UK Study Shows New COVID-19 Variant Spreads Faster, Affects Younger People

The new study was released by Imperial College.
Loukia Papadopoulos

A new study released in the UK by Imperial College is revealing that the new variant of COVID-19 spreads faster and affects younger people. 


Examining growth trends

"We examine growth trends in S-gene target failures (SGTF) and non-SGTF case numbers at local area level across England, and show that the Variant of Concern (VOC) has higher transmissibility than non-VOC lineages, even if the VOC has a different latent period or generation time. Available SGTF data indicate a shift in the age composition of reported cases, with a larger share of under 20-year-olds among reported VOC than non-VOC cases," states the study.

The new research however does not contradict previous studies that found that the new strain did not have a more elevated death rate and that the current vaccines will be effective against it.

Breaking point

In the meantime, the intensive care society released an announcement stating that intensive care staff in the UK are at the brink of a breaking point.

"Intensive care units (ICUs) are under extreme pressure as they continue to look after the sickest COVID-19 patients as well as providing care for other critically ill patients who need intensive care. We see news reports that the number of ICU beds is running out. The issue is not beds, the issue is the lack of staff available to look after these very unwell patients. A bed doesn’t care for a patient, it’s the team of incredible doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, advanced practitioners, pharmacists, and healthcare scientists who fight to keep you alive," stated the note.

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The announcement added that the country is in the middle of a second wave of infections with 53,135 new COVID-19 cases reported on 29 December 2020 by the Department of Health and Social Care and that there is a very high risk that intensive care unit staff may become overwhelmed.