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Saturday, July 20, 2024
Saturday July 20, 2024
Saturday July 20, 2024

UK faces severe Covid threat: Experts warn of intensified symptoms in latest wave

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Low immunity levels and waning vaccine effectiveness contribute to escalation

As the United Kingdom grapples with a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, experts are sounding the alarm, cautioning that the ongoing wave may be one of the most severe since the vaccine rollout. A surge in positive cases, coupled with low levels of immunity across the population, is raising concerns about the potential intensity of symptoms.

In the seven days leading up to December 9, England witnessed a significant spike, with 5,975 individuals testing positive for the virus—a sharp increase of 38.6% compared to the preceding week. Health specialists, particularly those focused on immune systems, have observed that the current strain of the virus could lead to more severe infections than previous waves.

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One factor contributing to the heightened severity is the diminishing immunity to Covid-19, as antibody levels wane over time. Immunologist Prof Eleanor Riley, from the University of Edinburgh, emphasized that people’s antibody levels against Covid are currently as low as they have been since the vaccine’s introduction. This situation allows a higher dose of the virus to penetrate, resulting in more severe illness.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the viruses circulating, particularly the Omicron variants, are significantly different immunologically from the original virus used in early vaccines. With a reduced number of booster vaccines offered this winter, Prof Peter Openshaw from Imperial College London warns of the possibility that many individuals could experience a “pretty nasty illness” that could incapacitate them for days or weeks.

Prof Openshaw emphasized the devious nature of the virus, noting that even young and fit individuals are reporting severe bouts of Covid. He attributes the earlier success in combating the virus to the rapid and widespread distribution of vaccines. However, the current scenario, with evolving virus variants and reduced immunity, poses challenges that might lead to prolonged illness and instances of “long Covid.”

As the nation braces for the holiday season, concerns loom over the potential impact on individuals’ health, urging heightened vigilance and adherence to safety measures.

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