OJuly 19When Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted the pandemic restrictions, the UK recorded about 50,000 covid-19 cases. Many observers have predicted disasters. Even Health Minister Sajid Javid said the incident was likely to reach 100,000 people a day. Vaccinations will reduce deaths, but it was not clear if they would save medical services.
Now the minister is not so nervous. More than a week of freedom in England with a club without a mask wasn’t enough to stop the fall of the incident. Indeed, the daily number of cases has halved since the rules were relaxed. When things started to change, skeptics wondered if something else was happening. Perhaps it’s a lack of tests that distort reality.
It seems unlikely now. England, Wales and Northern Ireland seem to follow the Scottish road. In Scotland, less steeply (see graph), cases began to decline quickly, and hospitalizations declined with confidence after a fall. There are slightly fewer tests performed in the UK, but positive results are declining much faster and the increase in hospitalizations is slowing.
The incident was concentrated among men as they flocked to pubs and living rooms to see the euro. Not only is football over, but otherwise miserable summer sunny days will captivate outsiders. Mobile phone data, on the other hand, suggest that people have become more cautious as the number of cases increases, despite the relaxed rules.
There is also the problem of increased immunity. Since the start of the euro, 8.4 million people have received a second jab and 1.2 million have gained protection by catching the disease. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 92% of British people now have antibodies and have fewer hosts for the virus.
There is no guarantee that the case will go down the road uninterrupted. The weather is getting worse. The club’s first weekend has not yet appeared in the data. But the surge to see medical services overwhelmed is not a realistic scenario, says François Barrow, a computational biologist at University College London. More and more Johnson’s bets seem to pay off.
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This article was published in the UK section of the printed version under the heading “Taking liberties”.
Boris Johnson gambling looks like it pays off
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