Europe’s Delta Covid Surge shows it can be controlled

Jonathan Brady – Pa Photo / PA Photo via Gay Image

England fans stand outside a pub in London on July 11, 2021.

Over the past few weeks, the Delta Coronavirus variant has been waiting for many Americans to celebrate “Hot Wax Summer” and the end of the epidemic.

As health experts warned in June, the highly contagious Delta variant, especially in the states where vaccination rates are low, has hit hospitals and morgues again to return to some of the darker days of the epidemic. And unlike previous forms, new data suggests that some vaccinated people who become infected in the delta – while highly protected against serious disease – can still spread the virus among others. It advises the CDC that people vaccinated in areas with higher viral infections should start wearing masks in indoor public spaces.

In the case of the “breakthrough”, the big question remains as to how far Delta is spreading. But now there is a growing sense of fear that the Delta will be an irresistible force.

Yet the message from experts watching delta waves in Europe is even more encouraging, suggesting that general rule books still apply: vaccines and strategies such as masking the public and avoiding crowds may keep the number of cases low.

Meanwhile, there are some observers I saw what happened With deltas in the United Kingdom and India, where the diversity was first discovered and it was speculated that the delta distress in the United States may be at least short-lived, we do whatever it takes to limit its spread. In both countries, there is a sharp increase in cases after a similar rapid decline, which suggests that the rapidly spreading delta variant usually burns itself out quickly.

There are two major problems with this approach. First, if we just let the Delta take its course, the cost of life and extra burden hospitals will be higher.

“That way, the hospital will have a dangerous number,” Lauren Ansel Myers, a computational epidemiologist at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the UT Covid-1 Model Modeling Consortium, told BuzzFeed News.

Second, if you look at the variations of delta curves seen across Europe, it is not clear that there is a common fast-burning delta wave. And in countries that have seen rapid ups and downs, changes in human behavior – rather than the inherent characteristics of delta diversity – seem to be a big part of what has turned things around.

Dig deeper into the reasons behind the various delta waves seen across Europe, and one more promising message emerges: terrible as such, the delta variant seems controllable. Vaccination is our best weapon, but decent social distance measures that work against other social, less contagious coronaviruses can still help in a big way.

Delta waves in selected countries

Peter Aldhouse / BuzzFeed News / Why Our World in Data / Johns Hopkins University CSSE / / GISAID

Experts say comparing India’s catastrophic delta waves with the United States, the United Kingdom and other European countries doesn’t make much sense. Not only was the huge population of India vaccinated when the Delta variant ravaged the country in April and May, but surveillance and testing were so incomplete that the recorded curve of the new case accurately reflected how many were infected.

But if you look at the delta waves seen so far in European countries and the United States, the turns are very different. In the chart above, only the UK and the Netherlands show rapid rise and fall, while others have risen slowly. In Germany, the delta curve is just a blip.

Although the UK faced the Delta variant before the others, mainly because of the people who came and went from India, the time it took for the Delta to establish its dominance could not explain the differences of other nations.

It is very difficult to distinguish the exact causes of the differences between the delta waves of European countries. But the infection will depend on the number of people who have some immunity – either through vaccination or a previous coronavirus infection – and the type of behavior that encourages the spread.

Among the countries shown, France has the lowest vaccination rate, with %% of the population fully vaccinated (slightly ahead of the United States, 50%). Meanwhile, the UK has the highest rate, with 57.3% of the population fully vaccinated. Other European countries are tightly packed between 53.2% and 54.2%. So the scope of vaccination does not seem to explain the big difference seen in the nation-delta curve.

One indication that differences in human behavior have played a significant role is that Germany maintains stricter social distance controls than most of its European neighbors, with those who do not live together need to be kept 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) away and receive medical treatment – in public transport and Grade the mask in the store.

Looking at the two countries that have experienced rapid growth and decline due to the delta variant, there is a strong indication that each of the human gatherings played a large role.

