Euro 2021: should we really be worried about the delta variant of the coronavirus?

Euro 2021 confronts the European continent with the threat of the Covid-19 delta variant, with in particular many cases in connection with matches played in London and Saint Petersburg. But epidemiologist Catherine Hill, interviewed by RMC Sport, puts it into perspective.

With the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19 on the European continent, the impact of Euro 2021 on the health situation is questioning. Thousands of cases related to the tournament have already been identified. Among the eleven host cities, London and St. Petersburg are particularly affected. The Russian city is yet to host the Switzerland-Spain quarter-final on Friday, while Russia has just broken its contamination record for the third day in a row. As for the British capital, the semi-finals and the final are scheduled there. Should we therefore worry about the consequences of the rest of the competition?

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Asked by RMC Sport, epidemiologist Catherine Hill considers that the impact of the event can be put into perspective if the spectators who travel are vaccinated. “The delta variant spreads faster, but is not more virulent or dangerous. It is more contagious. People are not sicker when they have the delta variant, compared to the alpha or original variants. cross more different people, you are indeed more likely to fall on the virus. So the best is to be vaccinated. There are vaccines, so that is the solution. “

No relocation

If she admits that “it is not a very good idea” to go to Russia now, the specialist nevertheless considers that a vaccinated supporter can afford it. “People need to be vaccinated, that’s just it,” she insists. Ditto in the United Kingdom, which also has the advantage of “testing more” to better monitor and control the epidemic. “In London, there are fewer viruses than in France,” she observes, by consulting the statistical curves.

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Other specialists are more worried. “If we want to seed Europe with this Delta variant, we would not go about it otherwise,” laments epidemiologist Antoine Flahault in an interview with AFP. “It is total nonsense to send supporters to places at very high risk,” he adds, pleading for the meetings planned in St. Petersburg and London to be relocated.

But UEFA has already opposed a negative response. The body declared that “the Euro matches remaining to be played will take place as planned according to the initial program”.

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Julien Absalon with Sarah Griffon

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