Britain’s third Covid wave may have PEAKED, top scientist claims

Professor Tim Spector, who runs Britain’s largest Covid symptom tracking study ZOE, said cases ‘may have peaked’ last week

Britain’s third wave of Covid pandemic may have peaked already, one of the country’s top virus-tracking experts has claimed revealed.

Professor Tim Spector, who runs Britain’s largest Covid symptom tracking study, said new cases peaked at around 33,000 per day on July 6.

Symptomatic cases among unvaccinated Brits fell by 2.4 per cent, from 20,973 on July 5 to 20,487 on July 6.

But the number of vaccinated adults —who make up 87.2 per cent of the population — falling ill with the virus is still rising. 

Another 12,905 vaccinated Brits were estimated to have caught Covid on July 6, meaning nearly half of all cases are now among the jabbed.

The data led Professor Spector, who is an epidemiologist at King’s College London, to conclude that total new cases among both groups have plateaued at 33,000.

However, separate data measures show infections are still rising across the country. MailOnline analysis revealed today that as many as one in 60 people tested positive for the virus in some parts of England. 

Data from the ZOE app showed that, while unvaccinated people in the UK make up the majority of new Covid cases, this number is beginning to fall. Meanwhile, cases among vaccinated Brits are continuing to rise, although they make up the minority of total cases

Data from the ZOE app showed that, while unvaccinated people in the UK make up the majority of new Covid cases, this number is beginning to fall. Meanwhile, cases among vaccinated Brits are continuing to rise, although they make up the minority of total cases

Data released by Professor Spector on Sunday showed that cases in the UK increased overall, rising from 33,254 on July 6 to 33,392 on July 7

Data released by Professor Spector on Sunday showed that cases in the UK increased overall, rising from 33,254 on July 6 to 33,392 on July 7

One in 60 people tested positive for Covid in South Tyneside last week, official data shows 

As many as one in 60 people tested positive for coronavirus last week in England’s current hotspot, official data shows.

Department of Health figures show Harton East — a neighbourhood in South Tyneside — had an infection rate of 1,621 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending July 7. 

Two other districts within the town — Cleadon Park and Hebburn West — also saw more than 1.5 per cent of the population test positive in the same time-frame. 

All but one of the England’s 25 worst-hit areas are currently in the North East, MailOnline analysis shows. Some districts are now recording more cases than at any point in the pandemic. 

Scientists are baffled as to what is behind the rapid spread, with some experts speculating a new variant may be behind the uptick in cases. Others claim partying students could be to blame, with the highly-transmissible Delta variant already dominant across the region. 

Tom Hall, director of public health at South Tyneside Council, told MailOnline that the Delta strain is driving the uptick in cases, which are mainly among unvaccinated people. He said the council will continue to advise people in the region to get vaccinated and keep following Covid restrictions beyond July 19.

The ZOE Covid Symptom Study app tracks how the virus spreads, and what symptoms it causes, through data provided by hundreds of thousands of Brits. 

Data released by the study on Sunday showed that cases in the UK increased overall, rising from 33,254 on July 6 to 33,392 the following day.

But the number of unvaccinated people catching Covid began to fall, while those with the jab continued to catch the virus. 

This is likely because vaccinated Brits make up the vast majority of the population, with record numbers getting jabbed last month when the vaccine rollout expanded to all over-18s. 

Full details of the weekly surveillance study will be published on Thursday.

Professor Spector said last week, when the most recent data was published, that the virus is ‘not done with us’ but there are already signs the third wave is slowing down.

ZOE figures showed for a second week in a row that cases have risen by a similar amount, prompting him to believe the third wave may already be slowing down. 

It comes as MailOnline analysis revealed that one in 60 people tested positive for coronavirus last week in England’s current hotspot.

Department of Health figures show Harton East — a neighbourhood in South Tyneside — had an infection rate of 1,621 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending July 7.

Two other districts within the town — Cleadon Park and Hebburn West — also saw more than 1.5 per cent of the population test positive in the same time-frame.

All but one of the England’s 25 worst-hit areas are currently in the North East, MailOnline analysis shows. Some districts are now recording more cases than at any point in the pandemic. 

Scientists are baffled as to what is behind the rapid spread, with some experts speculating a new variant may be behind the uptick in cases. Others claim partying students could be to blame, with the highly-transmissible Delta variant already dominant across the region. 

Tom Hall, director of public health at South Tyneside Council, told MailOnline that the Delta strain is driving the uptick in cases, which are mainly among unvaccinated people. He said the council will continue to advise people in the region to get vaccinated and keep following Covid restrictions beyond July 19.

