News

UK’s daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

Britain’s daily Covid cases have flattened off over the past week, though hospitalisations and deaths are both still rising, official data confirmed today.

Department of Health chiefs posted another 38,154 positive tests, which was barely a change on the 38,281 which were recorded last Thursday. Infections were down slightly in England for the ninth day in a row. 

Meanwhile, both hospitalisation and fatality figures — which lag several weeks behind cases because of how long infected people can take to fall seriously ill — are continuing on an upwards trend.

Some 178 lab-confirmed victims were added to the Government’s official toll, up by a quarter on last week’s figure of 140. Barring yesterday’s figure of 207 which was skewed heavily by a bank holiday recording lag, today’s count was the highest since March.

And 848 Covid patients were hospitalised on August 29, the most recent day UK-wide figures are available for. This was up by 4 per cent on the previous Sunday. 

Given that infections have began to plateau across Britain as a whole over the past week, both hospitalisations and deaths are expected to follow suit soon. 

But some scientists fear the return of millions of schoolchildren in England, Wales and Northern Ireland over this week and next will inevitably trigger an explosion in cases. Scotland’s daily infections have spiralled to a record-high since classrooms reopened in mid-August, and have yet to peak.

‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson today warned there would be a ‘significant surge’ in cases and ‘to some extent’ in hospitalisations because of schoolchildren going back.

But he insisted it was not clear whether this would force No10 into rolling back restrictions. The SAGE adviser said it ‘depends on the level of healthcare demand’, warning there would be ‘significant pressures’ if daily cases breach 100,000. 

Meanwhile, Israel has today become the Covid capital of the world despite leading the charge on vaccines, in a clear warning sign that Britain, the US and other highly-immunised nations are still vulnerable to another wave. 

With Israel acting as the ‘canary in the mine’, the UK has been urged to ‘stop hanging around’ and launch a mass booster jab programme to avoid a deadly wave this winter. 

But the Government’s advisory panel has yet to sign off on the plans — leaving the country lagging behind Israel and the US, which is also offering third injections to everyone given two doses. 

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded
UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

Some four-fifths of local authorities in England saw their Covid cases fall in the last week of August compared to the previous seven-day spell, official data from Public Health England showed

PHE's weekly report showed Covid cases fell among under-40s at the end of August, in the latest week data is available. But they rose in older age groups

PHE’s weekly report showed Covid cases fell among under-40s at the end of August, in the latest week data is available. But they rose in older age groups

Covid cases in England were also recorded as falling across England's nine regions. The South West had the highest infection rate, although this fell sharply compared to the previous seven-day spell.

Covid cases in England were also recorded as falling across England’s nine regions. The South West had the highest infection rate, although this fell sharply compared to the previous seven-day spell.

But despite the promising reports, a symptom-tracking app today claimed infections in the country were rising. King's College London scientists estimated 46,000-odd people were catching the virus every day across the country last week, up 20 per cent on a fortnight ago. The team also suggested there were 57,000-odd Covid infections a day across the UK as a whole

But despite the promising reports, a symptom-tracking app today claimed infections in the country were rising. King’s College London scientists estimated 46,000-odd people were catching the virus every day across the country last week, up 20 per cent on a fortnight ago. The team also suggested there were 57,000-odd Covid infections a day across the UK as a whole

Israel is now the world’s Covid hotspot: Cases soar despite country’s trail-blazing vaccine roll-out – sparking fears other highly-vaccinated countries will be hit by another wave due to jabs’ waning immunity 

Israel has become the Covid capital of the world despite leading the charge on vaccines, in a clear warning sign that Britain, the US and other highly-immunised nations are still vulnerable to another wave.

Stats compiled by Oxford University-backed research team Our World in Data shows there were a record 1,892 Covid cases per million people in Israel on Wednesday — nearly 0.2 per cent of the entire population in a single day.

That was significantly higher than second worst-hit Mongolia, where the rate was 1,119 per million, and double the figures for Kosovo (980), Georgia (976) and Montenegro (909), which rounded out the top five.

The figure only looks at one day’s worth of tests and Israel’s high rate is thought to have been driven up by a huge testing push ahead of schools reopening there. 

But the country has consistently reported some of the highest infection rates in the world since mid-August amid an unprecedented third wave, despite being one of the most vaccinated nations in the world.

For comparison, 522 people per million in the UK tested positive yesterday and the figure was closer to 595 in the US. It suggests protection gained from vaccines is starting to buckle in the face of the highly-transmissible Delta variant. 

While Israel is seeing record case numbers in its fourth wave, the jabs are still protecting against severe illness with Covid deaths running at about half of the level of its second wave, even though fatalities have risen sharply in the last month.

