According to officials, coronavirus cases are being pushed back because young people are shocked by following lockdown rules.
The claim comes despite warnings that tens of thousands more deaths are on the way, with infections among the elderly rapidly increasing.
Matt Hancock chaired a “golden” meeting on the pandemic yesterday, and was told that rates among young people are falling, thus curbing a nationwide rise in cases. The Northeast, in particular, has managed to escape stricter Tier 3 restrictions as a result of the trend, it is claimed.
While they want to remain cautious, ministers are increasingly optimistic that younger people have changed their behavior after a rise in deaths, and that an increase in cases after the college freshman week has since pushed back.
The second wave of Covid-19 in Britain initially targeted teens and twenties, and the virus clearly made a resurgence as schools and universities moved back in early September.
Matt Hancock blamed the wave of new coronavirus infections for ‘socializing by people in their 20s and 30s’ and urged younger Britons not to ‘kill your grandmother’ by spreading the disease. Boris Johnson echoed the sentiment last month, asking young people to consider their behavior “for the sake of the health of your parents and grandparents.”
But one of the country’s top medics warned the nation at a televised press conference in Downing St this week that this is no longer the case, pointing to troublesome data showing that infections are now ‘invading’ the elderly population more vulnerable to the disease. disease.
And graphs from Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief of medical services, showed that coronavirus rates among young people are now falling in nearly every region of the country. Therefore, it is hoped that cases in older adults will also decrease rapidly.
Student-dominated towns and cities have 2.5 times higher infection rates than elsewhere, according to analysis of the Times, but this is down five times higher than two weeks ago.
According to officials, coronavirus cases are being pushed back because young people are shocked by following lockdown rules
Cases are rising in all age groups in all regions, with teens and twenties now high but declining
Test data from Public Health England, plotted on line charts presented at a press conference in Downing Street earlier this week, showed that coronavirus cases are now increasing across all age groups in the hardest-hit parts of the country.
The second wave was initially aimed at the younger generations, with people in their teens and 20s responsible for most of the new infections, but this is no longer the case and they are now creeping into older groups as the numbers move into the younger groups start to decline.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief of medical service, said that more cases among the elderly – particularly those over 60 – would inevitably put more pressure on NHS hospitals as those people are more likely to become seriously ill.
“The infections that have spread in the younger age groups are now penetrating into the older age groups,” he said.
“This is most concerning because it is the penetration of the disease into the older age groups that causes significant problems for the NHS.”
Graphs for all regions show that infections among 10- to 30-year-olds have been the driving force behind the new outbreak, and still are in most areas. In the Northwest, however, they showed that cases among people in their 30s and 40s have now caught up with those in teens, showing that they creep into older groups.
The same trends, Professor Van-Tam said, are happening across the country, but are at different stages – in the southern regions, cases among people over 30 are still relatively low, but could increase sharply in the future.
The graphs reflect slightly older PHE data released on Friday, which showed that the highest number of cases for the week ending October 11 was among 20 to 29 year olds, who saw 253 cases per 100,000 people.
It was the second highest in teens (245), then increased almost immediately with age, followed by those in their 30s (144), 40 (134), 50 (132), 60 (86), 80 (77), 55), under five (42) and five to ten year olds (30).
In the Northeast specifically, which seemed on the brink of a tougher lockdown just days ago, infections among teens have fallen by about one-sixth over the same period, meaning the prospect of introducing Tier 3 restrictions has been ‘paused’ ‘.
It comes despite a warning from a SAGE scientist that massive numbers of deaths are still inevitable as the second wave continues to bite.
Epidemiologist John Edmunds, who is part of the government’s scientific advisory group, believes there is little chance that the coronavirus will be completely eradicated.
“ If you look at where we are, there’s no way we can get out of this wave now without counting our deaths in the tens of thousands, ” he said at the Commons Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Joint Hearing. . Commission.
Edmunds told MPs it was “almost certain” that a vaccine will help contain the epidemic in the “not-too-distant future,” perhaps by the end of winter.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, has said it is ‘possible’ that one of the dozens of experimental jabs being tested on humans could be ready before 2021, but he admitted last week that he doesn’t think that it is likely to move forward. of Spring.
