Medical groups in the U.K. are sounding the alarm over rising coronavirus case counts on the cusp of winter and accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government of being too sanguine about a potential crisis.
Daily cases have topped 50,000 for the first time since mid-July. The British have been trying to live with the virus for the past four months or so now that over 65% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Many of those shots were given several months ago, and fears of waning immunity amid the lack of societal restrictions and a potentially new fast-moving variant have people skittish.
The British Medical Association said it was “incredibly concerning” that health authorities were not willing to take “immediate action to save lives and to protect” the National Health Service.
Mr. Johnson is standing pat, saying the best thing people can do is come forward for booster shots when it is their turn and get children ages 12 to 15 vaccinated.
However, some critics say the booster program is moving too slowly. They believe he will be forced to revert to a “Plan B” that involves mandatory masks, requiring proof of vaccination in some public settings and telling people to work from home.
Mr. Johnson said the situation is still better than it was last year as COVID-19 shots keep people from getting extremely sick.
The share of people who end up in the hospital after testing positive is about 2% compared to 9% during the last peak in January, according to The New York Times.