240% rise in Delta variant cases should “set alarm bells ringing” in government - APPG on Coronavirus

The latest Public Health England figures showing cases of the Delta variant have risen by 240% in a week should “set alarm bells ringing in government”, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has said.

The figures also show that the Delta variant is estimated to be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, with regional estimates for doubling time ranging from 4.5 days to 11.5 days. This is above the 50% increase in transmissibility which previous modelling by the government’s SAGE committee found could lead to similar or larger peaks in hospitalisations as previous waves.

Layla Moran, Chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said:

“These figures should set alarm bells ringing in government as we approach the 21st June. It is particularly concerning that the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant is above the worst-case scenario modelled by SAGE, with cases estimated to be doubling every 4.5 days in some regions.

“The government must immediately explain to the public whether this exponential growth suggests the country is in line for a severe third wave, and if so what it is doing to prevent this.

“As well as hospitalisations and deaths, ministers need to consider the debilitating impact of long Covid which is already affecting an estimated one million people. Simply letting this highly contagious strain of the virus rip through unvaccinated younger people risks leaving more with long Covid and creating a ticking time bomb for our NHS.”

ENDS

Press contact: Paul Haydon, [email protected], 07988395025

Notes to Editors

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus is conducting a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic and has so far held over 20 hearings and made over 40 recommendations. The APPG brings together 74 MPs and peers, representing all four nations and every Westminster party. The APPG’s secretariat is provided by the cross-party campaigning group March for Change.

The latest ONS figures found an estimated one million people in the UK were living with long Covid, of which 376,000 people had been experiencing symptoms of one year or more.

Modelling by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) from 13 May 2021 found that if the Delta variant were to have a 40-50% transmission advantage nationally compared to the B.1.1.7 or Alpha variant,  progressing with the current roadmap “would lead to a substantial resurgence of hospitalisations similar to, or larger than, previous peaks.”