- Infections are down since Sunday after an 18-day surge, amid hopes we won’t need Plan B
- Latest hospital data shows 916 admissions for the virus on 22 October, down less than 1% on last Tuesday’s figure
- Promising infection numbers are in line with some of scientists’ more optimistic estimates of No10
Official data shows daily Covid cases across the UK have fallen for the third day in a row and hospital admissions are stalled.
The health department said 40,954 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours, a 6 percent drop from last Tuesday’s figure. Today’s tally includes three days of data from Wales due to a technical glitch, meaning the actual week-on-week drop is likely to be even higher.
Infections have been declining since Sunday after an 18-day jump, which experts believe is a result of half-period, increased natural immunity in children and booster vaccines.
Meanwhile, the UK’s latest hospital data showed there were 916 admissions for the virus on 22 October, less than one per cent from the number a week earlier.
However, the number of Covid patients has reached the highest level in more than seven months. A total of 8,693 patients were in hospital on October 25 – the highest since March. This figure is still well below those at the peak of the second wave of the coronavirus, however, when 40,000 beds were filled by Covid patients.
Deaths were the only daily metric on the rise today, with 263 recorded nearly 18 percent in a week – the highest figure since March. However, there have also been deaths due to technical glitches at Public Health Wales.
The promising infection number No10 is in line with some of the more optimistic estimates from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
But not all scientists advising the government agree, as many SAGE people are lobbying publicly for masks, work-from-home and vaccine passports to protect against rising cases in the winter.
Downing St was today forced to defend its decision not to return to Plan B, as leaked government documents show contingency plans could cost the economy £18 billion this winter. A separate paper from the Department of Culture has raised concerns that vaccine passports could be ‘counter-productive’ and lead people to poorly ventilated pubs.
Don’t ‘bash’ Britain over having bigger Covid outbreak than Europe as continent lags behind in testing, says Oxford’s top expert
An Oxford expert has said it is unfair to ‘thesh’ on Britain’s larger Covid outbreak than Europe because it is testing ten times more people.
Official figures show that the UK currently has the highest infection rate on the continent, except for a few countries in Eastern Europe.
But it is doing the second largest number of swabs for the virus. Only Austria is doing more tests per 1,000 people.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, who helped design the AstraZeneca vaccine, warned today that it would not be helpful to compare Britain’s Covid infection rate with other countries.
He told a parliamentary committee: ‘I am not trying to deny that there is not much transmission, because there is, but it is the comparisons that are problematic.
‘If you look at the whole of Western Europe, we have about 10 times more tests each day than some other countries, that’s the population per capita. So we always have to adjust by actually looking at the data.
He pointed to hospitalizations and deaths as less affected by differences in testing – but the UK is also outpacing its neighbors on these metrics.
Europeans are watching Britain with concern, trying to understand why the infection rate of the ‘sick man of Europe’ is so high.
But there are early signs that other countries are catching up, with Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium all starting to see cases.
In other coronavirus developments:
- Sir Professor Andrew Pollard, who helped design the AstraZeneca vaccine, told MPs that it is unfair to ‘try on’ Britain’s larger Covid outbreak than Europe because it is testing ten times more people;
- It was revealed the firm was at the center of a testing fault that allowed thousands of Covid-infected patients to roam the streets, still processing private travel PCR swabs;
- Data shows that only a dozen regions in England have now reported not a single case of an offshoot of the Delta Covid variant that experts fear is even greater;
- A government adviser said Britain did not focus enough on aerial Covid transmission at the start of the pandemic.
Modeled by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for SAGE, cases fell to 5,000 per day during the winter without any additional restrictions from next month.
Scientists said a combination of booster vaccines, increased natural immunity in children and a reduction in classroom mix during the October half-term break would reduce cases.
SAGE had previously been criticized for exaggerating the scale of the country’s outbreak, but Dr Simon Clarke of the University of Reading said it looked like they had ‘a high chance of being right’ this time.
But the microbiologist told MailOnline: ‘Just as people criticized the shortcomings of the pessimistic model, we have to apply the same skepticism to such optimistic people. But the team at LSHTM is very good in its work.
Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, said he ‘trusted’ the LSHTM model, adding: ‘Over the next few weeks, we should start to see a substantial drop in cases after hospitalizations.’
Optimistic trends and forecasts give No10 confidence to defy growing calls to return to Plan B, which will see the introduction of mandatory masks and WFH guidance withdrawal, as well as the Vaccine Passport.
This comes in the form of leaked documents which suggested that…