Some experts are questioning whether a “booster” dose will even be necessary for most healthy people in the coming months as epidemiologists continue to keep a close eye on the spread of the “Delta” mutant COVID strain that is partly responsible for the UK’s decision to delay the unwinding of its lockdown. In wealthy countries like the US, the link between infections and deaths has diminished. Now, in some places, instead, the focus is shifting to learning to live with COVID, like we have learned to live with the flu.
In this paradigm, the number of confirmed cases won’t matter as much as the number of hospitalizations.
“It’s possible we’ll get to a stage of only monitoring hospitalizations,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which has built one of the most comprehensive platforms to track the virus and its impact, making it a critical source of international data on the pandemic.
Before vaccinations took off in the US, UK and Europe, a spike in case numbers almost invariably led to a surge in hospitalizations and deaths, perhaps with a modest delay. But now, with most of the most vulnerable already vaccinated, scientists and government officials are keen to see whether the widening scope of vaccinations will finally break the cycle. The situation in the UK is the most compelling example to date.
Roughly 46% of the British population is fully vaccinated, helping reduce daily deaths to the lowest level since last summer. Yet cases of the delta variant, a more transmissible strain first identified in India, have almost doubled in the past week, Public Health England said Friday. Hospitalizations also ticked higher, though most of the hospitalized patients haven’t been fully vaccinated. – READ MORE
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