The potentially more contagious Delta subvariant

British health authorities said on Friday that they had placed the Delta subvariant spreading in the United Kingdom, which seems more transmissible but not more dangerous, under surveillance, in a context of soaring cases of Covid-19. The “AY4.2” variant accounted for 6% of total cases in the UK last week, the UK Health Security Agency said in its weekly bulletin, which classified it as “variant under investigation”.

It therefore does not represent a “worrying variant” as it stands. “Preliminary evidence seems to prove that it has a higher transmission rate compared to the Delta,” said the British public health agency. “More evidence is needed to determine if this is related to a change in the behavior of the virus or to epidemiological conditions,” she added.

On the other hand, this variant “does not appear to cause a more serious version of the disease or to make the vaccines currently distributed less effective,” she stressed. This variant is causing concern as the UK suffers one of the worst levels of contamination in the world.

After recording more than 50,000 cases on Thursday for the first time in three months, it recorded 49,298 cases and 180 deaths on Friday, bringing the total toll of the pandemic to 139,326 dead in the country.

Despite increasingly urgent calls from the medical world, Prime Minister Boris Johnson refuses to reinstate certain restrictions, such as indoor masks, after lifting the last restrictions in July.

The head of government nevertheless judged Friday “sane” to wear the mask indoors, while recalling that the priority of the government was to convince the over 50s to receive a third dose, while the recall campaign remains sluggish. The current wave is attributed by some scientists to the absence of restrictions, to the drop in immunity of the most vulnerable vaccinated very early in the United Kingdom but also to the poor vaccination of adolescents.

According to the latest weekly National Bureau of Statistics study, infection rates are highest among children in England, with nearly 8% of high school students (11-16 years old) infected in mid-October, and 3.8% for 2-11 year olds against 1.79% for the whole population. This gives hope for an appeasement during the school holidays next week.