Covid bounces back: England’s outbreak grows 8% in a week, with back to school effect and summer holidays blamed for the first jump since mid-July

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  • Statisticians tracking outbreak estimates said 766,500 people were infected on any given day last week
  • It marks the first rise in infections since mid-July, when ministers faced calls to roll back pandemic-era restrictions
  • Covid hospital admissions continue, putting additional strain on busy NHS facilities ahead of winter
  • Public health chiefs warn that COVID case rates will continue to rise as cold weather approaches

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England’s next Covid wave has officially begun, with leading experts declaring today that two months of tumbling cases had ended.

Government statisticians tasked with tracking outbreak estimates found 766,500 people were infected on any given day last week – 8.6 percent on the previous weekly toll.

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It marks the first increase in infections since mid-July, when the heat wave peaked and ministers faced calls to roll back pandemic-era restrictions.

Covid hospital admissions are also on the rise in what is feared will be another disastrous winter for the beleaguered healthcare service, further putting additional pressure on overwhelmed NHS facilities.

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Public health chiefs have warned that rates will rise as cold weather approaches and the country spends more time indoors, where the virus seems easier to spread.

Experts believe the increase is likely due to the impact back to school as well as Britons returning from summer vacations.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline: ‘We know foreign travel is a big risk factor – we started increasing infections this time last year before we went back to schools. That is, people are picking up this virus and bringing it back from holidays in the country and abroad.

‘And weakened immunity is probably playing a role as the latest data shows that boosters only really protect against infection for about three months.’

Government statisticians tasked with tracking outbreak estimates found 766,500 people were infected on any given day last week – 8.6 percent on the previous weekly toll. It marks the first increase in infections since mid-July, when the heat wave peaked and ministers faced calls to roll back pandemic-era restrictions.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser to the UK Health Protection Agency, said rates were ‘still low’ but there was clearly an uptick.

She said: ‘To those eligible, now is the time to get your autumn boosters. Getting a booster will give your immune system time to build up your defenses against getting seriously ill from COVID as you go into colds.

‘As it gets colder and we move towards winter, we will start seeing respiratory infections – please try to stay at home if you are unwell and avoid contact with vulnerable people.’

Weekly estimates published by the ONS, which are closely monitored by the government, are considered the most accurate way to track the size of the UK outbreak.

Unlike the toll of reported infections, which has been wildly inaccurate since the massive testing scheme kicked off in April, it does not rely on Britons getting tested and reporting results.

Cases also rose in Wales (prevalence of 39,700, up 40.8 percent). Yet they fell in Scotland (98,800, down 13.0 percent) and Northern Ireland (22,900, down 32.0 percent).

A third of NHS capacity is taken up by bed-blockers in the busiest trusts

Up to a third of beds in England’s busiest NHS trusts hold patients who shouldn’t be there, according to a shocking MailOnline analysis that lays bare the scale of the country’s ‘devastating’ bed-blocking jam.

More than 13,000 hospital beds across the country, or one in seven, are currently filled with patients declared fit for discharge by doctors.

But rates rise to one in three in the worst-affected hospitals, found in Bristol and Coventry, as well as parts of Lancashire and Norfolk.

Experts say the numbers are being driven by a distinct crisis in social care, with medically fit patients left to stay in wards for nine months because there is no suitable nursing accommodation or care available for them in the community. .

Newly appointed Health Secretary Therese Coffey has already vowed to end the scandal, which has risen to record levels and is believed to cost taxpayers around £2bn a year.

This will help prevent fatal ambulance delays by stopping paramedics waiting outside A&E for beds to be available. It will also boost efforts to tackle the COVID-induced care backlog, by freeing up space to allow more patients.

In an effort to avert an NHS recession this winter, Dr Coffey revealed yesterday that she will be giving a £500 million emergency fund to the crippled social care sector.

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The figures for the week ending September 14 are based on swabs from thousands of people.

Sarah Crofts, deputy director of the ONS COVID Infection Survey, said: ‘Today’s figures show a mixed picture across the UK, with an increase in England and Wales, while a decrease in infections in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

‘It is too early to see whether these changing trends will continue, and we will be monitoring the data closely in the coming weeks to see any impact of the return of schools.’

The most up-to-date NHS England figures show that Covid pressure in hospitals is also increasing, reflecting an increase in the community.

Some 781 virus-related admissions were recorded on September 19, up about 17 per cent in the previous week.

Yet the toll is a fraction of the levels seen during the darkest days of the pandemic, when more than 4,000 new patients needed NHS care every day.

In addition, not all of these patients require treatment for the virus.

Only a third of infected patients living in NHS beds are primarily sick with Covid, with the rest testing positive by chance and seeking care for other conditions such as a broken leg or heart disease.

And the number of patients…

Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /

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