People in the United Kingdom have been living under three weeks of lockdown, wishing that the lockdown would hopefully help bring down the new variant of the coronavirus.
Unfortunately, the numbers are not dropping easily as experts have wished.
B.1.1.7, known as the new variant, is uncontrollably affecting people and public health experts and government are starting to predict that this battle will be for the long run. Data shows higher numbers in younger people possibly due to schools that have not closed.
According to Public Health England, the variant has first started spreading in September, and it has been recognized and posed as a threat to scientists since then.
The country’s epidemiologists warn that by December, the new variant will spread to London where it was responsible for two-thirds of new cases.
Even though the country has forced a stricter lockdown since January 5, banning people from mixing indoors and outdoors, closing essential stores, and closing most schools, it still seems like the decision was too late. Dr.Julian Tang, clinical virologists at the University of Leicester notes that “It’s amazing that we seem to be making the same mistakes over and over again — with increasing loss of life,”
England reported nearly 70,000 new infections on January 4. The country’s worst 10 days of pandemic occurred between December 29 and January 11, averaging over 55,000 new cases each day. Of the 11 deadliest days of the pandemic, 10 came between January 9 and 18, reporting more than 1000 deaths each day.
The lockdown has not been effective as epidemiologists have hoped for, but it still has helped for the decline of new cases.
New cases have dropped from 60,000 on January 1st to around 40,000.
But the number of who hospitalized still remains high with 38,000 people in hospitals. Experts predict that time will be needed for the decline of cases to be realized in hospitals
The strong impact of the lockdown won’t be recognized for a while, experts believe. Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, believes that “The daily trend is showing the lockdown having an effect on those new daily cases. However, it is important to remember that impact on hospitalizations will only really be visible from trends starting around the last week of January, and deaths should be falling across February.”
A longer lockdown than the one with the old variant is to be expected.