September will be a key month for monitoring Covid-19 as pupils return to school in England, Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the government’s advisory body Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) said.
Speaking on Times Radio this morning, Dr Tildesley said it “remains to be seen” how things might change when people start to mix more.
I think the key thing for me actually is what’s going to happen next month.
Children are going back to school, people are coming back off their summer vacations and I think monitoring what that does to the data – and not just cases but monitoring very carefully hospital admissions and deaths – will really dictate I think what’s going to happen in the autumn.
He acknowledged that the country is in “quite a different place” than it was a year ago.
Obviously, we have the Delta variant which is more transmissible, we have quite high prevalence, a lot of cases, but of course on the other side, we have a very good and effective vaccination campaign.
So I think it remains to be seen how they will trade off against each other and what that will do when September comes and people start to mix a little bit more.”
India reported 46,759 new Covid cases on Saturday, the highest daily number of recorded cases in nearly two months and the third consecutive day that case numbers have exceeded 40,000.
The southern state of Kerala, which last week celebrated the local Onam festival, accounted for 70% of the new cases, Reuters reports.
India also recorded a further 509 deaths, taking the taking official death toll since the pandemic began to 437,370.
Delta variant doubles risk of hospitalisation, study finds
The Delta variant doubles the risk of Covid hospitalisation compared with the previously dominant Alpha variant, a new study has found.
The analysis – based on data collected in England – suggests that outbreaks of the Delta variant are likely to put an additional strain on health services, particularly in places with low rates of vaccination.
The Delta variant is already understood to be far more infectious than the previously dominant Alpha variant that was initially detected in Kent. This analysis underscores Delta’s ability to put people in hospital once infected, especially those who have not been vaccinated.
In the study, researchers analysed healthcare data from 43,338 Covid-19 cases in England between 29 March and 23 May 2021. Only 1.8% of the cases had received both doses of the vaccine, 24% had been vaccinated once and 74% were unvaccinated.
After accounting for key factors such as age, ethnicity and vaccination status, the researchers found the risk of being admitted to hospital was more than doubled with the Delta variant compared with the Alpha variant (a 2.26-fold increase in risk), according to the paper published in the Lancet journal.
Dr Gavin Dabrera, one of the study’s lead authors and a consultant epidemiologist for Public Heath England, said:
This study confirms previous findings that people infected with Delta are significantly more likely to require hospitalisation than those with Alpha, although most cases included in the analysis were unvaccinated.
We already know that vaccination offers excellent protection against Delta and as this variant accounts for more than 98% of Covid-19 cases in the UK, it is vital that those who have not received two doses of vaccine do so as soon as possible.
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Léonie Chao-Fong.
The Delta variant of Covid-19 doubles the risk of Covid hospitalisation compared with the previously dominant Alpha variant, a new study has found. The analysis – based on data collected in England – suggests that outbreaks of the Delta variant are likely to put an additional strain on health services.
The US intelligence community failed to reach a conclusion over whether a Chinese laboratory incident was the source of Covid-19, US officials said in a report summary on Friday. The report was issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in response to Joe Biden’s request.
In Australia, New South Wales recorded 1,035 new cases on Saturday – the worst daily total for any Australian state or territory since the pandemic began. Figures obtained by Guardian Australia show a huge gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Covid vaccination rates in every region of the state.
Secondary school and college pupils will need to wear face masks in communal areas outside their classrooms in parts of south-west England, following a rise in cases in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and Devon. The new measures are expected to be in place for five weeks.
Denmark is to lift all its remaining Covid-19 restrictions by 10 September after the health ministry declared the virus “no longer a critical threat to society”. Denmark is the EU’s third-most vaccinated country, with 71% of the population having received two shots.
School districts in Florida in the United States may impose mask mandates, a judge said on Friday, ruling that the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, overstepped his authority by issuing an executive order banning the mandates. The Leon County circuit judge John Cooper agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis’s order was unconstitutional and could not be enforced.