Health & Fitness England's Covid outbreak shrinks: 46,000 people had virus last week

16:15  07 may  2021
16:15  07 may  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Just 46,000 people had coronavirus in England last week, official estimates suggested today, as the outbreak continues to shrink in the face of fewer restrictions.

Office for National Statistics figures indicated fewer than one in 1,180 people in England were infected in the week to May 2, based on random-swabbing of more than 100,000 Britons.

This was less than half the 112,600 people thought to have the virus in April, and a 15 per cent drop from the previous week.

Ministers watch the ONS study closely because its estimates also catch asymptomatic cases - which trigger no symptoms - and those in people who have the virus but don't want to get tested for fear of having to self-isolate.

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It comes as the number of Covid patients in England's hospitals plunged below 1,000 for the first time since September, with 976 patients suffering from the virus on wards from May 6.

Separate estimates from the ZOE Symptom Study app predicted yesterday that fewer than 1,000 people were being infected every day, the first time their estimate has dropped this low since their study began a year ago.

And both Public Health England and NHS Test & Trace showed the number of cases being spotted is still falling.

Businesses and MPs have called for Boris Johnson to loosen lockdown rules sooner because the national shutdown and the mass Covid jabs roll-out have been a success, warning of another lost summer if there are further delays. But the Prime Minister is refusing to budge.

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Britons under 40 should be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine due to its link to rare blood clots, health officials announced today.

Advisers made the recommendation after more adults suffered the potentially-fatal clotting disorder in the past week.

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They said the absolute risk of the clots is still 'extremely small', affecting around one in 100,000 people given the British-made jab.

So far regulators have spotted major blood clots in 242 people, of whom 49 died. But they are occurring more in younger adults, with a rate of around one in 60,000 under-40s.

Experts said the infection rate in the UK is now so low that the risk of the rare clots outweigh that of Covid in younger adults, who often only suffer mild illness. They will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead, so long as there is enough supply and it won't delay the rollout.

Anyone, no matter what age, who has been given their first dose of the AstraZeneca jab is being urged to come forward for their second.

England's deputy medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam claimed the change would not affect the Government's target to vaccinate all adults by July 31.

'Our vaccine supply schedule will support the change without limiting the speed and scale of the vaccine roll-out,' he told a televised press conference.

'I do expect that we are still on target to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July.'

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It was previously recommended on April 7 that those under 30 with no underlying health conditions should be offered an alternative to AstraZeneca.

ONS figures showed Wales had the smallest Covid outbreak across the UK, with only 0.05 per cent of residents thought to have the virus, or one in 2,070. It was followed by England where 0.08 per cent were estimated to have the virus.

Scotland had the third-smallest outbreak at 0.13 per cent, or one in 760, and Northern Ireland had the largest at 0.13 per cent or one in 750.

In England, the South West had the smallest number of Covid cases (0.02 per cent), followed by the North East (0.03 per cent) and the East of England (0.04 per cent).

On the other hand, Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest rates (0.23 per cent), followed by London (0.15 per cent) and the North West (0.08 per cent).

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Over-70s who have all been offered at least one dose of the Covid vaccine had the lowest level of infection in the country (0.04 per cent).

Children aged two to 11 had the second lowest Covid case levels (0.06 per cent). Studies suggest they are less likely to catch the virus and pass it on than other age groups.

But young adults aged 12 to 24 had the highest Covid rates (0.23 per cent), followed by those aged 25 to 34 and 35 to 49 (0.13 per cent).

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It came as NHS England figures showed the number of patients in hospitals suffering from the virus had dropped to 976, below 1,000 for the first time since September.

It is also down 97 per cent from a record 34,336 hospital patients in the darkest days of January.

During the first wave of the virus, patient numbers peaked at 18,974 on April 12.

Both south-east and south-west England are reporting numbers down 99 per cent on their second-wave peak.

Eastern England has seen its number drop by 98 per cent, the Midlands by 97 per cent, while London, north-west England and the combined region of north-east England and Yorkshire have all seen drops of 96 per cent.

The steep drop in patients is fresh evidence of the combined impact of the lockdown and vaccines in helping reduce the number of Covid-19 infections that lead to hospital admission.

Recent research by the Office for National Statistics and Oxford University found that Covid-19 infections 'fell significantly' by 65 per cent after a first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, while two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine offered similar levels of protection as a previous Covid-19 infection.

Vaccination was also found to be just as effective in individuals over 75 years or with underlying health conditions, as it was in those under 75 years or without underlying conditions.

Hospital admissions of patients with Covid are also back to early September levels. A total of 76 admissions were reported for May 4. This is down 98 per cent from the peak on January 12.

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Three regions – London, south-east England and south-west England – have seen admissions dip into single figures. The capital recorded just six admissions on May 4, compared with a second-wave peak of 977.

Separate data suggested yesterday that fewer Britons are getting ill with Covid every day than at any point since a symptom-tracking study began last year, with fewer than 1,000 cases now cropping up daily.

Estimates suggested there were 971 cases per day, lower than in July and August last year when lockdown rules were almost completely lifted even though no-one was vaccinated.

Using reports from a million users of a mobile app, the study suggested the number of new cases per day had dropped another seven per cent in a week following a 10 per cent fall the week before. It adds to overwhelming evidence that coronavirus has all but disappeared in Britain.

'Data continues to suggest Covid has stabilised at very low levels, similar to rates seen last summer,' said Professor Tim Spector, the King's College epidemiologist who runs the study.

In England the number of people developing symptoms each day remained the same as last week's estimate at 756.

Department of Health figures today showed another 2,613 positive tests were recorded yesterday – a 7 per cent rise on last Thursday – along with 13 deaths, which were down 41 per cent on 22 last week. Another 404,226 people got their second vaccine doses yesterday, with another 139,097 being given the first jab. This means 16.3million people are now fully immunised and a further 34.9m half-protected.

PHE's weekly surveillance report also showed infection rates have dropped in every region except the North West, and in every age group except five to nine year olds. Outbreaks are still shrinking in three quarters of local authorities, data also showed.

And statistics from the official testing programme show cases fell by eight per cent in the most recent week, even though near-record numbers of tests are being carried out. Test and Trace spotted 15,593 positive results between April 22 and 28, down from 17,033 the week before.

Read more

Coronavirus: Signs of UK's Covid surge 'levelling off' .
Professor Tim Spector, the King's College London epidemiologist who runs the Covid Symptom Study, said he thinks the number of people getting sick with coronavirus will start to drop within two weeks.Official data show that the rate of increase in infections has halved in a week and the Covid Symptom Study estimated that 15,760 people are now getting sick each day, up only a third in a week after doubling a week earlier.

usr: 1
This is interesting!