over 70% and over 4000 cases per day. The vaccination rates where I am going today in Singapore are over 40%, and they are stuck. So what we’ve always learned from this pandemic is that there is no absolute. The virus writes the rules.

frank.chung@news.com.au



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