How a football tournament encouraged the UK delta wave

The Euro 2020 football tournament is thought to have accelerated the UK’s geopolitics as fans will be able to watch the game and crowd home. In both England and Scotland, the growth of new teams increased significantly within a week or two when the respective teams played their first game, reversing just weeks after each team was eliminated.

The Scottish team was knocked out early. But in England, which took place in the final, the watch parties continued until 11 July.

The next peak times are exactly what epidemiologists would expect if the assemblies to watch the games drive the delta waves strongly. Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, told BuzzFeed News:

In contrast to previous ges in the UK, the cases were influenced by men, suitable for the population of those who watched the game. And a new study from Public Health Scotland reinforces the notion that the UK-pronounced Delta Peak was largely driven by a breakdown of social distance during the tournament’s watch party. “On top of that, more than half of the cases reported in Scotland either took part in the Euro 2020 event or had close contact with those who attended,” the researchers noted.

Most of the infected were fairly young and did not become seriously ill. This, combined with the UK’s rapid progress in vaccination over the past few months, means that hospital admissions were at their highest in the UK in January with alpha variant. And while Covid’s death toll has risen slightly, more than 1,200 people are currently dying of the disease every day across the UK, compared to more than 1,200 at the peak of the alpha wave.

The rapid change in the UK has confused some experts who expected the infection to reach new heights after “Independence Day” on 19 July, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted the remaining coronavirus bans in England, allowing pubs and restaurants to function normally and removing them. All mask requirements

Although Neil Ferguson, a disease model at Imperial College London, predicted that new cases could increase to 200,000 per day, the seven-day rolling average for new days was less than 50,000 a day before Independence Day began. In the last few days, the decline in the number of cases seems to have flattened and it is unclear where the UK delta wave goes from here.

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Passengers at Amsterdam’s Schiffhole Airport, July 12, 2021

A clear rapid rise and fall among other European countries is the Netherlands. About 10 days after the Dutch government lifted almost all remaining coronavirus restrictions on June 26, the cases began to escalate. “It was really a top spot among young people,” Tom Vensaliers, a biologist and evolutionary biologist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, told BuzzFeed News. Unlike the UK, this did not translate into a large increase in hospitalizations or deaths.

Nevertheless, the July nation suddenly overturned, shutting down nightclubs and restricting bars and restaurants to designated seats 1.5 meters away. The Dutch government said in a statement announcing the new ban, “Most of the infections occurred in nightlife settings and at large parties.”

Within two weeks of the new restrictions, the Dutch delta wave has peaked. If this rapid change had actually been managed by shutting down the nightclub, it would have provided another encouraging message that the Delta variant could be captured through a more subtle change in behavior than a complete lockdown.

“The UK and the Netherlands should be advised against depression,” Bill Hanez, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told BuzzFeed News. “We don’t have to be serious about the Delta variant.”

Hannaz alone does not believe that the experience of European countries suggests that modest precautions, such as wearing masks in public places and avoiding large gatherings, could make a big difference to the Delta variant.

“We see these kinds of changes when behavior changes with policy changes or government changes, in a way that protects you from infection,” Meyers said.

Delta wave and covid vaccine in the US state

Peter Aldhouse / BuzzFeed News / Via New York Times / CDC

As the chart above shows, states with low vaccination rates have so far experienced more severe delta waves.

So in the long run, raising vaccines in places where few people have taken shots remains the best hope of defeating the Delta variant in the United States. But while vaccination rates in the state are rising the fastest and are currently facing the deadliest deltas, there is still a long way to go – and those who get their first shots today will not get strong protection for weeks.

At a press briefing at the White House on Thursday, Anthony Fawcett, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asked the United States what it should do to deal with its delta waves.

“You do it by mitigation in the immediate sense,” Fawcett said. “The relief is the kind of talk you’ve heard from the CDC’s recommendation about masking, avoiding crowded situations where your ability to spread the virus may increase.”

Fauci added, “The end result of all this is vaccination.” But if the United States can mitigate the spread in the short term and increase its vaccination rate in the long term, he said, “We will turn the Delta on.” I guarantee you it will. ”

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