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After full opening: mystery about falling corona numbers in Great Britain | free press

The number of new infections on the island has been falling for six days. Professionals and politicians are amazed.


The experts are perplexed. The number of infections in the UK is falling instead of rising. An intensification of the infection rate was recently deemed inevitable, but now there are indications that the third corona wave in Britain may have reached its peak. The number of new corona infections has fallen for six days in a row. On Monday, 24,950 new infections were reported, a week earlier there were 39,950.

Health Minister Sajid Javid had warned in mid-July that the number of reported new infections would rise from 50,000 to 100,000 at the time. In fact, epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson of London’s Imperial College had predicted up to 200,000 cases for August. Since then, the number has fallen by about 40 percent, although England celebrated its “Day of Freedom” last Monday when all legal restrictions on public life were lifted. The full opening despite the then increasing number of infections was seen worldwide as a risky experiment.

What happened? Professionals are just as surprised as politicians. “It is very surprising that the number of infections is falling so quickly,” said Professor Sir Mark Walport of the SAGE scientific panel, which advises the government. “It’s better news than the alternative, but everyone is scratching their heads at what the explanation could be.” The only thing that is certain is that the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, which is dominant in Britain, has not spread as expected. The start of the school holidays is seen as a possible explanation for the decline. Adults in the UK are well protected – 88 per cent received a first vaccination and just over 70 per cent received full immunisation. Therefore, the pandemic is mainly spreading among the younger generation. After the schools closed for the summer holidays, many routes of infection were also closed. Another explanation is the end of the European Football Championship. Between England’s first European Championship win against Croatia on June 13 and the last game against Italy on July 11, there was a “mini golf” in the number of infections, especially among men. With the final defeat, however, the brotherhoods, communal chants and indoor televised meetings have ceased. The good weather also played a role in shifting social contacts outside.

The English experiment had to prove that it is possible to contain Corona through vaccination alone rather than through social restrictions. However, it would be too early to say it ended well. Because the consequences of the “Freedom Day” on July 19 have not yet been reflected in the number of cases so far. So there may well be an increase, my epidemiologists.


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