Hospitalizations are six times higher in the UK than in European countries – and three times as high as deaths.
Britain’s Covid infection rate is beginning to climb again, but the level of confirmed cases in Britain’s nearest neighbours, remains very low.
There are seven times more cases of older people in the UK than in neighboring European countries. Hospitalization is six times higher while the death rate is three times higher.
This worries people seriously.
In fact, the rate of confirmed cases in the UK is now among the highest in the world.
But what is causing this huge disparity – and can the UK do anything to change it?
1. Fewer people are wearing masks in England
Masks are not mandatory in indoor locations in England, although they are still mandatory in some circumstances in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Face coverings significantly reduce the transmission of Covid, but Downing Street has stopped them from becoming mandatory from July 19 – on Independence Day – in health care settings and care homes.
It is a very different picture in the rest of Europe as masks remain in most indoor spaces.
Spain’s public health expert Alex Arenas told the Eye newspaper: “Without a doubt, the combination of wearing a mask and a rapid vaccination program has reduced the coronavirus infection rate in Spain.”
2. Increased rate of indoor mixing
However, wearing masks alone is not responsible for influencing the Covid infection rate.
The Covid infection rate is still very high in Scotland. we It is estimated that 1 in 80 people have COVID, compared to 1 in 60 in England, despite very strict instructions on face coverings.
Both countries have seen similar levels of indoor mixing between large groups, which has led to an increase in infection rates.
3. Britain Launches First Vaccination
The UK stunned the world with its rapid vaccine rollout in early December 2020, outpacing many of its European neighbours, who had struggled to negotiate with vaccine companies as part of the EU.
However, this momentum could come back to hurt the British population as it means people will need booster jabs sooner rather than later – as winter is approaching and people are more vulnerable.
After five months, the protection from the Covid vaccine begins to dwindle.
According to Financial Times journalist John Byrne-Murdoch, about 75% of older people are five months after their second dose, making them more vulnerable to infection.
Pfizer is also known for providing more long-lasting protection for its recipients. The UK used Astra-Zeneca more widely than other European countries to initiate the vaccine rollout, as many in the EU were concerned about possible blood clots.
4. Vaccine Rollout Has Been Sluggish
More than 49 million people in the UK – that is, about nine in 10 people aged 12 years and older – have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
But the vaccine dose rate has dropped significantly from the 500,000 daily doses administered each day in mid-March. Vaccination has been discontinued in every age group except 16 and 17 year olds.
Children in the UK were vaccinated relatively late compared to many European countries. While healthy children are not necessarily at higher risk from COVID, they can pass it on to more vulnerable groups.
What is the solution?
1. Booster Jabs
Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has recommended that the government need to accelerate boosters and vaccinations for adolescents.
At the moment, people aged 12 to 17 are only able to receive one dose at a time – Ferguson wants these age groups to now receive two doses.
NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the UK would now “make the most of the half-period” by allowing people aged 12-15 to make their online bookings.
2. Wearing more masks
Health Secretary Sajid Javid had warned that as part of the UK’s contingency plan, face coverings could become a legal requirement in England if the NHS succumbed to another surge of cases.
However, many are calling for masks to be made mandatory at the earliest as the cases continue to rise.
3. Better sick pay
According to Byrne-Murdoch, the make-up of the country’s economy also plays a role in the level of covid.
He tweeted: “The UK has far worse pay than other Western European countries, making it very difficult for people who are sick to stay home and protect others.”
Back in October 2020, the UK was at the bottom of all OECD countries – the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – when it comes to the amount of compulsory sick pay to workers.
Byrne-Murdoch continued: “Older people in the UK are far more likely to live in poverty, which can increase the risk of both catching and dying from the disease.”
4. Updating COVID Symptoms
As the ‘super-cold’ takes hold this autumn, there are concerns that many are dismissing real Covid symptoms as thinking they have caught another minor infection instead.
University College London epidemiologist Tim Spector is asking the government to change its list of Covid symptoms on the official government website, ever since the delta variant became the UK’s most prominent strain.
While the previous strains were recognizable by causing shortness of breath, dry cough and fever, the delta variant causes sore throat, runny nose and sneezing.
Spector claimed: “The UK still has more cases than most of Europe and I believe this is for two main reasons; the first is the lack of masks and social distancing and the second is because we are suffering from symptoms.” are ignorant.”
He said: “By not updating the advice, we are letting people displaying known symptoms of Covid in care homes, schools, workplaces and large gatherings.
“One in 95 people in the UK has Covid.”