Data: Delta variant is not sparking mass hospitalizations in England

Data: Delta variant is not sparking mass hospitalizations in England
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The delta variant is not sparking a major rise in hospitalizations in England, according to data from a Public Health England (PHE) report, giving a potential sense of hope for countries with high vaccination rates.

PHE’s weekly report, showed that hospitalizations remained stable at low rates last week even as concerns have mounted over the delta variant spreading as the dominant strain in the nation. 

Data from June 21-27 documented 1.91 hospitalizations per 100,000 new cases, staying basically unchanged from the previous week’s rate of 1.92 hospitalizations per 100,000 new cases. 

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The rate is drastically lower than during the winter surge, which saw a peak rate in January at 37.2 hospitalizations per 100,000 new cases. 

The data indicates that nations with higher vaccination rates may not experience spikes in hospitalizations, as England has reached one of the highest in the world. 

Almost 75 percent of adults in England have gotten at least one dose, including 95 percent of those aged 80 or older, who are more vulnerable to serious illness.

Among those younger than 40, only 33.5 percent have gotten at least one shot. This population and those who are fully vaccinated are less likely to develop severe COVID-19 and end up in the hospital.

The PHE’s report on last week’s data also concluded that COVID-19 deaths were steady compared to the previous week, although experts said COVID-19 case rates increased.

Worries over the highly transmissible delta variant resulted in England postponing its reopening plans by a month into July. Last month, the delta strain overtook the alpha variant becoming the dominant strain in the U.K., which experts have warned could happen in the U.S. 

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The delta variant has spread rapidly in the U.S. to a projected 25 percent of all infections nationwide, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyPfizer results offer hope amid worsening pandemic for children FDA panel endorses COVID-19 booster shots for older Americans, rejects widespread use Watch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing MORE said during a briefing

But health officials in the U.S. and Europe have said the available vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness and death. 

A previous study found both shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 88 percent effective, compared to 95 percent effective against the original COVID-19 strain. A single dose of that vaccine was much less effective though.

The White House announced on Thursday that it is preparing to send out COVID-19 “surge teams” to areas with lower vaccination rates to combat the delta variant amid growing worries.