Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly and public health measures are not enough to contain the pandemic, according to leading academic
There were almost 194,000 new cases of covid-19 reported in England last week, up by more than one-third on the week before. Meanwhile, only 52 per cent of the UK population had been fully vaccinated.
As Christina Pagel, the director of University College London’s clinical operational research unit, writes in The Guardian, “If this level of population immunity was enough to contain the pandemic alongside public health measures, cases would be falling.
“They aren’t falling and it isn’t enough.”
Pagel writes that the ending of covid protections next week is a step too far and far too soon. “Cases will keep rising, currently doubling every fortnight or so, until either population immunity is high enough or public health measures are effective enough – or a combination of both – to halt covid’s spread.
“The government has announced a removal of all public health measures next Monday, meaning that population immunity has to do all the work. With millions of people still without the protection of full vaccination or previous infection, it is inevitable that a good chunk of that immunity will come from new infection rather than vaccination.”
In south-west London, more than 1.6million vaccinations have been administered so far. But health chiefs locally are warning that that is not yet enough, with a GP on the area’s clinical commissioning urging those aged 18-plus to get jabbed, saying, “Don’t let covid-19 ruin your summer”.
Last week, while knowing that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government would be looking to remove the lockdown protections, England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, urged the nation to “push hell for leather” to reduce coronavirus infection rates and roll out the vaccines.
There are growing concerns not only about infection rates but also an increase in post-covid syndrome, also known as long Covid.
Prof Whitty said that soaring case rates mean more unvaccinated people will likely be infected by what most are now describing as the Johnson variant of the virus.
Dr Nicola Jones, the GP for the covid-19 vaccination programme in south-west London, has urged young people aged 18 and over who have yet to get their first vaccination or receive a second dose to make it a priority.
“We all know that getting jabbed helps people protect their family, friends and community as we get back to normal life and the things we love – whether that is watching sport in a packed stadium, going to a club or returning to the office,” Dr Jones said.
“Post-covid syndrome can have a lasting and debilitating impact on people of all ages, irrespective of the seriousness of the initial symptoms, with many saying it has a significant impact on their daily life.
“The vaccine represents the best defence against this awful virus and with summer fast approaching, if you haven’t yet been vaccinated for whatever reason, I would urge you to make it a priority – it has never been easier to get protected, with walk-in clinics for first and second doses open across south-west London.
“Please don’t let covid-19 ruin your summer.”
Long covid is when people who have had covid-19 have persistent symptoms beyond the initial infection. The most commonly reported symptoms include breathlessness, coughs, headaches, extreme tiredness, dizziness and “brain fog” – loss of concentration or memory issues.
Last month the NHS announced that it is setting up a specialist post-covid services for children and young people as part of a £100million expansion of care for those suffering from the condition. It came after NHS England provided £10million for a network of 69 clinics to give people access to specialist help.
In Croydon this week, there are walk-in vaccination sessions being held at:
- Centrale Shopping Centre – 8am to 7pm, everyday until Monday 19 July – Both Pfizer and Oxford AZ
- Croydon University Hospital – 8am to 7pm, until Friday 16 July – Pfizer
- Mayday Community Pharmacy – 9.30am to 6pm, every day in July – Both Pfizer and Oxford AZ
- Selhurst Park Stadium – 8.30am to 7pm, every day until Monday 19 July – Both Pfizer and Oxford AZ
- Fieldway Community Centre – 10am to 6pm, Thursday 15 July and Saturday 17 July
For information about walk-in and pop-ups in south-west London visit https://swlondonccg.nhs.uk/covid/where-can-you-get-vaccinated/vaccination-walk-in-clinics/.
People can also book a vaccination at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.
Find out more about the covid-19 vaccination programme at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccine.
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