UK ‘astonishing’ omicron rise gives US warning

Members of the public line up to receive their Covid-19 vaccine and booster shot at St Thomas’ Hospital on December 14, 2021 in London, England.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | beautiful pictures

LONDON – The UK is being engulfed by a tidal wave of Covid cases, with an increasing number being linked to the omicron Covid variant, as it races to deliver additional shots to as many as possible. people better.

Early studies show booster shots restores much of the vaccine protection lost due to naturally depleted immunity and enhances our body’s ability to fight the omicron variant if we are infected.

This has prompted the UK, US and countries across Europe to go to great lengths to accelerate booster programmes, given the urgent need to protect citizens and prevent health services from being overwhelmed. load.

The UK in particular is being watched closely as it has seen what Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned will be a “tide wave” in Covid cases, despite the country being ahead of the US and EU in terms of the deployment of the booster shot.

“The speed of [the booster] deployed across four countries to the extent that now the UK as a whole has twice as many boosters per capita as the EU and more than twice as many as the US,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday as he urges the public to step up as soon as possible.

“So let’s move on. Let’s keep giving the omicron both barrels. Let’s slow its spread and give the vaccine more time.”

In the UK, more than 24 million people have now received a booster shot, with official figures showing that 43 per cent of the population aged 12 and over have received a third shot.

However, the data may refer to adults; as of Wednesday, anyone in the UK aged 18 or over can order a booster dose, provided they have had a second dose at least three months ago. People 16 years of age and older can also book a room if they have a medical condition that puts them at high risk for Covid.

More than 650,000 boosters were administered in the UK on Wednesday alone in a national effort involving the military, mobile vaccination centres, pharmacies and legions of volunteers to give the shots. into the arm as quickly as possible.

It comes as the number of omicron cases doubles every two days around the country, causing the number of Covid cases to increase further. On Wednesday, the UK reported The highest number of daily Covid cases ever since the pandemic began, with 78,610 new cases.

Slower roll-up in US, European Union

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes on its website that the current 7-day moving average of daily new cases (118,515) is 37.3% higher than the previous 7-day average (86,315).

However, CDC data show that only 30% of American adults over 18 years of age received a booster dose (52.3% of people over 65 years of age received a third dose).

Meanwhile, in the EU, data from the European Centers for Disease Prevention and Control shows that, as of December 15, just over 81 million third doses have been distributed, or about 18%. the total population of the EU and the European economies. Region (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

Germany and France have seen around 28.7% and 27.3% respectively of their adult populations injected with boosters, despite rampant Covid cases in both countries. Germany reported more than 51,000 new cases on Wednesday and France reported 63,000 new cases.

Danger posed by omicrons

Experts have assessed the omicron to be able to propagate much further than the delta variant and believe it will soon become the dominant variant worldwide.

It is too early to say whether it will cause more severe disease as it was only designated a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on November 26.

The spread of this variation is also being aided and abetted in winter in countries such as the UK, as there are many indoor mix-ups and social gatherings before Christmas. British experts are warning people to try to limit socializing if possible.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Service, said on Wednesday that the development of the omicron variant in the coming days would be “astonishing” given the current rate of infection. in. On Wednesday, the UK recorded 4,671 new cases of omicrons, UKHSA tweeted, bringing the total number of omicron cases to 10,017. On Tuesday, the total number of omicron cases stood at 5,346.

One bright spot For the UK, it can be relatively easy to encourage vaccine reception, as the long lines outside immunization centers this week demonstrated. The UK was one of the first countries to start vaccinating everyone, and around 81% of the population aged 12 and over have received two doses of the Covid vaccine.

The country also has a lower rate of vaccine hesitancy than many other countries. An Ipsos survey conducted in conjunction with the World Economic Forum This time last year – when a Covid vaccine was just beginning to be rolled out in the UK – found that 77% of UK adults surveyed said they planned to get a Covid vaccine and the rate of hesitation was down year-on-year. last.

Meanwhile, 69% of those surveyed in the US said they intend to get vaccinated, and only 40% of adults polled in France intend to get vaccinated. UK ‘astonishing’ omicron rise gives US warning

Emma James

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