Is the UK headed towards a third Covid wave?

Is the UK headed towards a third Covid wave?

With sunny blue skies, the easing of restrictions and exam season coming to an end, an approaching third wave of coronavirus is the last thing we want to be thinking about, but this is exactly what some scientists are warning of.

 Firstly, the good news…

 The UK recorded 0 Covid related deaths yesterday, for the first time since the start of the pandemic. ONS statistics also reported the rapid decreasing of Covid deaths as out of the total deaths at the end of May (9,860), only 1.1 per cent (107) of them were down to the virus. It’s worth noting, however, that the deaths ‘reported’ on a certain day don’t always mean deaths that actually occurred on that day, as reporting takes time, especially on weekends when less statisticians are at work.

The low death rate can be attributed to the highly successful vaccine programme. Despite an anti-vaxx protest taking place in Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush, last Saturday, which had police in chaos trying to contain the crowd, it does seem that the majority of the public are taking up their vaccine appointments, though there is still some hesitancy. Around 75 per cent of the UK adult population, around 39 million people, have now had their first dose of the vaccine.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, expressed his pleasure at the news of 0 Covid deaths but insists that the public should not let their guard down even as restrictions ease.

“Despite this undoubtedly good news we know we haven’t beaten this virus yet, and with cases continuing to rise please remember hands, face, space and let in fresh air when indoors, and of course, make sure when you can you get both jabs.”

The not so good news…

Despite promising numbers in Covid deaths, it doesn’t look all that rosy for Covid cases. According to government figures, the number of cases is slowly rising, with just over 10,00 cases recorded on Friday compared with just under 2,500 in May. The Indian (now called Delta) variant is one of the main causes of concern linked to this rise and experts warn that the government should not go ahead with the final reopening stage on June 21st if this trend continues.

The final phase of lifting restrictions involves all legal limits on social contact being scrapped, so a delay would mean bad news for those eager to get back to the club or upcoming brides and grooms who are counting on having a wedding with more than 30 people.

Graph from the BBC showing the number of daily coronavirus cases from the second of February 2021 to the present day.

In other countries, the news isn’t any brighter. Malaysia, for example, just entered a third national lockdown which is to last until June 14th. They recorded 7,703 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with only essential businesses and services remaining open in order to try and contain the third wave.

In India, on the other hand, where the outbreak got particularly bad in April, the country is finally seeing an improvement. Delhi recorded 648 new cases yesterday, the lowest since March 18th. At its worst, Delhi recorded 28,000 new cases in a single day on April 20th.

How this affects students…

Coronavirus has majorly impacted student lives as we had to adjust to virtual learning which many felt was not worth the tuition fees, and a lot of students are thinking about how learning will be affected as September comes around. Some UK universities, such as the University of Roehampton and University of Liverpool have already confirmed a mix of in person and virtual lessons.

Meanwhile, a number of health students are spending a chunk of their summer break catching up on their missed hours in the hospital due to disruptions from the pandemic last year. For those who have the luxury to enjoy a summer free of exams and placements, they may be looking for a well-deserved getaway abroad but again, this will depend on which countries make it onto the green list, alongside other factors.

At the end of the day, the best thing we can try to keep doing is make the best out of the situation, and continue to stay positive – the pandemic will be over one day!

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