Britain Sees Surge Of Cases After Lifting Restrictions

The New York Times reports:

For the last four months, Britain has run a grand epidemiological experiment, lifting virtually all coronavirus restrictions, even in the face of a high daily rate of infections. Its leaders justified the approach on the grounds that the country’s rapid rollout of vaccines had weakened the link between infection and serious illness.

New cases surpassed 50,000 on Thursday, an 18 percent increase over the last week and the second time cases have broken that psychological barrier since July.

At issue is the core trade off British officials made last summer: They decided they could tolerate a widely circulating virus as the price of reopening the economy, so long as only a small fraction of infected people ended up in the hospital.

CNBC reports:

Perhaps most ironically, the U.K.’s early vaccination rollout — which began in December 2020 and was one of the first in the world — is also seen as contributing to its high case rate now.

That’s because we now know — due to an increasing body of data — that immunity in vaccinated people wanes after about six months. The spread of the much more infectious delta Covid variant in the spring and summer is also seen as a factor that has diminished vaccine efficacy.

There are also growing concerns about a descendent of the delta Covid variant that is being identified in an increasing number of U.K. Covid cases, with some suggesting it could be another possible factor in rising case numbers.