The UK situation is likely to become much worse due to the spread of a new strain of coronavirus, said on Twitter, senior lecturer in epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London Deepti Gurdasani.
According to her, the spread rate of the new genetic variant of coronavirus (Rt) is about 1.74 times higher than in the former SARS-CoV-2. This parameter shows how many people, on average, manage to infect one sick person before isolation.
The “British” strain of coronavirus, unlike the previous one, was more contagious for children and adolescents under the age of 19, Gurdasani said. In this regard, the mutated virus is more likely to provoke symptoms in this age group, she warned. According to the epidemiologist, due to the increased contagion among children and adolescents, the new strain of coronavirus can also move faster to adults, which will lead to an accelerated spread of the disease and an increase in deaths.
“All the evidence suggests one thing — we need to act urgently to limit the spread of the virus across the UK. Allowing the spread of this strain is not an option. We need to close schools until we can make them safe and prevent further transmission [of the virus],” Gurdasani said.
The Ministry of Health of the United Kingdom reported a new strain of coronavirus in mid-December. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that this genetic variant of SARS-CoV-2 could be 70% more contagious. There is no data yet on whether it is associated with higher mortality.
In addition to the UK, a new genetic variant of the coronavirus has been identified in some other countries, including the United States, Canada, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, and China.