Children are beginning to spread the coronavirus to their parents again, official figures suggest amid fears a fourth wave is imminent.
Statistics from the Department of Health show that infection rates in England have been rising for a fortnight, after millions of pupils returned to class at the beginning of the month. But infections only increased among young people, reinforcing evidence that the reopening of schools was the cause.
However, government data now shows that rates among 35 to 39 year olds, 40 to 44 year olds and 45 to 50 year olds are rising, suggesting that children may have brought the virus home.
Experts had always warned of a new wave after the return of schools, where the majority have not been vaccinated. In the worst-hit parts of the country, up to one in 24 children tested positive last week alone.
Scientists say the rise in adult numbers may be the result of millions more Britons returning to offices this month, following the end of work-from-home counseling.
The chart above shows the number of Covid infections in different age groups per 100,000 people. They are calculated as rates per week to allow comparisons. Data showed that 10- to 14-year-olds (yellow) had the highest infection rate in the week to September 21, last available, followed by 15- to 19-year-olds (green) and 5 to 9-year-olds (red)
The chart above shows the week-over-week percentage change in Covid infection rates by age group. It shows that cases are increasing most rapidly among 10 to 14 year olds (yellow) and 15 to 19 year olds (red). The number of cases also increased by 13 percent in a week among 40 to 44 year olds (yellow), 45 to 49 year olds (green) and 15 to 19 year olds (dark green). There was a slight increase in the number of cases week-on-week in 0 to 4 year olds (black) and 5 to 9 year olds (light red)
ENGLAND COVID CASES: The chart above shows Covid cases in England. These have started to rise in the past few days in a delayed back to school wave
ENGLAND COVID DEADS: The chart above shows the number of fatalities from the virus recorded in England. These have stayed flat, but there is a delay between someone contracting the virus and sadly dying of the disease
Data from the Department of Health shows that the infection rate among 40- to 44-year-olds was 361.2 positive tests per 100,000 people in the week ending Sept. 21, up 13 percent from 318.1 in the previous week. period of seven days.
For 45- to 49-year-olds, the rate was 300.9 per 100,000 last week, also up 13 percent from 264.4 the week before. And for 35- to 39-year-olds, the infection rate was 276.2, slightly higher than 267.6 previously.
But rates still fell, albeit at a slower rate, in every other age group except children.
Kettering to be England’s new Covid hotspot
Kettering is now England’s Covid hotspot. Above are cases in the area on the date the test was taken
Kettering now has the highest Covid infection rate in England, official data shows.
The Northamptonshire market town has seen cases rise in the wake of the return of schools.
The number of coronavirus infections on September 21 was 823.8 cases per 100,000 people, the last available number, almost double the week before.
The rise was largely driven by school-aged children, with one in 24 in the area testing positive for the virus last week.
Experts have warned that almost any child in the country could contract the virus.
The second highest infection rate in the country is in Allerdale, the Lake District, where it is 702.2 per 100,000.
And Rugby, in Warwickshire, has the third highest rate at 686.9 per 100,000.
In fact, for 10- to 14-year-olds, it was 1,261.7 per 100,000, meaning 1.2 percent of all youth in the age group tested positive in the most recent week of data. The age group had the highest infection rate last week.
There was also a slight increase in the number of cases among 0 to 4 year olds, 5 to 9 year olds and 15 to 19 year olds.
The most current data on the dashboard goes through September 21, and the infection rate may change as more cases are registered in the coming days.
dr. Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at Reading University, told MailOnline it was likely that the increase in infections in older age groups was caused by Covid-infected children returning home from school.
He warned that the rise shows ministers “cannot be complacent” about rising infections in younger age groups, and said the number of cases would increase in the autumn and winter. But he added that thanks to vaccines, it was unlikely to lead to a major increase in hospitalizations and deaths.
dr. Clarke said, “It’s likely that she… [Covid cases] have gone from children. Parents have protection against the vaccine, but we know that protection is not complete.’
Professor Gary McLean, a molecular immunologist from London Metropolitan University, said Covid was likely to spread in the home due to a lack of social distancing and face masks.
He told MailOnline the country can expect a fourth wave, saying: “The age groups to which children transmit the virus are more likely to go back to work or go out where there is no social distancing, spreading it among themselves. .
“We’ve been hovering around 30 to 40,000 daily cases for quite some time now… but as the weather deteriorates and people spend more time indoors, I think the chances of an increase in cases are very high.
‘I would expect a fourth wave to come, in combination with many older people who are more vulnerable’ [to experiencing a] decline in immunity.’
He said the booster program probably wouldn’t avert a wave of infections because of its slow rollout and the fact that vaccines don’t stop infections in all cases, although they do reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. Over-50s are offered top-ups.
He also called on parents to be ‘very careful’ now that the children have returned to school and said they should keep an eye out for other symptoms of the virus, such as a sore throat, that are not on the government’s list of symptoms.
Professor Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London and member of Independent SAGE, described the rising infections among schoolchildren as “just shocking” last week.
She wrote on Twitter: ‘One in 24 children tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Kettering within a week. The rise here is practically a vertical line and there is no sign of it coming down.
‘This is what the chase’ [of] ‘herd immunity’ from mass infection of children looks like.’
Kettering has become England’s Covid hotspot with an infection rate of 823.8 per 100,000 as of September 21, the last available, almost double the week before.
Ministers have lifted virtually all Covid restrictions in English schools – which returned from the summer holidays on September 1, except that pupils have to self-smear for the virus twice a week.
But they have a package of measures available in case rising infection rates are a cause for concern. These have already been deployed in the Southwest, where children and teachers are required to wear face masks in communal areas such as playgrounds and hallways.
After Scotland experienced a meteoric rise in cases, there were fears that some restrictions would be put in place at schools across the country.
Education unions called for students to still wear face masks when they return to class.
Boris Johnson is counting on the booster program for the over-50s and will be vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds this winter to keep the virus under control.
But if the NHS comes under unsustainable pressure, he said England would have to take back other measures, including face masks in public areas. His advisers have warned the country may need to impose additional measures to contain an outbreak.