Daily Covid-19 cases in the UK have remained steady for weeks but the current figures are by no means low. When we compare infection rates with those of our European neighbours, this reality becomes starker.

According to Our World In Data, the UK has had over 471,500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past two weeks. By comparison, Spain and Italy have recorded close to 30,000 and just over 45,000 cases respectively. Germany has recorded just under 110,000 while India and Russia are both in the 300,000 range.

The UK’s higher infection rate is leading to more deaths; 26.2 Covid deaths per million people were recorded in the UK in the last fortnight. While not as dramatic a death toll as Russia (79.6) or Turkey (36.5), this is much higher than both France and Spain’s figure of 13, and Germany, which has seen fewer than 10 deaths per million.

When it comes to the percentage of the population to have been fully inoculated, a number of European countries – including Portugal, Italy, Spain and France – have now overtaken the UK. Nevertheless, the UK still has very solid vaccination coverage and, what is more, the Delta variant has very much established itself across the continent. Why then, are UK infection levels so comparatively high?