The Covid emergency is slowing down significantly globally, except for some areas where the virus is still particularly active and expanding in the context of some outbreak. The new global cases of coronavirus since the peak in January – when there were 743 thousand – have decreased by almost 50%, although colder temperatures favor, according to some studies, the transmission of Covid, as of all coronaviruses more generally. The count was carried out by the AFP agency: the new daily cases are about 362 thousand, the lowest number in the last four months with a decrease of 12% compared to last week. Despite the impossibility of a homogeneous count, this is the most prolonged period of decline recorded since the beginning of the pandemic.
The most significant decline was recorded in North America (USA and Canada) with -28%. Furthermore, analysts believe, comparing the evolution of infections with that which occurred last year between 22 January and 6 April 2020, that infections may gradually decrease when the temperature in the northern hemisphere rises. Although not predominant, as experts specify, a seasonal component has in fact been associated with Sars-CoV-2, which, like its coronavirus cousins, tends to thrive in colder and drier weather, and instead slow down in the hottest and humid months. So much so that Johns Hopkins University medical professor Marty Makary, in a talk on Wall Street Journal, prophesied that “the Covid pandemic will have largely disappeared by April” in the United States where infections have plummeted by 77% since January.
The case of the United States
But why in the United States – one of the most affected countries with 28 million cases and 500 thousand deaths – are infections falling faster than predicted? Precisely because of the spread of the infection, according to Professor Makary: “In large part because the natural immunity that is generated against an infection is much more common than can be measured by tests.” Previous infections of other coronaviruses that provided immune memory to those who had contracted them and the immunity developed by those infected with Sars-CoV-2 would come into play: hence the development of a sort of herd immunity.
“There are reasons to think – he explained – that the country is running towards an extreme reduction in cases of infection. The more people have been infected, largely without symptoms or with mild symptoms, fewer and fewer people remain at risk ». Furthermore, it must be considered that the vaccination campaign proceeds at full speed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 59 million doses of vaccines have already been administered and about 15% of American citizens have been vaccinated; all while the rate of administration continues to increase, to the point that at this rate approximately 150 million people should have received the dose by the end of March. However, other experts – for example the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation – estimate that the goal of herd immunity, if anything, is still a long way off.
The UK’s progress
The same anti-Covid critical mass effect – given bynatural immunity and from vaccination campaign – however, it seems to have triggered also in the United Kingdom, another country very advanced with the administration of vaccines to the population, so much so that one in three Britons has already been vaccinated (and between March and April all over-50s should be). From the peak of 68,053 cases in January, it has gone to 9,834 in the last week, with a decrease of 10.3% compared to the previous one.
The first screenings indicate that the vaccines are also sufficiently effective against the different variants of the virus for reduce hospital admissions and deaths, which progressively removes pressure from health structures and ultimately tends to close the emergency. The Johnson government is thus considering gradually easing the lockdown measures, reopening schools on March 8 and providing for a return to outdoor sports (football, tennis, golf) from March 29. The rule of aggregation of a maximum of 6 people, or two families, is also being reintroduced. If this “road map” were to proceed, all bars and restaurants would be reopened in May, and normal life would return to July. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday he was “confident that if we do it with caution and based on data and evidence, it will be sustainable and this is the last time we are in a lockdown due to Covid-19. “.
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