The number of Britons getting sick every day from Covid fell for the first time in a month last week, according to one of the country’s largest surveillance studies.
Scientists at King’s College London using a symptom-tracking app estimated that 69,993 people became infected daily in the week ending October 9, down 1.6 percent from 71,111 the week before.
Despite the glimmer of hope, Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist leading the study, warned that the NHS could face a ‘disaster’ this winter if the high number of cases trickles down to the over-55s despite the recession.
New cases among schoolchildren in England are at the highest level since comparable numbers started in autumn 2020, according to separate data released today by the UK Health Security Agency.
In the seven days leading up to Sunday, a total of 1,121 positive tests per 100,000 were recorded in people ages 10 to 19.
It comes after more up-to-date numbers showed cases yesterday hit a three-month high and hospitalizations jumped again – but deaths fell.
The Health Ministry’s daily update found 42,776 positive tests across the country in the past 24 hours, up seven percent from the previous week. The figure was the highest since July 21, when 44,104 infections were posted and marked the eighth day in a row of rising cases.
Scientists from King’s College London estimate that 69,993 people became infected daily in the week ending October 9, 1.6 percent less than 71,111 the week before.
Coronavirus cases grew among 127 authorities out of 149, with the biggest increases in West Berkshire (92 percent), Darlington (57 percent) and Torbay (50 percent)
The ZOE Covid study estimates that daily new cases are now falling among those under 18, but remain high in all age groups. The number of cases is now steadily increasing in 35- to 55-year-olds and remains low in those aged 18-35 and over 55
In terms of prevalence, cases are highest in Wales, Midlands, North West and North East. Since the beginning of October they have been falling constantly in Scotland
The UKHSA surveillance report found that the highest case rates were in people ages 10 to 19 (1121 per 100,000), five to nine (574 per 100,000), and 40 to 49 (465 per 100,000)
Daily Covid cases in Britain hit three-month high: infections rise 7% in a week to 42,776
Covid cases hit a three-month high yesterday and hospital admissions rose again – but deaths fell.
The Health Ministry’s daily update found 42,776 positive tests across the country in the past 24 hours, up seven percent from the previous week.
The figure is the highest since July 21, when 44,104 infections were reported and marks the eighth day in a row of rising cases.
Meanwhile, hospital admissions rose 10.4 percent week-over-week to 754, while deaths fell five percent to 136.
Both measures are a few weeks behind the number of cases, due to the time it takes a person to become seriously unwell after contracting the virus.
It comes amid growing fears the fourth wave is just around the corner, with infections now popping up in every age group.
The figures from the ZOE Covid survey are based on data from nearly 750,000 weekly contributors.
It estimated that the number of daily new cases is now declining in young people under the age of 18, but remains high in all age groups. There were about 32,000 new cases a day in young people under the age of 18 last week.
The number of cases is now steadily increasing among 35- to 55-year-olds and remains low among 18- to 35-year-olds and the over-55s.
Covid prevalence is highest in Wales, Midlands, North West and North East. Since the beginning of October they have been falling steadily in Scotland.
It is estimated that about 1,900 per 100,000 people would be infected in Wales as of Monday, compared to less than 1,100 in Wales.
Professor Spector said: ‘The UK seems to be slowly waking up to the fact that Covid cases are too high, but the reality is they have been rising for months and many countries have put us on their red lists.
‘Infections remain high in young people and seem to trickle down to the 35-55 age group. If these increases creep into the over-55s, it could spell disaster for the NHS this winter.
“This week, a major UK healthcare facility confirmed that based on our research, cold-like symptoms are now being recorded on their visitor forms to prevent potential Covid cases from entering their facilities.
“This is a bold move because it goes against official government guidelines, but in the end it will save lives, and hopefully others will follow.”
He added: ‘With the cases so high, it is clear that herd immunity is not happening, and the risk is that most people continue to believe they are safe if they have had Covid or a vaccine.
“ZOE data shows that vaccine protection wears off over time and a natural infection alone provides only 64 percent protection, so we need to do everything we can to get everyone double vaccinated and stop waiting for herd immunity to happen by natural infection.’
Meanwhile, the latest surveillance report from the UK Health Security Agency today showed the number of Covid cases grew by 13 percent last week.
The data is based on official testing, while the King’s College London/ZOE study is symptom-derived and more current.
The number of coronavirus cases grew among 127 of the 149 authorities, with the largest increases in West Berkshire (92 percent), Darlington (57 percent) and Torbay (50 percent).
In two areas, the number of infections fell by more than 20 percent: Herefordshire (23 percent) and North Lincolnshire (22 percent).
Cases rose across all age groups, with the biggest jumps in people aged 70 to 79 (33 percent), 60 to 69 (32 percent), and those over 80 (23 percent).
The highest case rates were in people ages 10 to 19 (1,121 per 100,000), five to nine (574 per 100,000), and 40 to 49 (465 per 100,000).
dr. William Welfare, incident director at the HSA, said: ‘Covid cases remain high across the country and have been rising slowly.
“As winter approaches, you can help protect yourself against Covid and flu by regularly washing your hands and wearing a mask in crowded places. If you meet people inside, open windows and doors to ventilate the room.
“If you are offered a vaccine against Covid or the flu, please take it. If you have Covid-19 symptoms, get a PCR test.”
The figures also show that the number of Covid hospital admissions in England in the week to October 10 was 6.0 per 100,000 people, up from 5.7.
Admission rates were highest in the North East of England, at 10.0 per 100,000 people. The highest admission rates are still for those over 85.