LONDON: After a night of celebrations in the wake of the national football team’s victory over Denmark in the semi-finals of the European Championships, there was no doubt about some hangover across England on Thursday.
Paul Hunter, Professor of Medicine at the University of East Anglia, said: “While the association does not necessarily mean it, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the celebration around the euro has been a significant factor in driving the pandemic in the UK.”
It is clearly difficult to contain the excitement associated with England’s march into Sunday’s final.
There is much despair out there that has been exacerbated by the harshness endured during the coronavirus restrictions – and largely alcohol. The British Beer and Pub Association predicted that fans across the country would consume 6.8 million pints during the match alone.
The scenery inside Wembley Stadium was particularly raucous – over 60,000 fans were allowed to attend the match. Supporters of long-suffering England outnumbered their Danish counterparts by about six to one.
Two of England’s fan favorites – Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Lightning Seeds’ “Three Lions,” with lyrics by comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner – were sung with delirium, even as England Also by the team and employees of Singlong, who later joined Singlong. The last whistle blew.
The partying did not end here. Upon exiting the stadium, fans let out red smoke and continued to sing as they exited the stadium and headed home, undoubtedly something more to celebrate.
“It was a great game, the atmosphere was absolutely amazing,” said 18-year-old Scarlett Devereaux.
It was not all positive though. European football’s governing body UEFA accused the English Football Association of three offenses at the stadium – the use of a laser pointer by fans, the setting of fireworks and disturbances to the Danish national anthem.
Another 27.6 million people tuned in at one point during the match – the largest peak football audience – and it looked like most of them ended up in the streets.
People climbed on top of London buses, while others opted to stand on the roof of the metro station in Leicester Square.
It was one of those nights.
John Angle, 65, who was a student during England’s only previous major win, said he felt “absolutely fantastic” after watching the match from the Boxpark entertainment venue in Croydon, south of London.
“I remember ’66, but I’m happier now than I was when I was 10,” he said.
As is always the case, there is always a clean-up process after the festivities, and teams were set up to remove the garbage on Thursday morning. Streets across England were littered with empty disposable plastic pint glasses and food boxes. Laughing gas canisters too.
London’s Metropolitan Police said 23 arrests were made by authorities across the capital after the match for crimes including general assault, public order and attacks on police.
Concerns have also been raised that the team’s progress in the tournament is to blame for the spread of the coronavirus across the UK, which is seeing a third increase in the pandemic as a result of the more contagious Delta variant.
Although the likelihood of infection in the outdoor environment is low, public health experts warn that the virus could still find a way to spread, especially as tens of thousands of fans flock to Wembley, which will host eight matches after the final. Will do Europe-wide tournament.
On Thursday, a closely monitored coronavirus infection survey indicated that men gathering to watch England’s progress could be one reason women were less likely to test positive for the virus.
Interim findings from June 24 to July 5 from Imperial College London and polling firm Ipsos Mori show that infections have quadrupled since the last so-called React-1 study. According to the survey, one in 170 people in England are infected and the most recent doubling time is six days.
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the Imperial School of Public Health’s React program, said the prevalence of the virus is higher among men – 0.7% against 0.5% for women.
“We saw the same thing around the Euro in Scotland and the tour of Wembley and the matches in Glasgow,” he told Sky News. “Obviously it’s not just going to the match, but it’s going to the pub, in close proximity.”
The concern should be that many people will be less alert if England wins the tournament, especially if they have had a drink or two, given that the virus will gain new momentum just before 19 July – when all remaining in lockdown in England Restrictions are set. Picked up