There has been good news across the UK over the past few weeks, with a significant decline in Covid-19 infections, deaths, and hospitalisations. This came after the devastation of rocketing disease and death rates between November and January, which led to the current lockdown and some hospitals being overwhelmed.
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Since the start of lockdown in January, infections have plunged by two-thirds. It has now reached a point where some officials believe the death rate across the nation could fall to lower than pre-Covid levels in a matter of months. However, the drop in infections is much smaller in some areas, prompting concerns that the rate of Covid-19 decline in the UK may be slowing down.
In Yorkshire and the North East, the decline in infection rates has been slower. In some areas of London and the Midlands, cases were found to have increased. However, researchers did stress this information was based on only several days’ worth of data.
Scientists involved in tracking the virus’ spread have said the decline may be slowing and confirmed that around one in every 200 people could still be infected. The React study from London's Imperial College states that lower infection rates are necessary to achieve success with the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
Infection decline is crucial to the success of the vaccination programme
Officials have stated that a reduction in infection rates is critical to the ongoing vaccination programme's success. This is to reduce the risk of people getting the infection before they receive their vaccination.
Over 20 million people across the nation have now received their first dose of the vaccine, and the UK is doing very well in terms of the speed and efficiency of the rollout. However, experts have stressed that people must continue to follow social distancing rules in the meantime to keep infection rates down as the rollout continues.
Vaccines adapted to deal with variants will be fast-tracked
In the meantime, there has been some good news about vaccines that are adapted to deal with new strains of the virus . The UK's regulator has confirmed that these adapted vaccines will be fast-tracked without impacting safety and efficiency. This means a far quicker process than the initial approval of the vaccines.
Each year, flu vaccines are adapted to deal with new variants, and these are fast-tracked through the system so that they do not need new approval. The same will now happen with Covid vaccines, which boosts the nation's chances of successfully dealing with new variants of the virus. There were concerns about the current vaccines being ineffective against some new variants, but with some tweaks from scientists, they can be adapted to increase their effectiveness.