The North East continues to record the highest number of Covid cases, after overtaking the North West as the country's virus hotspot last week (shown in top right purple section of map). The worst hit parts of England are in South Tyneside, where as many as one in 60 people are testing positive for the virus in Harton East and Cleadon Park. In contrast, just one in 416 people in London tested positive for the virus

The North East continues to record the highest number of Covid cases, after overtaking the North West as the country’s virus hotspot last week (shown in top right purple section of map). The worst hit parts of England are in South Tyneside, where as many as one in 60 people are testing positive for the virus in Harton East and Cleadon Park. In contrast, just one in 416 people in London tested positive for the virus

London has comparatively low case rates compared to other major cities, with just 240 people per 100,000 testing positive for the virus in the week leading up to July 6. This is much lower than the rates in Newcastle (813), Manchester (518) and Birmingham (353)

London has comparatively low case rates compared to other major cities, with just 240 people per 100,000 testing positive for the virus in the week leading up to July 6. This is much lower than the rates in Newcastle (813), Manchester (518) and Birmingham (353)

Ministers ‘are told to brace for up to 2MILLION Covid cases over the next few weeks’ after ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19

No10 has been told to prepare for up to 2million coronavirus cases over the next few weeks following the final unlocking on July 19, it was claimed today.

Ministers are preparing to relax all remaining legal restrictions next Monday, with Boris Johnson set to formally unveil ‘Freedom Day’ at a 5pm press conference today.

But the Prime Minister will caution that the dramatic easing ‘comes with a warning’, and people must ‘expect’ to keep wearing masks in enclosed spaces such as supermarkets and trains. Government experts have suggested working from home should remain the norm after the shift to trusting the public’s ‘common sense’. 

Despite promising hints in official data that Britain’s outbreak may already be slowing, infections are still rising. The UK is now recording 31,500 cases every day on average — up from 24,800 the week before.

Senior ministers including Health Secretary Sajid Javid have already laid the ground for up to 100,000 Britons to get infected every day within a matter of weeks, prompting fury from some experts who fear pressing ahead with July 19 is a reckless gamble.

Public Health England experts have warned hospital admissions could hit 3,000 a day — similar to levels seen in January, as the Delta variant continues to run riot. 

The Guardian today reported Whitehall officials have been told to prepare for between 1 and 2million coronavirus cases over the next few weeks, with the third wave still growing in size.

But No10 has repeatedly defended its decision to crack on with Freedom Day, with the goal now being centered around learning to live with the virus and trusting the public to use common sense instead of taking cover when infections surge.

But with infections continuing to rise across the country, concerns have been raised about going ahead with the final unlocking. 

A group of 120 doctors last week penned a letter in top medical journal the Lancet saying easing restrictions was a reckless gamble. 

Figures show the number of daily cases is rising by 30 per cent every seven days, amid the rapid spread of the highly-infectious Indian variant.

But there are signs the speed of growth is slowing down, with experts saying the end of Euro 2020 could lead to a drop in cases. 

SAGE advisers have even claimed cases will fade naturally from next month because of growing immunity among the population.  

After initially staying flat, hospital admissions and deaths are now rising quickly. One Public Health England expert warned hospitalisations could hit 3,000 a day soon.

But the vaccines have severely damaged a once-impenetrable link, with the proportion of patients who become seriously ill being just a fraction of what it was at the peak of the pandemic. 

Freedom Day was originally postponed by four weeks from the original date on June 21 to give the NHS an month to vaccine millions more people amid the rapid spread of the Indian variant.

The mutant strain is now dominant in every region of England and is behind the rapid spike in cases across the North East.  

Cases began rising exponentially in the region earlier this month and now appear to be doubling every 10 days, with an extra 3,669 people testing positive on July 6.

Around 706.5 cases per 100,000 residents tested positive on any given day in the North East last week — double the UK average. 

Infection rates are even higher in the South Tyneside, with another 328 people testing positive yesterday, meaning cases are higher there now than at any other point in the pandemic so far. 

Around 1,203 people per 100,000 tested positive for the virus in the borough, four times higher than the average across England.

In England, 11 of the 20 areas with the highest infection rates are in South Tyneside. 

But promisingly, infection rates are highest among those aged 15 to 24, who are less likely to become seriously unwell from the virus.

This suggests that the high rate of infections may not lead to a similarly high spike in hospitalisations and deaths — unless the virus seeds in to older age groups. 

By May 29, the Delta strain was linked to 77.7 per cent of cases in England

In the two weeks leading up to June 5, the Indian variant was responsible for 88.8 per cent of infections

By the end of May, the Indian mutation caused 77.7 per cent of cases across England, while the once-dominant Kent strain was responsible for just 21.8 per cent

By June 12, the Delta strain was responsible for 90 per cent of all cases in England

In the two weeks up to June 19, 96.8 per cent of all cases were caused by the Indian variant

The Indian ‘Delta’ variant is now dominant in more than 300 areas of England, MailOnline’s analysis of testing data revealed today. Figures show the ultra-transmissible strain had overtaken the formerly dominant Kent variant in 303 local authorities by June 12 — just two months after it was seeded in the country 

In the two weeks up to June 26, 98.7 per cent of all cases were caused by the Delta variant

By July 3, 99.3 per cent of all cases in England were linked to the Indian strain

The Indian variant is now responsible for almost all Covid cases in the country, with the most recent estimates from the Sanger Institute stating that 99.3 per cent of all cases in the two weeks up to July 3 were caused by the more infectious mutation

.