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Online grocery sales in the UK expected to increase by a quarter during a deadlock | Business

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Online grocery sales are expected to increase by more than a quarter this year, as the coronavirus foreclosure drives more families to shop at home.

Supermarkets scaled up online operations to serve millions of additional buyers as fears of catching Covid-19 boosted demand from vulnerable buyers, including the elderly, as well as families trying to avoid travel The stores.

Tesco alone, it more than doubled its number of delivery slots, including click and collect, to 1.2 million in six weeks and Sainsbury’s is poised to increase its number of slots by more than 75% to 600,000 this week. Asda, Morrisons, Iceland and Waitrose also significantly increased their deliveries.

Infectious disease epidemics behave in different ways, but 1918 flu pandemic which has killed more than 50 million people is considered a key example of a pandemic that occurred in several waves, the latter being more serious than the former. It has been reproduced – albeit more slightly – in subsequent influenza pandemics.

How and why multi-wave outbreaks occur, and how to prevent subsequent waves of infection, has become a staple of epidemiological modeling and pandemic preparedness studies, which have looked at everything from social behavior and health policy until vaccination and the constitution of community immunity. , also known as collective immunity.

Is there evidence of a return of the coronavirus elsewhere?

This is being watched very carefully. Without a vaccine, and without generalized immunity to the new disease, the experience of Singapore, which experienced a sudden resurgence of infections despite being praised for his early management of the epidemic.

Although Singapore has established a robust contact tracing system for its general population, the disease has re-emerged in cramped dormitory accommodation used by thousands of foreign workers with inadequate hygiene facilities and shared canteens.

Singapore’s experience, although very specific, has demonstrated the ability of the disease to recur strongly in places where people are close by and its ability to exploit any weakness in the public health systems put in place to combat it.

What are the experts worried about?

Conventional wisdom among scientists suggests that second waves of resistant infections occur after treatment and isolation are exhausted. In this case, the concern is that the social and political consensus supporting the closures is overwhelmed by public frustration and the urgent need to reopen the economies.

The threat decreases when the susceptibility of the population to the disease falls below a certain threshold or when a generalized vaccination becomes available.

In general terms, the ratio of susceptible and immune individuals in a population at the end of a wave determines the potential magnitude of a next wave. The concern right now is that with a vaccine in a few months, and with the real rate of infection only guessing, populations around the world remain highly vulnerable to both the resurgence and subsequent waves.

Peter beaumont

Thomas Brereton, a retail analyst with research firm GlobalData, has suggested that the move to home shopping is unlikely to reverse even if the government-imposed lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus is mitigated later in the year.

“The online grocery market is now expected to grow 25.5% in 2020 – significantly more than the 8.5% previously forecast,” said Brereton. “In addition to the initial increase in volume demand (around 30% in April), reluctance to continue venturing in stores for the rest of the year will stimulate growth in the online market over a longer period than in stores. “

The latest prediction came after it appeared that online sales increased to represent 10.2% of the grocery market during the three-month period ending April 19, up from around 7% previously, according to market analysts Kantar. Its regular survey found that older shoppers in particular had turned to internet shopping, increasing their online grocery spending by 94% year-on-year.

Despite the rapid growth, supermarkets admitted that they could not meet even higher demand.

It takes time to develop an infrastructure for home delivery, including additional vans, staff to shop on shelves or in new “dark stores” or warehouses.

Ocado, the online grocery specialist, for example, is struggling to expand its service because it relies on robotic installations that take months or years to build. Grocers with physical stores have been able to adapt more quickly by reserving time when supermarkets are closed to take orders online or by expanding click-through delivery or home collection services to more outlets.

The effort to meet demand has become more pressing as consumer and disability rights groups have warned that thousands of people don’t get the help they need during the pandemic.

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