After nearly a year of living under the burden of COVID-19, it appeared as though the clouds were just beginning to part this month as dueling vaccines hit the market with a hurry.
Experts had long believed that only a vaccine could bring an end to the pandemic and the life-altering circumstances that have sprung up in its shadow. Now, with the Moderna vaccine joining a similar inoculation from Pfizer in circulation, the world can begin to breathe a sigh of relief.
…or maybe not.
The PM today revealed the “frighteningly transmissable” new variant was spreading rapidly – forcing him to put millions of Brits in Tier 4 lockdown for Christmas.
Boris today said that the new strain meant that the R rate could be increased by 0.4 as he revealed the festive season was cancelled.
Speaking at a press conference today, the PM said the strain was “spreading very fast”.
He said: “There’s still much we don’t know but it is spreading more quickly.
Johnson metered that frightening news with the reality that the new strain hasn’t appeared to be more deadly than the original, nor was there any belief that the vaccines would be helpless against it.
The numbers weren’t all that assuring, however.
The strain – called VUI202012/01 – has caused cases to double in a week in the capital as it buckles under the new variant.
The weekly average case rate is also up 66 per cent in two weeks for the rest of the country as the mutant strain tears through Covid hotspots.
Data from the ONS shows that the new variant accounted for 62 per cent of all cases in London on the week commencing December 9, double the 28 per cent reported on the week commencing November 18.
Worse still – the new strain has begun to make an appearance in London as well, where the population density could provide ample fuel for the this figurate, viral fire.
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