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‘We are a Petri dish’: the world watches the UK race between vaccine and virus | Coronavirus

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‘We are a Petri dish’: the world watches the UK race between vaccine and virus |  Coronavirus

Not for the first time in the coronavirus pandemic, the UK is in a unique position. Through a combination of history, biology, mathematics, and politics, the country is the only one facing an advanced vaccination program against a substantial wave of Covid driven almost entirely by the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

Nowhere in the world is the race between vaccination and the virus watched more closely than here.

Other countries, and Israel stands out, have vaccinated more of their population. India has endured more Delta cases.

But much of North America, Europe and Asia are behind the UK with its vaccine programs and are only now seeing Delta take hold.

The World Health Organization believes that Delta will become dominant. The variant accounts for a fifth of new cases in the US and is expected to dominate in a few weeks. After a 10-week decline, cases are increasing in Europe. In France, the government’s top scientific adviser, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, warned of a fourth wave driven by the variant.

“The UK is in an absolutely unique position,” says Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. “We have the largest outbreak in the Delta in a well-vaccinated country. We are a Petri dish for the world. “