Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UK identifies 1.7M more people at high risk from COVID

New model spots more vulnerable people, with 800,000 given priority vaccinations

Muhammad Mussa   | 17.02.2021
UK identifies 1.7M more people at high risk from COVID A bus drives past a sign on a deserted Oxford Street on January 05, 2021 in London ( Kate Green - Anadolu Agency )


Another 1.7 million people across the UK who have been deemed by the government to be at serious risk of contracting COVID-19 have been asked to shield themselves from the virus, of which 800,000 will be offered priority vaccination. 

The request comes after a new modeling system identified adults at a higher risk from the virus. The new system now combines a number of health factors, including their ethnicity and current living standards.

“This new model is a tribute to our health and technology researchers. The model’s data-driven approach to medical risk assessment will help the NHS identify further individuals who may be at high risk from COVID-19 due to a combination of personal and health factors,” said Dr. Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England.

“This action ensures those most vulnerable to COVID-19 can benefit from both the protection that vaccines provide and from enhanced advice, including shielding and support, if they choose it,” she added.

The updated statistics now bring the total number of at-risk individuals to 4 million people. However, only those who have specific conditions or are currently undergoing certain types of treatment have been advised to shield.

The new modeling system was commissioned by England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and developed by a research team at the University of Oxford. Upon the conclusion of their research, the team transformed their findings into a risk-prediction model called QCovid.

On Tuesday, the UK reported 10,625 new cases of the virus, and there were 86,321 new cases reported in the country over the last seven days, representing a nearly 28% decrease.

Some 799 people died within 28 days of testing positive as of Feb. 15. Between Feb. 10 and 16, there were 4,345 deaths. This is a 25.6% decrease compared to the previous seven days.

By the end of Monday, 15,576,107 people were administered a first dose of the vaccine, with 546,165 receiving their second dose. Some 23.3% of the population have now received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The latest R range for the UK stands at 0.7-0.9, with the current growth rate at -5% to -2% per day. The R number is a mechanism used to rate the virus’s ability to spread, with R being the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to.

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