More than 80,000 Brits fell ill with Covid every day last week as infections rose 5% in a week – but they were down or flat in over-55s ‘thanks to boosters’, symptom-study finds

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  • ZOE symptom-tracking study estimates 80,483 people fall ill per day for the week ending November 27
  • This marked a 4.9% weekly increase and means one in 61 Britons suffered a symptomatic infection at any given time
  • Professor Tim Spector warns Omicron edition has left UK ‘woefully awake’ to COVID pandemic

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According to a surveillance study, symptomatic COVID cases in the UK rose nearly five per cent last week to more than 80,000.

The ZOE symptom-tracking study estimated that 80,483 people fell ill on any given day in the week ending November 27, based on test results from nearly 650,000 volunteers.

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This marks an increase of 4.9 per cent from last week’s estimate and means one in 61 Britons suffered a symptomatic infection at any given time, said scientists at King’s College London who ran the study.

But infections began to decline in their 55s, in a clear sign of the impact of a booster vaccine dose – more than 18.6 million people now had a third dose, according to government data.

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No10 on Tuesday unveiled its new plan to vaccinate all over 18s by the end of January, with the UK today buying 114 million more doses in an effort to stop the spread of the new supermutant Omicron variant.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist behind the study, warned that the variant has left Britain ‘woefully awake’ to the pandemic and encouraged more volunteers to keep track of their symptoms to help monitor the stress.

Meanwhile, ministers today took steps to prepare the UK to start vaccinating primary school children, amid fears of a wave of infections caused by the variant.

He asked his independent vaccine advisers to consider the move to the Joint Immunization and Immunization Commission (JCVI) and chief scientists Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty.

But according to Trade Minister George Freeman, the UK’s main strategy for dealing with stress is vaccinating the more vulnerable, older age groups.

The ZOE symptom-tracking study estimated that 80,483 people fell ill on any given day in the week ending November 27, based on test results from nearly 650,000 volunteers.

Figures show that cases are highest in children under the age of 18, who are seeing more than 32,000 symptomatic infections per day - although the number has fallen over the weeks.

Figures show that cases are highest in children under the age of 18, who are seeing more than 32,000 symptomatic infections per day – although the number has fallen over the weeks.

Covid was most prevalent in the East Midlands, East of England and South East, where one in 57 people were infected per day during the week.

Covid was most prevalent in the East Midlands, East of England and South East, where one in 57 people were infected per day during the week.

Minister is ‘ready’ to vaccinate children of five to 11 years against Kovid

The UK is set to start giving primary school children the Kovid vaccine amid fears of an emerging omicron wave.

Ministers have asked their independent vaccine advisers and chief scientists Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty to consider the move.

A trade minister, George Freeman, told Sky News today: ‘We’re looking at the balance of science and rollout on that.

‘(Sir) Patrick Vallance, our Chief Scientist, and (Professor) Chris Whitty are advising on that and it is his advice that guides us.’

He said the priority is to vaccinate older adults who will be most vulnerable to Omicron if the mutant virus becomes widespread in the UK.

Mr Freeman said: ‘The data at the moment suggests that young children are much less vulnerable, but as and when this data changes, we are guided by science and we are prepared, which is why we have tried vaccines. Have procured – to make sure we can give our citizens and patients what they want.’

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Professor Spector said: ‘Omicron has woken many countries, including the UK, they fell on Covid.

‘While we need more data to understand these types of risks, I would advise the public not to panic, but to remember that it is important for everyone to be more vigilant.

‘Getting your third vaccine, wearing a face covering, avoiding large crowds indoors and staying home if you feel unwell with cold-like symptoms are some of the best ways to slow the spread.

‘ZOE Covid Study is going to be one of the important tools in the fight against this new edition.

‘We need everyone who logs their symptoms, test results and vaccines into the app to understand this new version quickly and help the world keep it afloat.’

The study estimated the R rate – the average number of people passing the virus on by an infected person – to around 1.0 for the whole of the UK.

Figures show that cases are highest in children under the age of 18, who are seeing more than 32,000 symptomatic infections per day – although numbers have fallen over the weeks.

In contrast, disease levels are lowest in people aged 75 and older, with an estimated fewer than 1,000 cases in the age group each day.

Covid was most prevalent in the East Midlands, East of England and South East, where one in 57 people were infected per day during the week.

London and the North West had the lowest rates, with one in 68 people falling ill with the virus during the week.

Data from the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA) yesterday showed that Britain’s COVID crisis is on the rise again, with cases and deaths rising simultaneously for the first time in four days.

Britain reported 48,374 new cases in the last 24 hours, a 10.8 percent increase from last week’s total of 43,676.

It was the first time the number of positive tests increased week-on-week since last Friday, despite eight new cases of the supermutant Omicron variant being detected in England yesterday, bringing the UK total to 22.

Similarly, the death toll from the virus rose by 14.8 per cent to 171 today, from 149 recorded last Wednesday.

But hospitalizations continued, with 706 people hospitalized with the coronavirus on Saturday, the latest data available to date.

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