The data emerging this week will be crucial in determining to
what extent restrictions can be eased further.
In particular, the government and its scientists will be looking
at the hospital figures.
And the data released today provides both good and bad news.
In the House of Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave an
update on hospital admissions linked to the Delta variant.
Of more than 100 people in hospital that have been identified as
having an infection caused by the variant (not every positive case is checked)
just three had had two jabs.
Given that the people who have had both doses are the most at
risk of ending up seriously ill those figures are incredibly encouraging.
And it chimes with what hospital bosses have been saying – that
a much larger proportion of people being admitted now are younger and less
seriously ill than they were earlier in the pandemic.
But it is also a reminder that as infection levels go up people
will still end up seriously ill. There are early signs the overall numbers in
hospital may be starting to rise – there are now 860 in hospital in England,
nearly 90 more than there was a week ago.
This, of course, is just a fraction of the 34,000 in hospital in
the January peak. But it shows what a delicate balancing act ministers have as
they ponder easing restrictions further.