Israel has been offering booster jabs to people over the age of 60 since July, and data suggests the scheme has helped to curb rising hospital admissions. The country has since expanded the top-up drive to everyone over 12 who has already had two doses.

With Israel acting as the ‘canary in the mine’, the UK has been urged to ‘stop hanging around’ and launch a mass booster jab programme to avoid a deadly wave this winter. 

But the Government’s advisory panel has yet to sign off on the plans — leaving the country lagging behind Israel and the US, which is also offering third injections to everyone given two doses. 

Prominent SAGE member ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson today said he expected a surge in cases in winter but is unsure if it will be large enough to warrant rolling back restrictions. Other experts fear the return of schools in England this week and next will cause infections to explode.

Separate official data today revealed Covid cases fell in around four-fifths of areas in England towards the end of August.

Public Health England’s weekly report said 117 out of 149 councils saw their cases drop in the week to August 29 compared to the previous seven-day spell.

The agency said cases had dropped among children, teenagers and young adults who have the highest infection rates in the country — but had risen slightly among the over-40s. 

PHE’s weekly report said the drop in Covid cases across England may be due to people being less likely to get tested over the bank holiday weekend.  

Dr Yvonne Doyle, the agency’s medical director, said cases across the country ‘remain high although fairly stable’.

‘In the coming days and weeks, testing to return to school will detect cases of Covid infection acquired during the summer holidays.’ 

Of the 32 council areas that saw their Covid cases rise in the latest week, about a third were in the North West including Sefton, Bolton, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen and Cheshire East.

The report also showed cases were highest among 10 to 19-year-olds and 20 to 29-year-olds, although both saw their infections fall compared to the previous week.

But for the over-80s cases rose slightly compared to the previous seven-day spell.

The South West was the region of England with the highest Covid infection rate.

Experts have previously said this is likely linked to a staycation boom, with many families choosing to stay in the UK this year, and festivals. 

Health authorities have already linked five-day music and surfing festival Boardmasters, held in Cornwall, to almost 5,000 Covid cases. 

But despite the promising reports, a symptom-tracking app today claimed infections in the country were rising.

King’s College London scientists estimated 46,000-odd people were catching the virus every day across the country last week, up 20 per cent on a fortnight ago. 

The team also suggested there were 57,000-odd Covid infections a day across the UK as a whole.

Scientists have previously said the symptom-tracking study is no longer reliable because vaccines have ‘changed the game’ by making the virus more like a ‘bad cold’, and leaving infected people less likely to suffer the three tell-tale symptoms — temperature, cough and loss of taste and smell.

Official data suggests almost nine in ten over-16s have already been vaccinated against Covid.   

The King’s study, carried out alongside healthtech firm ZOE, also suggested Covid cases had risen in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the previous two weeks.

This matched official data for Scotland and Wales.

But for Northern Ireland data from the Government’s dashboard said cases had remained stable in the two-week period with almost 1,500 recorded each day. 

Scotland is being savaged by spiralling infections, which were triggered after children returned to the classroom in mid-August.   

Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Symptom Study, said: ‘The UK has enjoyed a restriction-free summer unlike most of Europe and even though a large majority of UK adults are now vaccinated, the rise in cases, as well as hospitalisations and deaths is one of the highest in Europe. 

‘This is evidence that without at least some restrictions Covid will continue to spread. 

Israel has become the Covid capital of the world just months after leading the charge on vaccines, according to data that shows jab protection is waning. Stats compiled by an Oxford University-based research platform show Israel recorded 1,892 cases per million people on Wednesday — nearly 0.2 per cent of the entire population in a single day. That was significantly higher than second worst-hit Mongolia where the rate was 1,119 per million and double the figures for Kosovo (980), Georgia (976) and Montenegro (909), which rounded out the top five

Israel has become the Covid capital of the world just months after leading the charge on vaccines, according to data that shows jab protection is waning. Stats compiled by an Oxford University-based research platform show Israel recorded 1,892 cases per million people on Wednesday — nearly 0.2 per cent of the entire population in a single day. That was significantly higher than second worst-hit Mongolia where the rate was 1,119 per million and double the figures for Kosovo (980), Georgia (976) and Montenegro (909), which rounded out the top five

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

Britain’s independent vaccine advisory panel, said it was waiting on more evidence that these people would benefit from another dose and claimed that the ‘vast majority’ of Britons still had high protection — despite the UK’s cases trending in the same direction as Israel’s

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

While Israel is seeing record case numbers, the jab is still offering protection against severe illness with Covid deaths running at about half of the level of the second wave, even though fatalities have been rising sharply since last month. There is now growing pressure for Britain to roll out a booster vaccine programme like Israel is doing

