The pandemic enters a new phase – podcast

A week after “freedom day”, a new pattern has given the UK good news on the coronavirus crisis: new cases fell for six consecutive days, the first time that’s happened without a lockdown in place. But at the same time, hospitalisations and deaths – the result of a previous increase in cases – were still up week on week. And the “pingdemic”, in which 600,000 people were asked by the NHS Covid-19 app to self-isolate in a week, has caused consternation in businesses and hasty exemptions for key workers in an attempt to keep crucial industries afloat.

The Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample, tells new host Nosheen Iqbal what the trend in case numbers could mean. And he looks at a series of questions raised in this new phase of the pandemic, from the likelihood of hospitalisation among people who have had two vaccinations to the prospect of new variants and the risk of long Covid, asking whether the evidence is yet in place to suggest we have turned a corner.

You can read Ian Sample’s latest reporting and analysis on coronavirus here.

Clubbers in Brighton last week.

Photograph: Chris Eades/Getty Images

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