Just Three Out of Britain’s 15 Indian Variant Hotspots Are Seeing a Rise in Covid Infection Rates

Fears about how quickly the Indian Covid variant spreads seem to have been overplayed as new data shows that 12 out of 15 variant “hotspots” in Britain are not seeing a rise in Covid infection rates. Boris is clearly right about the “gloom” having been overdone, so why the continued calls for tougher restrictions? The Times has more.

Cases in over 60s are not rising in any of the [“hotspot”] areas currently subject to surge testing outside Bolton, in what is being seen as an encouraging sign that the vaccines are protecting the most vulnerable.

Updated figures yesterday showed 3,424 known cases of the B.1.617.2 variant, up 15% on yesterday. But Boris Johnson has become more confident that the end of restrictions can remain on track as emerging data suggests that the strain is unlikely to be 50% more transmissible than the Kent variant…

Officials stress that efforts to assess the spread of the Indian variant are still preliminary, with firmer numbers not expected until next week. One member of SAGE said yesterday he was “very concerned” that the country was at the start of a third wave of Covid…

However, ministers have been cautiously encouraged that while cases have taken off in Bolton, other hotspot areas are not rising as fast. Ten per cent of all U.K. cases reported yesterday were in Bolton, where rates are seven times higher than a month ago at over 300 per 100,000. The increase in Blackburn is half of that, while Bedford is the only other area subject to surge testing where rates are clearly rising. All three areas have rates over 100 per 100,000.

Infections in Hillingdon, Hackney, Kensington, Kirklees, Leicester, Nuneaton, Redbridge and Redditch are flat or possibly falling, while in Burnley, Sefton, Hounslow and North Tyneside there are signs that cases might be starting to rise, but trends are not yet clear, with all having rates below 100 per 100,000.

Worth reading in full.

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