Israel has been offering booster jabs to people over the age of 60 since July and has managed to curb rising hospital admissions in the age group as a result. Professor Eran Segal, a mathematician at the country's Weizmann Institute, tweeted today that hospitalisations had started to fall just two weeks after the top-up campaign started. This graph shows how Covid hospitalisations have started to level off in Israel just two weeks after its booster programme began. When the drive was started hospitalisations were doubling every week. Predictions suggested this would continue (green line). But just two weeks after the jabs were given out actual hospitalisations have slowed (blue line)

Israel has been offering booster jabs to people over the age of 60 since July and has managed to curb rising hospital admissions in the age group as a result. Professor Eran Segal, a mathematician at the country’s Weizmann Institute, tweeted today that hospitalisations had started to fall just two weeks after the top-up campaign started. This graph shows how Covid hospitalisations have started to level off in Israel just two weeks after its booster programme began. When the drive was started hospitalisations were doubling every week. Predictions suggested this would continue (green line). But just two weeks after the jabs were given out actual hospitalisations have slowed (blue line)

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

UK's daily Covid cases stay flat with 38,154 positive tests recorded

Covid cases will surge but it’s too early to say whether restrictions will be needed again, Professor Lockdown says

A ‘significant surge’ in cases is expected in the UK but it is too early to say whether that might mean the relaxation of restrictions needs to be rolled back, a leading expert has said.

Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling was instrumental to the UK going into lockdown in March 2020, said if daily cases start going above 100,000 to 150,000 there will be ‘significant demands on the health system’.

The scientist, from Imperial College London, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said it will be for the Government to decide on potential measures and would not be drawn on what form they might take.

Speaking to reporters during a webinar on Thursday, he said there are concerns about the effect schools reopening could have on virus spread, especially with the more transmissible and now-dominant Delta variant.

He said: ‘We expect to see quite a significant surge in cases, to some extent in hospitalisations, but whether that’s going to require any rolling back of the relaxation of restrictions is too early to say. It really depends on the level of healthcare demand.’

He said if an unvaccinated population of 5 or 10% all got Covid in a short period of time it would result in a ‘large healthcare burden, and a large number of deaths’ and that it could also ‘have a risk of significantly overwhelming health systems even in high income countries such as the UK’.

He said it is hard to predict how long any rise in case numbers, as seen in Scotland after schools went back, would go on for.

He said: ‘Obviously the relationship between case numbers and hospitalisations has changed now, fundamentally because of vaccination. So we can cope with much higher numbers of cases per day and still maintain hospitalisations at, well, the Government would say acceptable levels, and deaths would be even lower, but that only holds for so long.

‘So if we do get above 100,000/150,000 cases a day, then we start seeing very significant demands on the health system, and it will be up to the Government to decide at that point, or at some maybe earlier point, what the implications are for policy.

‘I’m not going to get drawn on what that might be.’

‘Fully vaccinated people are getting Covid, but not only are they often unable to spot the signs of infection due to the Government’s outdated list of symptoms, we’ve seen evidence that the protection provided by vaccines is wearing off. 

‘To help stop the spread, it’s still important for more of us to act responsibly by wearing masks in public, particularly in crowded places, washing our hands regularly, and trying to distance ourselves from others where possible.’

He added: ‘The sharp increase in cases in Scotland following their return to school in August is a real concern, especially as children in England and Wales are now heading back. 

‘It’s likely that England and Wales will follow suit, helped by super-spreader festival events, making it ever more likely that the summer wave will continue into the autumn. 

‘The question is — how high do numbers of cases and hospitalisations have to get before we recognise that Covid remains a real threat?’ 

Professor Ferguson — whose modelling spooked ministers into the first lockdown — said the country was set to record a significant surge in cases this winter.

He said: ‘We expect to see quite a significant surge in cases, to some extent in hospitalisations, but whether that’s going to require any rolling back of the relaxation of restrictions is too early to say. 

‘It really depends on the level of healthcare demand.’

He added if an unvaccinated population of 5 or 10 per cent all got Covid in a short period of time it would result in a ‘large healthcare burden, and a large number of deaths’.

And Professor Ferguson, from Imperial College London, added that it could also ‘have a risk of significantly overwhelming health systems even in high income countries such as the UK’.

‘Obviously the relationship between case numbers and hospitalisations has changed now, fundamentally because of vaccination,’ he told a briefing for health and science journalists. 

‘So we can cope with much higher numbers of cases per day and still maintain hospitalisations at, well, the Government would say acceptable levels, and deaths would be even lower, but that only holds for so long.

‘So if we do get above 100,000 or 150,000 cases a day, then we start seeing very significant demands on the health system, and it will be up to the Government to decide at that point, or at some maybe earlier point, what the implications are for policy.’

Separate figures from Test and Trace published today also suggested Covid cases had fallen.

They revealed 198,626 people tested positive for Covid in England in the week to August 25, down 1 per cent on the previous week.

