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Is UK finally nearing herd immunity?

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Thursday July 29 2021

The Telegraph
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Good morning. Danny Boyle covers hopes Britain is nearing the 'Holy Grail' of herd immunity - and disappointment for Team GB in Tokyo.

 

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Herd immunity may be near as vaccine takes strain

Scientists are "puzzled" by the recent drop in Covid infections, blaming it on the heatwave, school closures, the Euros tournament ending or a decrease in testing. Few straws have been left unclutched in the bid to explain the anomaly. Yet amid the bewilderment, few seem willing to consider the prospect that it is the vaccination programme which is doing most of the heavy lifting. Science Editor Sarah Knapton explains in this analysis that Britain may be finally nearing the Holy Grail of herd immunity. It comes as one of the world's most renowned forecasters criticised Prof Neil Ferguson for his "overconfident" prediction that Covid cases could possibly rise to 200,000 a day. It looks like Britain actually peaked at around 60,000 cases on July 15. Nate Silver, an American statistician, said there were too many variables in the pandemic for anyone to be certain of the outcome. Harry de Quetteville asks: Why are we in thrall to 'superforecasters' like Prof Ferguson?

Meanwhile, Britain expects the US to drop its UK travel ban after ministers reopened the borders to Americans. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps yesterday announced that fully vaccinated travellers from the US and the EU would be allowed to enter Britain without quarantine from Monday. He also made clear that he expects the move to be reciprocated. But do not pack your bags yet. US Correspondent Josie Ensor explains why President Biden is in no rush to let Britons back in to the US.

PS: Read all our articles on the pandemic and more with this special offer: Try a Telegraph subscription for just £1 in total for three months.

 
 

Fan injured in Hillsborough tragedy dies 32 years on

 

The Hillsborough disaster has claimed its 97th victim after a man left with life-changing injuries as a result of the crush died at the age of 55. The family of Andrew Devine last night confirmed that he died on Tuesday, 32 years after he was badly hurt in the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989. Mr Devine was left in a wheelchair and unable to speak. A coroner's inquest ruled yesterday that he was unlawfully killed as a result of the disaster. Mr Devine was described by his family as a "much-loved son, brother and uncle", while Liverpool FC said it was "deeply saddened" by his death. Read what happened in the worst stadium-related disaster in English sporting history.

 
 

Welsh slate Unesco for 'attracting too many English'

 

Welsh-speaking residents of the "British Machu Picchu" fear Wales's newest Unesco site will attract too many English tourists. The slate landscape of North West Wales, known for the historic quarrying of the building material, has been accredited as the UK's newest world heritage site. But campaigners in Gwynedd warned this could cause an influx of tourists and turn Welsh communities into "ghost towns". Read our appraisal of the quarries that are "just as fascinating as the Taj Mahal".

 
 

Daily dose of Matt

Matt cartoon

Today's cartoon | View Matt's latest cartoon on an imagined future of Covid passports

 

 
 

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

'Transphobic' | A French teacher has been sacked after attempting to scupper the election hopes of a transgender candidate who wanted to be Head Girl. Susan Field told her tutor group she felt the pupil was not "representative" of the student body and it was not an "appropriate" role for her, the teaching watchdog found. Camilla Turner has the full story.

 
 
 

Around the world: Beijing boosts ties with Taliban

China has pledged its support for the Taliban during Afghanistan's reconstruction, a major boon for the insurgents. Joe Wallen reports that Taliban leaders were invited to China's foreign ministry in Beijing in the militant group's first official meeting with a foreign government since it launched an offensive in May. View more world pictures of the day.

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, left, and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi

 
 

Comment and analysis

 
 

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Dishwasher debate

Great dishwasher debate | Rinse or no rinse? It is time to settle this once and for all

 

Business and money briefing

Diversity | Public companies with fewer than two female directors out of five will have to give investors an annual statement to explain why. The Financial Conduct Authority has announced new proposals to boost diversity amid claims corporate Britain remains "very male and white".

 
 
 

Sport briefing

Olympics | Helen Glover said she hoped she had inspired her children to "take risks and to take chances, with no fear of failure" after she and partner Polly Swann narrowly missed out on a medal in the women's coxless pair. On a disappointing night for Team GB, James Wilby was unable to continue the medal rush at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, fading to finish sixth in a fast 200m breaststroke final. Get the latest from the Games each day with our Olympics Briefing newsletter.

 
 
 

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Behind the scenes with Mark Cavendish

 

Tonight's dinner

Sangria chicken | A retro classic by Georgina Hayden flavoured with cinnamon, rosemary and citrus. View the recipe and try our Cookbook newsletter.

 

And finally... for this morning's downtime

 

'Women still don’t feel safe' | 35 years on from Suzy Lamplugh’s disappearance, Suzy Bhaker, the CEO of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, says much more needs to be done to protect women from stalking. She explains why this must be the decade of change.

 

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