The dust has barely settled after the Lionesses’ historic 2022 victory over Germany.
But gloomy scientists are already warning that the match was likely a Covid superspread event that could spark another boom in cases.
More than 87,000 fans gathered at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night – the largest crowd in the history of the European Championship.
After two miserable years of the pandemic, another 15 million shouted to the Lionesses from pubs and homes in a show of unity.
But Scottish immunologist Professor Denis Kinane warns that the event is “likely to trigger a wave of cases” because of the increased mixing.
‘We can expect an increase in reinfections and first infections. The end of free testing means people are much less likely to be diagnosed…so they can mingle with others while unknowingly carrying Covid.”
He called for face masks to be made mandatory at future competitions and other large-scale events.
dr. Helen Allott, an obstetrician from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, tweeted: ‘I dare say it, but 87,000 people crammed into Wembley Stadium, screaming and singing, is likely to be a super-spreading event for Covid.’
Other scientists told MailOnline that we no longer have to worry about super-distribution events because the population has such a high level of immunity.
Just 3,400 Covid cases were linked back to the men’s Euro final against Italy at Wembley last year, where 67,000 attended.
Fans celebrate at Wembley without social distancing or masks as England beat Germany in historic European Championship final
Fans celebrate the final whistle in Trafalgar Square, where the roar of the Lionesses
The Duke of Cambridge congratulates England’s Beth Mead along with UEFA women’s football chief Nadine Kessler
There is some evidence that the Glastonbury festival and the Queen’s Jubilee celebration fueled the rise in infections last month.
At the beginning of July, an estimated 3.1 million people were infected with the virus, but figures show that the number of cases already decreased by mid-month.
The number of hospital admissions from Covid has also been falling for weeks and the number of deaths is at a fraction of the level of previous waves.
But Professor Kinane, founder of Cignpost Diagnostics, said: ‘Despite popular belief, Covid is still a dangerous and highly contagious disease.
“It’s worth remembering that having a vaccination or a booster won’t prevent you from getting Covid, but it does protect most people from hospitalization.
The summer wave of Covid infections peaked in mid-July, the latest data shows. According to the Office for National Statistics, an estimated 2.6 million people had the virus on any given day in England in the seven days to July 20, a decrease of 16 percent from the previous week.
This chart shows the number of deaths directly caused by Covid in England and Wales. The number of deaths recorded in these countries is currently well below that of previous waves earlier year and a fraction of the number seen at the start of 2021
In mid-July, cases fell in every age group in England and in every region except the North East, where the trend was uncertain
Omigone: Summer Covid wave seems to be over already
The summer wave of Covid infections peaked in mid-July, the latest data shows.
According to the Office for National Statistics, an estimated 2.6 million people (one in 20) had the virus on any given day in England in the seven days to July 20, a decrease of 16 percent from the previous week.
It was the first time the number of infections fell since the fifth wave kicked off in early June, fueled by the new highly transmissible Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.
The rapid rise in weekly cases, which peaked at 3.1 million in mid-July, sparked calls from some scientists and health chiefs to return to restrictions on light touch, including face masks, free testing and outdoor mixing. .
It culminated in a health minister admitting measures could be re-imposed if Covid threatened the NHS’s ability to clear its backlogs.
Sarah Crofts, head of analytical output for the Covid Infection Survey, said: ‘Our most recent data suggest we may now be past the peak of the latest wave of infections in the UK, although rates are still among the highest recorded during the course have been observed. of the pandemic.
“We have seen a welcome drop in most parts of the UK and across all age groups. Now that the summer holidays are starting and more and more people are traveling, we will continue to monitor the data closely.’
“It is believed that festivals and major events contribute to an increase in the number of Covid infections.
“The European women’s final is therefore likely to trigger a wave of business as well, as more than 87,000 football fans attended.”
He added: “No one wants to see a return of lockdowns and restrictions.
“But… we need to take reasonable precautions – use face masks in confined spaces such as mass events, get tested if you think you’re infected and take extra care if you come into regular contact with the vulnerable.”
Among the famous spectators at Wembley on Saturday were Prince William, Harry Kane and the hopeful Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Meanwhile, a staggering 15 million more people in the UK were watching television – another record for women’s football – including Boris Johnson and his children Wilf, two, and seven-month-old Romy.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said we don’t have to worry about superspreading events anymore.
He told MailOnline: ‘It’s something we worry about when we have very low levels of immunity – which we don’t.
‘It is plausible’ [the final] could slow down the decline in cases and maybe even reverse it for a short time, but in the grand scheme of things it won’t be dramatic.
“What we’re seeing are spikes in hospital rates and deaths from Covid getting smaller with each wave.”
Professor Hunter said he was “totally” against returning masks or other light-sensitive measures to large-scale events.
But he added: “My only caveat is that if you are a very vulnerable person, who hasn’t had Covid in recent months and got over it, you still need to be very careful.”
Britain’s original super spreader event Cheltenham Festival in March 2020, which attracted around 150,000 race-goers to the city of Gloucestershire.
Although 250,000 tickets were sold, due to the uncertainties of Covid, there were about 100,000 fewer people in attendance, many of whom went for several days.
It took place just days before the government banned mass gatherings and was blamed for accelerating the first wave of the pandemic.
In the same week, a Champions League match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in Merseyside was attended by more than 52,000 people, including 3,000 Madrid fans.
When the match took place, the city had only six confirmed cases of coronavirus, but a month later there were more than 1,000 cases and hundreds of deaths.
More than 9,000 cases were directly traced to last year’s European Men’s Football Championships, which hundreds of thousands believed were indirectly related.
England lost to Italy on penalties after a heart-pounding 1-1 draw at Wembley, forcing the country to wait more than 50 years for silverware.
But the women’s team stopped all that on Saturday when they defeated Germany 2-1 in extra time – the first time an English national team has won a major trophy since 1966.
Experts expect the win to be a game changer in terms of raising the profile of women’s football.