The number of people testing positive has been around 200,000 since the end of July.

Some 13 per cent of people – around one in eight – who were transferred to Test and Trace in England in the week to August 25 were not reached, meaning they were not able to provide details of recent close contacts. 

Separate data from Test and Trace showed cases remained stable in England at the end of August. They found 198,626 people tested positive for Covid in England in the week to August 25, down 1 per cent on the previous week

Separate data from Test and Trace showed cases remained stable in England at the end of August. They found 198,626 people tested positive for Covid in England in the week to August 25, down 1 per cent on the previous week

Some 13 per cent of people – around one in eight – who were transferred to Test and Trace in England in the week to August 25 were not reached, meaning they were not able to provide details of recent close contacts

Some 13 per cent of people – around one in eight – who were transferred to Test and Trace in England in the week to August 25 were not reached, meaning they were not able to provide details of recent close contacts

The Covid Symptom Study also suggested cases in the UK are increasing fastest among under-18s as children return to school. They said these would likely overtake 18 to 35-year-olds in the near future

The Covid Symptom Study also suggested cases in the UK are increasing fastest among under-18s as children return to school. They said these would likely overtake 18 to 35-year-olds in the near future

King's College London scientists estimated cases had spiralled fastest in Scotland, where schools went back in mid-August

King’s College London scientists estimated cases had spiralled fastest in Scotland, where schools went back in mid-August

They also found people who had not been vaccinated or had only received one dose were more likely to be infected with the virus than those who had got both doses.

They also found people who had not been vaccinated or had only received one dose were more likely to be infected with the virus than those who had got both doses.

JCVI expert says it is ‘highly likely’ the UK will have dish out boosters 

Britain is ‘highly likely’ to go ahead with a Covid booster programme, one of No10’s top vaccine advisers insisted today amid mounting pressure on the Government’s expert panel to hurry up and sign off on a top-up drive. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which guides ministers on the roll-out, is still yet to give the green light to plans to re-vaccinate 32million over-50s. 

Yesterday, the panel announced around half a million immunocompromised people be given a third dose to ‘top up’ their immunity — but stressed this was not the start of any booster programme. 

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on the UK to ‘stop hanging around’ and follow in the footsteps of Israel, which has already recommended all over-12s get a booster jab. Its top-up drive has already helped blunt rising hospitalisations, data suggests. 

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the JCVI, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it is still highly likely that there will be a booster programme.’ But he added: ‘I can’t definitively say that there will be because we have not made that decision yet.’

And he warned any scheme was unlikely to start for weeks because the expert committee — made up of 16 of the country’s top scientists — was still ironing out who would be eligible.   

Patience with the scientific committee is wearing thin in No10, which had hoped to start rolling out extra jabs by Monday. Studies have shown vaccine-triggered immunity can wane over time — especially among the elderly, who are the most vulnerable to the virus. 

Fellow Government advisers warned today that time was slipping away and if a judgement is not made soon, the UK could be ‘past the time when we should have been making a decision’.    

This is up slightly from 12.3 per cent in the previous week.

Anybody in England who tests positive for Covid, either through a rapid (LFD) test or a PCR test processed in a laboratory, is transferred to Test and Trace so their contacts can be identified and alerted.

It came as a JCVI expert said Britain is ‘highly likely’ to go ahead with a Covid booster programme, amid mounting pressure for the Government’s panel to hurry up and sign off on a top-up drive. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which guides ministers on the roll-out, is still yet to give the green light to plans to re-vaccinate 32million over-50s. 

Yesterday, the panel announced around half a million immunocompromised people be given a third dose to ‘top up’ their immunity — but stressed this was not the start of any booster programme. 

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on the UK to ‘stop hanging around’ and follow in the footsteps of Israel, which has already recommended all over-12s get a booster jab. 

Its top-up drive has already helped blunt rising hospitalisations, data suggests. 

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the JCVI, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it is still highly likely that there will be a booster programme.’ 

But he added: ‘I can’t definitively say that there will be because we have not made that decision yet.’

And he warned any scheme was unlikely to start for weeks because the expert committee — made up of 16 of the country’s top scientists — was still ironing out who would be eligible.   

Patience with the scientific committee is wearing thin in No10, which had hoped to start rolling out extra jabs by Monday. 

Studies have shown vaccine-triggered immunity can wane over time — especially among the elderly, who are the most vulnerable to the virus. 

Fellow Government advisers warned today that time was slipping away and if a judgement is not made soon, the UK could be ‘past the time when we should have been making a decision’.   

MailOnline understands the JCVI is waiting on more trial data from UK studies — including ones on ‘mix and match’ jabs — before signing off on a mass booster programme. 

Most Related Links :
Business News Governmental News Finance News

Source link

Back to top button