THREAD on Europe and whether UK is a good position for winter...

TLDR: Much of Europe in v difficult circumstances.
But UK has been in difficult circumstances since June with much more total illness and death, and still is. 1/17

Concentrating on W Europe where vax rates & context are more similar - E Europe is in its own world of pain, mainly due to population with high existing health problems and low vax, particularly in vulnerable. 2/17

Many countries in W Europe going through bad Covid surges - in both cases and deaths - each for their own combo of reasons of measures, behaviours, vax rates, waning.

They have similar vax rates to UK but are later in boosting (but also vaxxed later so waning later). 3/17

UK is *not* seeing big surges like that. BUT that is because we already surged up the infection peak back in July and have stayed high on the infection ridge ever since.

With a consequent very large burden of *avoidable* illness and death. 4/17

Compared to similarly sized neighbours (Italy 60m, Spain 47m, France 67m, Germany 83m, UK 67m), we have had far more confirmed infections - over 5m since 1 July vs 1.7m in next highest Germany. 5/17

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And while some of that reflects differences in testing, it's certainly not all of it. The UK has reported almost 16K deaths since 1 July versus 8.5K in Germany and 5.7K in Italy. 6/17

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*6K UK deaths were in people over 60 who died between 1 July and 30 Sept 2021*. Almost another 3K 60+ yrs died just in Oct.

*Many would have benefited from booster this autumn and still be alive.* But they didn't get the chance cos we've been tolerating such high cases. 7/17

Since 1 July we've had over 100,000 hospital admissions in England. 45,000 were in 65+'s. They could have been mostly prevented with the booster.

24,000 were in 18-64 yr olds in July & Aug - how many were in younger adults who'd not had chance yet to be double vaxxed? 8/17

What about children?

We've had nearly 3K admissions in 6-17 yrs since 1 July. Many could have been prevented with teen vax.

Admissions in 6-17 yr olds remain relatively high- how many more could be prevented if we kept cases down till they had chance for 5-11 yr old vax? 9/17

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We've also seen rates of long covid inrease a lot, particularly in the young who bore brunt of infections in July & August.

That will only have got worse this autumn. 10/17

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So - does UK now have quite a bit of protection from high levels of infection-induced immunity plus vaccination plus boosters? Yes we do.

But only because we've tolerated high burden of illness, hospital admissions and deaths FOR FIVE MONTHS. 11/17

Other countries are not tolerating it and so are acting to reduce measures. Meanwhile we pat ourselves on the back - and for what?

Literally thousands of people have needed hospital or died before they got the chance of a booster or (for young) 1st & 2nd vax. 12/17

The more immunity a country has, the better chance it's got.

But there's a safe way (vax) and an unsafe way (infection) to get there.

We had access to the safe way but are congratulating ourselves for choosing the unsafe way. It's madness. 13/17

And we haven't protected the NHS - if you think the NHS is coping just fine, then talk to someone who's been to A&E recently, or is waiting for their treatment or works there. Things are really really bad.
@ShaunLintern has been reporting it heroically. 14/17

Many (but not all) European countries are in a real mess too right now. We'll see what happens to them over the next few months.

Their problems in no way excuse the burden of avoidable illness and death that the UK has tolerated for the last FIVE months. 15/17

To those saying boosters are amazing & will save us this winter - they *are* amazing & will save 1000s of lives.

But 1000s died this summer before they got the chance to get them.

And at least for the next few months vaccines alone are NOT enough to get cases down. 16/17

I think it's wrong to be ok with tens of thousands new cases each day.

Our situation means we need v little to bring cases down. Work from home, masks, safer schools, child vax, booster for all adults will all have impact.

England pretty much only country doing nothing. 17/17