STEPHEN ADAMS: Three reasons not to panic over Britain's Covid infection rate

STEPHEN ADAMS: Three reasons not to panic over Britain's Covid infection rate
STEPHEN ADAMS: Three reasons not to panic over Britain's Covid infection rate

New daily Covid cases are running at double the rate they were at this time last year. The number of people hospitalised with the virus each day has, on average, been higher so far this autumn than last.

And rates of new Covid cases – and deaths – are much higher here on a per capita basis than they are in Germany and France.

But while there have been calls from some quarters for tighter curbs to stop Covid's spread, there's no widespread clamour for them.

In fact, Ministers are quietly confident that this winter will be nothing like as bad as last, despite persistently high infection rates.

There are three reasons for this. First is the hugely successful vaccination programme.

This time last year, only a few thousand people in this country had received a Covid jab – those inoculated as part of a clinical trial.

So there was virtually no vaccine-induced immunity. Indeed, last October no one knew whether the vaccines – produced at record-breaking speed in the UK, Germany and the US – would work. 

Walk-in vaccine clinics for schoolchildren will be unveiled within weeks in an effort to speed up the jabs rollout (stock image)

Walk-in vaccine clinics for schoolchildren will be unveiled within weeks in an effort to speed up the jabs rollout (stock image)

It was nearly Christmas before the NHS Covid vaccination campaign began, with grandmother Margaret Keenan, then 90, getting the first jab on December 8.

Now, among people eligible for vaccination – aged 12 and over – 85.9 per cent have received a single dose and 78.8 per cent two doses.

Among the over-50s, who have accounted for 49 in every 50 Covid-related deaths, rates are even higher, at 96 per cent for single dose and 94 per cent for two doses.

This has 'weakened the link', to paraphrase Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, between Covid infections, serious disease and death. In fact, of the 51,281 Covid-related deaths in England in the first six

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