Why does the United Kingdom show such a devastating toll with over 100,000 deaths?

“I deeply feel sorry for every lost life.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is assuming “Full responsibility for whatever the government has done” Kovid-19 to fight the epidemic as the United Kingdom crosses the threshold of 100,000 deaths linked to the disease, Tuesday, 26 January. Health officials counted 1,631 additional deaths on this day, leading to a total of 100,162 deaths (according to the latest official figures on Wednesday, January 27, 101,887).

How is it to understand that the United Kingdom is now the fifth country in the world to suffer the most from the epidemic, making it the first country in Europe to achieve a very heavy toll? Francinfo provides many answers.

Because Britain is in the grip of a very viral third wave

The United Kingdom is currently experiencing a particularly acute epidemic rebound. He joined, on Tuesday, a list of countries that have crossed the 100,000 deadline (after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico), notes BBC *. More than 37,000 Kovid-19 patients across the country were hospitalized on the date, which has been steadily increasing since mid-December, specifying Guardian *. Another worrying data: the daily number of confirmed cases of coronavirus – which stood at 20,089 on Tuesday – while the country has been re-restricted to early January (and theoretically until mid-February). A situation that proves that it is less effective today than it was last spring, especially because of the variant identified on British land and which has spread at full speed in recent weeks.

The United Kingdom has yet to set up a major vaccination campaign – launched on 7 December, ahead of many other Western countries – to try to stem the spread of the virus. According to the AP * agency, some 500,000 doses were deactivated on Saturday, January 24, since the operation began. In total, about 7 million earlier injections have already been excluded (as of January 26, according to official figures). Two vaccines have been authorized in the channel so far: Pfizer-BioNotech and those developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. But these efforts are not enough at the moment to stop the third wave.

“One of the main problems in the country at this time is the prevalence of variant B.1.1.7. [identifié au Royaume-Uni], Much more contagious. It is not broadcast that much in other countries. “

Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group

in the world

Demographics, national behavior, all these should also be taken into consideration “, Connects this group of researchers world.

The English Institute of Public Health, Public Health England, is A study published in late December (PDF in English) On this new form of coronovirus. The researchers compared two groups of 1,769 patients each. In one group, patients affected by the variant, in another, patients affected by the initial version of the virus. Conclusion: The version airs OK 50% easy, in the middle Children. LThus contact cases of infected patients are found, for example, more easily infected (15% against 9%) than contact cases of a person carrying the original virus.

Because caregivers lack the means

At the beginning of the year, British hospitals were once again overwhelmed with patients with Kovid-19. By January 18, around 40,000 people were hospitalized across the country, about twice in the first wave. The situation in London was particularly important. Troops were to be stationed in the capital to help relocate patients and equipment, when some installations feared a lack of oxygen. We are so energetic that we have to choose between patients. “, A nurse interviewed by BBC * in early January.

The situation is not simply due to the increase in the number of pollution. In the spring, caregivers warned about a shortage of personnel, protective equipment, and especially places in intensive care. The UK actually has the second lowest rate in Europe for per capita intensive care beds, as this graph shows.

Despite executive efforts, carers still lack resources as the third wave hits the nation’s head. “We have gone through more than a decade of financial austerity, resulting in major cuts to our health system. Our ability to respond effectively to this epidemic has been weakened.” Sarah Hawkes, Professor of Global Public Health at University College London, France cited by 24. “Hospitals will now have to call in outside staff to deal with the influx of patients.”

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Because the government was slow to impose health restrictions

Many experts and observers believe the Kovid-19’s dramatic toll across the channel is due to the sluggishness of measures taken by Downing Street to stop the spread of the virus. In the spring of 2020, Boris Johnson collectively supported the strategy of retraining, recalling BBC *. In March, the British Prime Minister joked about joining hands in hospitals before being hospitalized in April, as he contracted the virus himself.

It was not until the end of March that his government decided to place a week after most other European countries. according to this Neil Ferguson, epidemiologist and former director of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), exploded the number of contaminants and died 20,000 UK * due to this delay. This is to say half of the human toll of the first wave in the United Kingdom, particularly affecting retirement homes (40% of the 40,000 deaths recorded), notes the BBC. I amIt was not even until June that a quarantine was imposed on people entering the area, when an island’s borders are easier to control, the British Channel explains.

The executive was also slow to act for the second and third wave, believes new York Times*. While the Scientific Council – which advises, as it is in France, the government called for national participation in September, Boris Johnson waited until November to close non-essential businesses and normalize telecommunications. On 22 December, experts once again called for more drastic measures, including the closure of schools. But this decision was not finally taken until January 4.

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Facing criticism, Boris Johnson said on Tuesday 26 January that the government “He could do it all, and he would keep doing it, reducing the number of people who died”, Enter it Guardian. If the British Prime Minister has already pledged that the executive be investigated in response to the epidemic, he * denies that it will happen before the end of the health crisis.

Because there have been major failures in the screening and tracing strategy

The rapid spread of the virus will also cause – like what France has experienced – difficulties implementing an effective strategy for screening and tracing patients, writes Bloomberg. Like other countries, the UK initially stepped out of the kit to identify a carrier of coronovirus. At the onset of the epidemic, approximately 2,000 people were being tested every day. Over the summer, the executive invested 22 billion pounds (about 25 billion euros) to develop screening capabilities, Bloomberg continues. Approximately 500,000 tests are now performed every day on average.

The government has put in place a system to identify and prevent contact cases, but with very mixed results. According to a survey conducted in November by Reuters *, health officials were only able to arrive between the end of May and the beginning of November, with only two-thirds reported (these people represent, according to Reuters, only half. People Possible Contact Matters). In England, it took him an average of a week to notify a contact case and ask him to separate himself. Too late “What is needed to effectively control the spread of viruses”, Then pointed to the press agency.

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Because the population is old, dense and mobile

The scale of the epidemic is ultimately linked to more “Deep”, Advances BBC *. “United Kingdom is one of the ten great countries [de plus de 20 millions d’habitants] Most densely populated “Misses the British media, which adds to it “Cities are more interconnected” Compared to many other countries. This allows the virus to spread quickly and easily. It specifically states that London (which has a concentration of 5,700 inhabitants per square kilometer) has become the epicenter of the epidemic in the United Kingdom, with the highest rate of people testing positive in a week just before the Christmas holiday. Especially because the version initially revealed in Kent), reported Free* End of December.

Aggressive Factors: The United Kingdom and its capital are a global hub for air transport, passing through large numbers of passengers daily. At the end of March, coronaviruses were imported from overseas 1,300 times, according to genetic analysis cited by the BBC.

The increased risk of virus import and spread is all the more problematic as co-morbidity occurs in a large part of the population. “A little like France, the country has an aging population, while the risk of dying from the virus is highest for people over 85,” pay attention José Manuel Aburto, Demographics at the Leverhalm Center for Demographic Science at Oxford, in columns world. According to the BBC, the UK also has the highest obesity rate (28%) on the planet.

On Tuesday, the Minister of State for Health called on the British to continue their efforts to stop the epidemic. Pressure on [les services de santé] Remains huge and we need to bring down the number of cases, The BBC was quoted as referring to Matt Hancock. Now is not the time to be lethargic. “

* These links refer to pages in English.

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