- The Office for National Statistics Surveillance Report said 620,100 people were infected in England last week
- This was 11 percent less than the previous seven-day gap – but cases rose among school children
- This comes after other reports that cases in the younger age group have also increased
- Experts warned that the return of schools in September is likely to increase infections
England’s Covid outbreak fell by more than a tenth last week and the R rate fell below one, according to official figures – but infections among children are now rising in another sign of a back-to-school wave.
The weekly surveillance report from the Office for National Statistics estimated that 620,100 people had the virus on any day of the week as of September 18, 11 percent less than the previous seven-day spell.
And No10’s top scientists claimed that the R rate has fallen below one for the first time since mid-August and could be as low as 0.8.
But the ONS also estimated that among 12 to 16-year-olds and 2 to 11-year-olds, one in 35 is thought to be infected. Cases fell in all other age groups.
The latest figures provide evidence that infections among children are now on the rise after returning to classes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in early September. Experts had warned that the onset of autumn would give rise to a new wave.
Britain’s daily infections had risen week-on-week for the sixth day in a row after registering 36,710 cases, Health Department data showed yesterday. But the outbreak has not yet spread to adults, the data suggests.
Top scientists say, however, that a mix of children coming back to classrooms and ‘life going on indoors’ could double the spread in the coming weeks, eventually spreading to older age groups most vulnerable to the disease .
Boris Johnson is hoping to keep a lid on the virus this winter through booster shots for those over 50 and offering the first dose of the vaccine to children aged 12 to 15.
But should this fail and the NHS comes under constant pressure, the prime minister has said he will be forced to roll back some restrictions such as face masks and social distancing. His scientific advisers have said it may be necessary to take more measures to rule out the virus.
The Office for National Statistics weekly surveillance report estimates that 620,100 people had the virus on any day of the week as of September 18, an 11 percent decrease over the previous seven days (shown above).
The ONS report based its figures on randomly swabbing thousands of adults in the country. It was estimated that one in 90 people in England were infected with the virus. For comparison, it is estimated that one in 50 people had Covid at the peak of the second wave in early January.
It suggested that Northern Ireland saw a fifth increase in its infections last week, after estimating that 30,300 people were infected on any given day – the equivalent of one in 60 residents with the virus.
In Wales it suggested they increased by three per cent to 50,700 – or one in 60.
In Scotland – where infections spiraled to a record high amid the return of schools in mid-August – the ONS said infections are flatlineing at around 120,000 people, or one in 45.
Glomasters got it wrong (again) when hospitalized
Hospital admissions for Covid-19 have dropped to a two-month low as the government has failed to warn scientists once again.
The UK is in the ‘worst’ of the pandemic after a 15 per cent drop in the number of virus patients hospitalized in a week, the latest data shows.
So far this week, only 557 patients have been admitted to English hospitals in a day, despite the Sage Committee’s dire warnings of a disastrous autumn.
Just last week, Sage published a modeling warning that there could be 7,000 hospitalizations a day within weeks.
But current admissions are at half the level of its ‘best-case scenario’.
A document prepared by Sage on 8 September estimated hospital admissions this week to be between 1,000 and 3,000 a day in England.
And it warned it could reach between 2,000 and 7,000 a day in mid-October.
Sage, which has become infamous for its gloomy and often inaccurate predictions, said the R rate is expected to rise in September as schools reopen and workers go back to office.
It said that if the number of R – Covid infected persons – rises to 1.1, the next month a day admissions will be 2,000.
But if it rises to 1.5, the NHS would have 7,000 admissions a day.
It will surpass the winter peak of 4,309 on 11 January, when the NHS was pushed to the brink of collapse.
But the latest data shows the pandemic is flat in the UK and there has been no major jump in cases since schools returned.
There are 7,588 Covid patients in NHS hospitals across the UK.
This is 10 per cent lower in a week and compares with a peak of around 40,000 in January. Yesterday another 36,710 cases and 182 deaths were reported.
Meanwhile, No10’s top scientists estimated the R rate – which measures the spread of the virus – to now be between 0.8 and 1.0 below one.
This suggests that for every ten people who have the virus, they are passing it on to eight to ten other people.
The East of England, London, the Midlands, the North East and the North West were all predicted to have R rates at this level.
But in the southeast and southwest it had fallen between 0.7 and 0.9.
Experts say that the R rate should be interpreted with great caution as it is a lagging indicator and only shows the situation on the ground about three weeks ago.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist at the University of East Anglia, said it was likely that cases of Covid among young people would spread to other age groups.
He told MailOnline: ‘However’ [cases] Going up a bit…