- Today’s case count is a 17.8% drop from last Thursday’s number and has fallen for the first time since May
- Another 84 victims were declared and 788 hospitalized, both an increase of nearly a third over the previous Thursday.
- Experts say they don’t take into account the effects of issuing restrictions on July 19 while declining ‘positive’ cases
Britain’s daily Covid cases have dropped for the first time in two months, in the first glimmer of hope since the third wave – but deaths and hospital admissions have increased by a third.
The Department of Health said 39,906 people across the UK tested positive in the past 24 hours, a 17.8 per cent drop from last Thursday’s number. This is the first time since May 18 that there has been a week-on-week decline.
Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline that the decline was ‘positive’, but the effects of Independence Day on July 19 would not yet appear in the data. He warned that it was possible that infections could start rising again “rapidly” in the coming weeks.
Data from the government’s COVID dashboard shows that 10 per cent fewer tests were conducted compared to the previous week, which may partly be behind the decline.
Meanwhile, Covid deaths – which have lagged behind infection numbers for several weeks – were 33.3 per cent higher with another 84 victims recorded today.
The average number of people who die from the virus every day now stands at 55, double the number from earlier this month but still 20 times less than at the peak of the second wave.
The latest data shows that on July 18, there were 788 Covid hospitalizations, an increase of 35 per cent from the previous week. Hospitalizations are doubling almost every three weeks.
But, like deaths, they are being kept at five times the peak in January thanks to a vaccine rollout, which delivered about 230,000 doses today.
This means that overall, 36.6 million Britons – the equivalent of 69 percent of adults – have been weaned completely and 46.4 million have received at least one dose, or 89 percent.
Professor Hunter told MailOnline: ‘Today’s reported case number of 39,906 is the first time the case count is lower than the same day in the previous week since the beginning of May.
‘But it is still too early to see any impact of the Monday 19th relaxation and some reduction in cases because many children are no longer being tested regularly as schools are now closed.
‘I would caution that as a result of the end of restrictions last week, the report may temporarily slow down before we begin to see a return to exponential growth next weekend.’
Some experts, including Professor Hunter, believe cases were trending downwards before Euro 2020 and that increased mixing during the tournament fueled the pandemic.
The outbreak increased in five regions of the country last week and rates were among the highest in people in the twentieth century, according to separate data from Public Health England. Meanwhile, NHS data showed more than 600,000 alerts were sent in England and Wales last week by the Covid app asking people to self-isolate, as ‘pingdemic’ continues to wreak havoc on businesses.
Covid cases are increasing in 144 of England’s 149 areas, or about 97 percent. But some experts are confident that they may start peaking within the next week amid rising levels of immunity.
Data from Public Health England shows that cases reached their highest level among adults in their 20s. One in 86 tested positive for the virus in the week of July 18, latest available
Separately, a symptom-tracking study warned that Britain’s third wave of COVID-19 was not peaking and cases would continue to rise.
Scientists at King’s College London estimate that 60,000 people were catching the virus every day in the week to 17 July, the latest day figures are available – up 27 per cent in a week.
It predicted that 60 per cent of infections were still among uninfected Britons, but the virus now appears to be more prevalent among double-jabbed than among those who have taken only a single dose.
That doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work, and simply reflects the fact that most parts of the country have now received both doses, experts say.
Professor Tim Spector, the lead researcher behind the app, claimed last week that the data showed the crisis was peaking. But today he acknowledged that the hope that the third wave may have already ‘faded away’ when the team re-examined its data and found that cases had risen.
Separate figures from Public Health England showed today that there has been an increase of 144 cases out of 149 local authorities in the past week – or about 97 per cent. Adults in their twenties had the highest rate of infection, with one in 86 testing positive for the virus in the latest seven-day period.
Other Covid-tracking scientists are still adamant that cases will start to decline this week, despite fears that daily cases will rise to more than 100,000 within weeks due to ‘Independence Day’.
There are warnings that cases are still on the rise, amid growing ‘pingdemic’ chaos that has forced high street shops to close and supermarket shelves empty. Official figures published today showed a record 600,000 alerts were sent to England last week by the NHS COVID app.
An analysis of the latest ZOE/King data shows that among those who were not vaccinated, there were a fifth of cases and two-fifths of those who received one or both doses.
The team estimated that there were 36,250 infections a day among those who have not yet been vaccinated, up from 30,572 in the previous seven-day spell.
The latest data from ZOE shows that the number of COVID cases in the UK continues to rise. This was adjusted to take into account the small number of contributors who have not been vaccinated against COVID. About 90 percent of Britons have received a dose
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