Shock maps reveal rapid spread of Indian variant in WEEKS – is your area a hotspot?…

MAPS reveal how quickly the super infectious Delta (Indian) variant spread to all corners of the country. 

In just two weeks, the strain went from a proportion of 38 per cent to 75 per cent, making it dominant in England.

Vanessa Chalmers www.thesun.co.uk  (extract)

May 15: Where the Delta (Indian) variant had become dominant

May 29: Where the Delta (Indian) variant is now dominant

The data from the Welcome Sanger Institute shows how fast the variant has managed to grip the UK, having only been detected for the first time on April 10.

It’s reminiscent of the Alpha (Kent) strain which caused havoc at the end of 2020 when it soared to dominance in a matter of weeks, throwing England into the third lockdown.

The data comes amid growing pressure to delay the June 21 unlocking in England. 

The Delta variant is driving the rise in Covid cases, alongside lifting of restrictions.

Experts have said it is now evident the UK is at the start of a third wave and things would only escalate if June 12 went ahead. 

Not only is the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) faster spreading by around 40 per cent, but there is now evidence that it causes more severe disease.

But rising cases is yet to be mirrored by increasing hospital cases, however, with the latest data showing patient numbers have climbed slightly.

The NHS is in a race to double jab the vulnerable as fast as possible given that one jab is not considered protective enough

But some Tory MPs are fighting against “moving goalposts” for the opening of society due to the damage it will have on businesses. 

There are reports the PM is considering holding back by just two weeks to allow more time for vaccinations, with a decision imminent.

Data from the Sanger Insitute – which tracks Covid variants – shows that in the fortnight to May 15, the Delta variant had already become dominant in no more than 50 areas.

Fast-forward to May 29 – the most recent date available – the Indian variant has become dominant in at least 150 areas.

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) now makes up 75 per cent of cases, according to Sanger data which does not take into account travel related or surge testing cases. The Alpha (Kent, B.1.1.7 ) strain is the cause of only 23 per cent of cases

Dominance means that of all Covid cases sequenced, B.1.617.2 is making up at least half.

On May 15 the “hotspots” were visible and centred in the North West. Parts of the South West and South East, including London, were also more affected. 

But now there is a sea of dominance in the Midlands, with hotspots including Derby and Leicester.

Delta has spread throughout the South East, now dominant in the majority of London boroughs, through to Kent and some parts of Essex.

Only parts of the South coast spared, such as Brighton.

The North West region has become completely overthrown by the variant, having had hotspots of Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen for a few weeks. 

The maps also show the Delta variant spread quite rapidly to the East of England in one fortnight.

And parts of the South West are also facing a growing epidemic, including Cornwall and North Somerset.

Case numbers are not always high in areas where the Delta variant is dominant. 

The article goes on to list hotspots by case numbers and by dominance.