- Health Department data showed an increase in infections for the fifth consecutive day week-on-week
- Uday suggests the UK could see the impact of the return of schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Professor Chris Whitty warned today that all children will likely catch the delta version of COVID
Britain’s daily Covid cases jumped 13 per cent in a week, another sign that the back-to-school wave has finally begun – but hospitalizations and deaths have fallen by about a fifth.
Health department data showed that another 34,460 infections were seen today as against 30,597 recorded last Wednesday.
It is the fifth day in a row that positive coronavirus tests have ticked up week-on-week, suggesting the UK could now see the impact of millions of pupils returning to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scientists had warned that reopening classrooms would lead to a sharp increase in infections.
Meanwhile, the latest Covid hospitalization data shows 747 admissions took place on September 18, a 17 per cent drop in the same period last week. And another 166 Covid deaths were recorded today, reflecting the observed drop in hospital admissions.
The figures came as Professor Chris Whitty warned today that almost all illiterate students are likely to catch COVID in the future.
Explaining to MPs that the risk of not having jobs for 12 to 15-year-olds outweighs the harm, England’s chief medical officer denied expanding the roll out to these age groups, saying it was a political decision.
More than 120,000 students were out of school last week because of Covid, figures showed yesterday, or 1.5 per cent of total pupils in UK schools. About 92 percent of the students were in the class.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said the delta version’s transmissibility meant all school students would be exposed to the virus
Tories slam No. 10 for ‘perverted’ move to deliver over-12 Covid vaccines
The Tories today criticized a ‘distorted’ decision to expand the COVID vaccine rollout to children under 12.
In the first parliamentary debate about the controversial extension of the jab drive, Conservative MPs said it no longer meant Britain was passing through the ‘worst phase of the pandemic’.
He questioned the move to leave the final decision on vaccination with children if deemed competent enough, noting that experts are torn on health benefits and ethics.
Britain began immunizing healthy secondary school-aged children for the first time yesterday with a single dose of Pfizer vaccine.
It did so despite originally not being blessed by the No10 Vaccines Advisory Panel, which said the health benefits to youth were ‘modest’.
The Joint Committee for Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) left the decision to Chris Whitty and chief medical officers of developed countries. He signed off on the plans on the grounds that it could prevent hundreds of thousands of school absenteeism.
Bolton West MP Chris Green said in the Commons: ‘In many ways we can objectively say that we are passing through the worst of the pandemic and yet more drastic or authoritarian measures are being introduced at this stage. It is perverted.’
Peniston and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates, who led the debate, The reasoning behind the plans was questioned, adding: ‘Children are not disease carriers, they are not a buffer for our health system and they are not an economic inconvenience.’
And MP Derek Thomas said the decision to eliminate the JCVI’s original advice ‘very much undermines confidence in the vaccine rollout programme’.
Health chiefs said no new data had been published for England today because of a ‘major event’, but it has already released data on admissions as of 19 September.
Health Department data showed England and Wales – both of which saw schools close nearly three weeks ago – are seeing a week-on-week increase in their Covid cases.
England reported a quarter of a week jump today after 27,317 new cases were reported, up from 22,078 last Wednesday. And they rose eight percent after Wales recorded 2,485.
Scotland saw its cases continue to decline after 3,598 were recorded today, a quarter less than the same period last week.
Infections north of the border reached their highest level since the pandemic began as children returned to the classroom.
In Northern Ireland, another 1,060 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, a 19 percent decrease from the previous week. The nation has seen its cases largely stabilize recently.
Covid figures for England show that cases are now increasing in the younger age group after being low in early September.
Professor Whitty said: ‘Most of the kids who don’t currently have COVID are going to get it at some point.
‘It won’t be necessary in the next two or three months but they will get it sooner or later because it is incredibly contagious. Vaccination will reduce that risk.’
He said about half of his children are likely to have the virus already, but that doesn’t mean they are completely immune.
It comes as Tory lawmakers rebuked the government for ‘weakening’ the Joint Committee for Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) – the independent body advising the government on vaccine policy through jabs for children.
He argued that bringing in the measure now was the ‘opposite’ as the UK is going through the ‘worst phase of the pandemic’.
But speaking at an education select committee today, Professor Whitty said vaccines in 12 to 15-year-olds would be key in halting the current surge in cases in the age group once they return to schools.
He said: ‘There is certainly substantial transmission happening in this age group.
‘In fact, the age group we are talking about is the one that is currently having the highest rate of transmission, as far as we can tell.’