Petr Dubinsky

Will The Delta Coronavirus Variant Cancel Europe’s Summer Vacation?

The coronavirus variant delta is slowly but surely settling in Europe, and with it concerns about the development of the epidemic situation in the summer months. According to an analysis by the Financial Times (FT), the “Indian” mutation, in addition to Britain, already dominates in Russia and Portugal and is spreading rapidly in Germany and Italy. The Politico website said last week that officials on the old continent were closely monitoring whether the current outbreak in the British Isles would also cause a new influx of hospitals and an increase in deaths.

The delta variant was detected in Britain around mid-June in 98 percent of coronavirus analyzes, FT estimates. The spread of the mutation, which is considered even more contagious than the “British” variant of alpha and potentially more deadly, has forced the London government to postpone the abolition of the remaining quarantine measures in England, originally scheduled for today. Wales soon announced the same decision, with Prime Minister Mark Drakeford warning of a third wave of the epidemic in the country.

But Britain is not an isolated case, according to FT. Delta has reportedly been hidden in almost all SARS-CoV-2 samples examined in Russia and Portugal in recent days. It is also widespread in the United States, Italy, Belgium, and Germany, where it could have caused 15 percent of coronavirus infections in the middle of the month.

“Although the new strain, which first appeared in India, still accounts for a fraction of all outbreaks in mainland Europe, its incidence is increasing,” the daily said. “The small but growing number of diseases raises concerns that the delta variant could halt the progress the EU has made in the last two months in reducing new infections and deaths to their lowest levels since at least autumn,” the article continues.

According to Politico, the daily deaths associated with covid-19 are still very low in Britain and mostly remain in the single digits. However, the number of hospital beds occupied by patients with coronavirus is increasing, although not yet as sharp as the weekly average for infections. It is now over 9,000 and has almost tripled since the end of May, while the number of hospitalized in the same period has grown from less than 930 to just over 1,300.

“All eyes are on the United Kingdom to see if enough has been done to avert another wave of deaths and – no less importantly – to allow pandemic-stricken Europeans to take a break like salt,” says Politico.

According to most experts, people planning summer vacations can “cautiously relax”, provided that the proportion of the vaccinated population in Europe continues to grow and that the authorities act quickly against possible outbreaks. The vaccines used to date have dramatically reduced the risk of severe covid-19 even when infected with the delta variant. In Britain, 47 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, while in other large European countries, this proportion is at most 30 percent.

“We are well on our way to spreading the virus and spreading this pandemic, and we cannot allow the delta variant to prevail,” French Health Minister Olivier Véran said last week.