Why are Covid cases declining in the UK and what does this mean for you?
(BBC News, 2021) reported that Covid infections had fallen by two thirds over the most recent lockdown. Large volumes of employees are still working from home, meaning they are less likely to become infected than key workers who have been attending their workplace (BBC News, 2021) and exposing themselves to catching the virus.
The closure of schools would have also had an impact, as school children make up 11% of the UK population. With an extra 11% of people staying indoors this will have had a big impact on how many people can be infected each day. This is reflected in the huge decrease we have seen in the R rate over the past few weeks, and we are now showing the lowest figure since last summer (The Telegraph, 2021).
Another reason why the infection rates have seen a decline could be down to the Covid-19 vaccine, with over 22 million people having now had their first dose, making up about one third of the entire population. However researchers have said it is still too early to detect if the vaccinations have had an impact on the rate of infection or deaths (BBC News, 2021)
Tougher travel restrictions were introduced by the UK Government on Monday 15th February 2021, with financial penalties and even jail time imposed on those who do not comply (Department of Health and Social Care, 2021). Enforced isolation and covid tests were introduced for those entering the UK from overseas, and some people are now required to pay to complete a hotel based quarantine for 2 week upon arrival. These stricter rules are likely to have also contributed to the decreasing Covid cases in the UK.
Despite the declining infections and hospitalisations, it is still so important that everyone continues to follow the rules. It is tempting to relax our compliance as the days get warmer and lighter, with the exciting promise of freedom again from 21st June. If we were to all stop following the rules we would likely see the numbers begin to rise again, so it is advised we all do our best to ensure the vaccine rollout and restriction easing goes as smoothly as possible.
- BBC News (2021). Covid: React study finds virus decline slowing in England. [online] BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56271627 [Accessed 8 Mar. 2021].
- Department of Health and Social Care (2021). Government to introduce tougher measures and enforcement rules for quarantined passengers. [online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-introduce-tougher-measures-and-enforcement-rules-for-quarantined-passengers [Accessed 8 Mar. 2021].
- By Richard Evans (2021). Exclusive: UK’s first “real-time” R number shows sharp decline. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/exclusive-uks-first-real-time-r-number-shows-sharp-decline/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2021].