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Health 14.11.20 

What Does The News About A Covid Vaccine Mean?

Over the last week, you may have heard the news of a vaccine breakthrough. However, what does this news actually mean? Although there is news that an effective vaccine may have been found, it was being announced that the UK was the first European country to pass the awful milestone of 50,000 covid-19 deaths. This was quickly followed by a record rise in new cases with 33,400 reported on Thursday.

What Does The News About A Covid Vaccine Mean?

Matt Hancock (UK Health Secretary) has promised that the NHS will start rolling out the covid vaccine from 1st December if it passes its final regulatory hurdles. Currently the vaccine has been confirmed so be 90% effective.

However, just because there is a vaccine, it doesn’t mean the pandemic will come to an end immediately. The main challenge is the huge logistical project that involves vaccinating large numbers of people. The UK has bought enough vaccines for 20 million people, as the vaccine needs to be given twice in order to be effective, and the UK boasting a population of 60.5million people, it’s clear that we have a long way to go.

Healthcare workers and older age groups will be prioritised in receiving the vaccination. However, as it takes a month from the first dose for an individual to get the full protection and the fact there are 12 million over 65s – winter is likely to be well gone by the time significant numbers are protected. Therefore, it looks like we will be staying indoors for the majority of winter.

What Is The Current Infection Rate?

Covid-19 infection rates are still high in the UK. There were over 30,000 cases on Thursday and the UK is averaging just over 20,000 confirmed infections a day.

However, estimates from the government’s surveillance run by the Office for National Statistics suggests the true figure may be double that. Hospitals in the UK are currently dangerously close to capacity in the most hard-hit regions.

What Will Happen After 2nd December

It is likely that the latest lockdown will take some time to have an impact. The good news is that cases had started to stabilise before it came in, with strong evidence the regional tiers had begun to have an impact.

If the rise in cases on Thursday is a blip – there are suggestions it may be linked to a last bout of socialising before lockdown came in – the expectation is the number of infections will soon start to drop. The main problem is that once lockdown is lifted in England, cases are likely to take off again. It is, after all, winter, when respiratory viruses tend to thrive.

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