Number 10 has already ordered 340 million doses from seven different experimental jabs in a spread-bet approach one of which is proven to work.
Among them are three jabs made by Oxford University, Pfizer and Janssen – owner of Johnson & Johnson – all of which are in final testing phase. But even if one were ready in 2021, it would first be given only to the most at-risk groups, such as the elderly and NHS workers.
Professor Edmunds today answered questions from the Science and Technology and Health and Social Care committees: ‘We will have to live with this virus forever.
It is unlikely that it will be eradicated.
‘I think there is so much investment in vaccines, of very different types, that a huge range of different vaccines is being developed.
“I think it is almost certain that we will have vaccines that will help us deal with this epidemic in the not too distant future.”
When asked about the likelihood of a vaccine becoming available this winter, he added: ‘By the end of winter – it is certainly possible.
‘I think these things are gaining momentum and of course not just one vaccine is being developed, but a lot of vaccines are being developed all over the world.
‘There is a good chance that some of this will become available in the not too distant future.’
Professor Edmunds, who works at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the UK had played a ‘smart game’ by investing in so many vaccines before they were proven to work.
‘I think that’s the right thing to do, ”he said. “So I think we will be in a reasonable position here in the UK months from now.”
Ministers have bought most of their injections (100 million) from pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which manufactures the injections at Oxford University.
It has yet to be proven to work, but early studies have shown it to be very promising. Scientists working on the Oxford vaccine have suggested it could be approved by regulators before early next year – who are looking at the data.
Downing Street has also signed deals to purchase vaccines made by BioNTech / Pfizer, Janssen, Novavax, GSK / Sanofi and Valneva, if they are ultimately proven to work.
A number of vaccine candidates have shown tremendous potential because early studies have shown that the injections trigger an immune response.
But if and when they show that they can prevent someone from contracting the coronavirus in the community, it will take a while for the shot to
Professor Peter Openshaw, of Imperial College London and a member of SAGE, said last month that he expected a nine-month period between the discovery of the vaccine and the vaccine being made available.
Professor Edmund said it was unlikely that everyone will be vaccinated on the initial rollout.
It could start with people at high risk of serious Covid-19 outcomes and health professionals instead, he said.
Last month, the Joint Vaccination and Vaccination Commission (JCVI) reported that nursing home residents were among those who should top the list for a shot when one becomes available.
Anyone over 80 and NHS staff will come second, according to updated government guidelines.
The body, which consists of 20 top scientists, advises ministers on all vaccines. It admitted that its guidelines for any vaccination schedule against Covid-19 in the UK are likely to change in the future.
Matt Hancock previously promised that Britons with underlying conditions such as diabetes or heart disease would be up front for any shot.
But under the new guidelines, millions of people living with conditions that increase their risk of dying from Covid-19 will not be vaccinated until everyone over the age of 65 has been vaccinated.
Kate Bingham, the head of the country’s vaccines task force, has previously admitted that less than half of Britain will be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Experts say it is likely that people will need two doses of each vaccine to be protected against the coronavirus.
Professor Edmunds said that with a potential vaccine on the horizon, it was important to try to keep the cases of Covid-19 down.
“I actually think it’s really important to understand that vaccines are potentially not that far off now, and I think that will change what we should be doing now,” he said.
“If vaccines are at the door, I think we should try to keep incidence as low as possible now, because we will be able to use vaccines in the not too distant future.”
But the number of cases is currently on the rise in the UK, with more than 18,000 people being diagnosed each day, according to government figures.
Professor Edmunds also confirmed to the committees that SAGE had proposed in September to lock the circuit breaker to reduce the number of cases.
This, he said, was so that the cases were low enough not to overwhelm Test and Trace.
In March, when the crisis got out of hand, contact tracking was discontinued because the system was not robust enough to cope. It has since strengthened, but is still not reaching about a third of Covid-19 case contacts.
Professor Edmunds said, ‘We suggested that a circuit breaker could be installed and other rigorous measures to bring the epidemic clock back to a time in, say, August, as it were … when the fallen are low enough, you are confident that you can eradicate cases and you have not overwhelmed the Test and Trace system. ‘