Symptomatic Covid cases rose by nearly a fifth last week, with more than 76,000 Britons getting sick every day, according to a large-scale surveillance study.
Professor Tim Spector, the eminent epidemiologist behind the study, warned that cases were ‘too high’ and that this was not the time ‘to paint the UK as a Covid success story’.
The King’s College London ZOE symptom-finding study estimated that 76,728 people got sick each day in the week ending November 20, based on test results from about 750,000 volunteers.
It represented an 18 per cent increase from last week’s estimate and means that one in 66 Britons has had a symptomatic infection at some point.
The R-rate – the average number of people an infected person will pass the virus to – is estimated to be around 1.1 for the whole of the UK, but slightly lower in Scotland (1.0).
Cases are now caused by unvaccinated people, the KCL team said, with 52,509 cases last week in those who had not been stung at all or had only one dose.
Infections increase most rapidly in young people under the age of 18, many of whom are not eligible for injections. Cases in children were described as ‘the leading cause of recovery in overall numbers’.
Symptomatic Covid cases rose by nearly a fifth last week, with more than 76,000 Britons getting sick every day, according to King’s College London ZOE symptom-finding study
The ZOE study found that cases are highest in children under the age of 18 (blue line), who get more than 30,000 symptomatic infections per day. In contrast, people 75 years and older (purple line) have the lowest disease level, with an estimated less than 1,000 cases per day in the age group
Covid was most common in Yorkshire and the Humber (along with the Northeast shown as the red line in the graph above), where one in 56 people per day were infected during the week. It was followed by the East of England (one in 62, blue line) and the West Midlands (one in 63). London (orange line) had the lowest rate with just 8,813 estimated cases per day in the capital – a rate of one in 81 people.
Receive your booster before December 11 and you’ll be ‘highly protected’ at Christmas
Eligible Brits have two weeks to get a Covid booster if they want maximum protection from the virus on Christmas Day.
The NHS has made a case for the approximately 7 million – or three in 10 – eligible people who have yet to receive the crucial third dose.
Real-world UK data shows that protection against getting sick with Covid rises to more than 90 percent two weeks after the injection. Immunity to hospitalization and death is even higher.
It means getting a booster by December 11 will give people “very high protection against Covid by Christmas Day,” officials said.
Boosters are offered to anyone over 40 as long as it has been six months since their second dose. But people can book their appointment after five months.
Figures show that 23 million people had been double vaccinated against Covid by May 25, about six months ago.
Currently, 16 million boosters have been administered, suggesting 7 million (30 percent) are yet to come forward.
The UK is hoping for a relatively normal Christmas this year after rising Covid cases in the last few weeks of 2020 leading to last minute lockdowns.
Professor Spector said: ‘It is really discouraging to see the number of cases increasing again and the recent ups and downs, unlike previous waves, make it difficult to predict where things will be from week to week. For me, however, the message is that the cases are still far too high.
“While we seem to be doing better than some European countries for the time being in terms of the number of cases, the UK still has a relatively high number of hospitalizations and deaths, which is a real cause for concern.
“Given the current overload on our hospitals, now is not the time to portray the UK as a Covid success story, far from it.
“While the rise in new cases is being driven by children, it would be a mistake to focus on them in the short term.”
He continued: ‘While the government is unlikely to impose restrictions before Christmas, family gatherings will undoubtedly increase the risk, especially for older and more frail relatives who have not yet had their third vaccine dose.
“Saving Christmas is up to us. Those of us who qualify for the third shot should be taking it now, and we should keep in mind that one in four people with cold symptoms has Covid.
“Consider the risks and keep your family out of the hospital during the holidays.”
Children are less likely to suffer serious illness and death from Covid than older, more vulnerable adults – explaining the current trend in declining hospitalizations and fatalities over the past week in the government’s own data.
The number of admissions fell for the eighth day in a row to 722 on Saturday, the latest data is available for — a drop of more than a third from the more than 1,000 daily hospital admissions recorded a month ago.
The death toll yesterday also fell to 149, a quarter less than the week before and for the fifth day in a row there were deaths.
The ZOE study found that the number of cases is highest in children under the age of 18, who get more than 30,000 symptomatic infections per day.
In contrast, people 75 and older have the lowest disease level, with an estimated less than 1,000 cases per day in the age group.
Covid was most common in Yorkshire and the Humber, where one in 56 people per day became infected during the week.
It was followed by the East of England (one in 62) and the West Midlands (one in 63). London had the lowest rate with just 8,813 estimated cases per day in the capital – a rate of one in 81 people.
New Botswana variant with 32 ‘horrific’ mutations is the most evolved Covid strain EVER – as experts warn it could be ‘worse than Delta’
British experts have sounded the alarm about a new Covid variant that is believed to have surfaced in Botswana and is the most mutated version of the virus to date.
Only 10 cases of the strain, which could be called ‘Nu’, have been discovered so far.
But it’s already been spotted in three countries, suggesting the variant is likely more widespread.
It carries 32 mutations, many of which suggest it is highly transmissible and vaccine resistant, and has more changes to its spike protein than any other variant.
Peak changes make it difficult for current stings to fight because they train the immune system to recognize an older version of this part of the virus.
dr. Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College who first noticed the spread, described the combination of the variant’s mutations as “horrific.”
He warned that B.1.1.529, its scientific name, had the potential to be “worse than anything” — including the world-dominant Delta species.
Figures from the Department of Health show that England registered 36,550 cases and 2,154 people tested positive in Wales yesterday, while 3,080 infections were recorded in Scotland and 1,931 in Northern Ireland.
9.9 million infections have been confirmed in the four countries since the pandemic started last March. But the actual number will be many millions more, due to limited testing capacity at the start of the Covid crisis and not everyone who catches the virus is tested.
Cases are highest and rising fastest among younger groups, with 1,090 per 100,000 10- to 14-year-olds testing positive in the seven days to Nov. 19. In the age group, the number of infections rose by 30 percent in a week.
Despite the rising number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain less than half the level recorded around the same time last year.
About 722 Britons infected with Covid were admitted to hospitals in the UK on Saturday, while 7,874 people with the virus were under NHS care yesterday.
In comparison, last year 1,552 Covid patients were hospitalized on the same day and a total of 17,680.
And 149 deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, compared to 464 this time last year.
Meanwhile, 26,822 first doses and 22,002 second doses were administered in the UK, meaning 50.8 million people over the age of 12 (88.4 per cent) have had at least one injection and 46.2 million (80.4 per cent) completely. have been vaccinated.
Some 365,152 Britons came forward for booster doses in the last 24 hours, meaning 16 million over-40s, frontline workers and vulnerable people are now being stung three times.
The EU yesterday urged its member states to give everyone 18 and older a third Covid shot to control infections, hospitalizations and deaths this winter.
But the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI), which advises No10 on the rollout, has yet to make a decision on triple shots in all adults, after the list of those eligible was expanded last week to include anyone over the age of 40. .