Delta Variant Cases Soar in U.K. With More People Hospitalized

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Cases of the highly transmissible delta Covid-19 variant almost doubled in a week across the U.K., with more people admitted to hospital.

The number of laboratory-confirmed and probable delta cases rose to 75,953 from 33,630 since the previous week, Public Health England said Friday. About 99% of sequenced and genotyped cases across the U.K. are now the delta variant.

A total of 806 people had been admitted to hospital with the delta variant as of Monday, an increase of 423 in a week, PHE said. Of the 806 patients, 527 were unvaccinated, while 84 had received the full course of two doses.

The latest data is consistent with PHE’s analysis that two vaccine shots will keep about 9 in 10 people who catch the disease out of hospital on average. But it also illustrates that Covid-19 cases will still emerge even when the vaccine program has reached all adults, presenting a challenge to the government as it seeks to reopen the economy.

“We are aiming to live with this virus like we do with flu,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament this week.

Given the typical lag of some weeks between initial infection and death due to coronavirus, PHE warned that it is too early to judge the relative fatality rate of the delta variant compared with other strains. The majority of confirmed delta cases are within the last 28 days.

The increase in cases “is primarily in younger age groups, a large proportion of which were unvaccinated but are now being invited to receive the vaccine,” Jenny Harries, chief executive of the U.K.Health Security Agency, said in the statement. “It is encouraging to see that hospitalizations and deaths are not rising at the same rate but we will continue to monitor it closely.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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