Britain today recorded another 871 Covid-19 cases as official data shows the number of people getting diagnosed with the life-threatening disease each day has dropped for the first time in a fortnight.
Department of Health statistics reveal 834 new infections are being registered each day — down slightly from the rolling seven-day average of 835 yesterday. But the number of patients testing positive daily is still much higher than the four-month low figure of 546 on July 8. Cases have steadily risen since over the past month, fuelling fears of a second wave.
Officials today also announced another 98 patients who tested positive for the infection have died — taking the official number of victims to 46,430 since the crisis spiralled out of control in February.
For comparison, 49 deaths were officially recorded yesterday and 120 were declared last Friday. Around 56 Brits are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection each day, on average. But the number of deaths have yet to spike and hospital admissions have remained stable, despite the rising number of cases.
It comes as official data today revealed coronavirus cases may be on their way down again after weeks of being on the up. Growing fears of a second wave in Britain prompted Boris Johnson to declare he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown last week.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day. It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency’s estimate last week.
But government scientific advisers today warned the coronavirus reproduction rate could now be as high as one right across the UK. SAGE estimates the R value – the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is now between 0.8 and 1.0, up from last week’s prediction that it was hovering around 0.8 and 0.9. Experts say the R needs to stay below one or Governments risk losing control of the epidemic and the virus could spiral back out of control.
In other coronavirus developments in Britain today:
- Britons were urged to stay away from packed beaches amid overcrowding fears on what could be the UK’s hottest day on record with Saharan air pushing temperatures above 100F (38C) for the second time in a week;
- Rishi Sunak delivered a stark warning to Britons that the government ‘will not hesitate’ to take action by imposing quarantine bans amid fears France could be the next holiday destination to face coronavirus curbs;
- Tory MPs have clashed with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham over his claims that it would be ‘impossible’ to lift lockdown restrictions in just one borough ahead of a review today;
- More than 100,000 people could have died from coronavirus in Britain if the government didn’t tell people to stay at home, according to research.
ONS FIGURES SAY CASES MAY BE DROPPING AGAIN AFTER WEEKS OF BEING ON THE UP
Coronavirus cases may be dropping again after weeks of being on the up, official data today revealed amid growing fears of a second wave in Britain.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day.
It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency’s estimate last week, when they warned there was ‘enough evidence’ to prove cases were spiralling. The spike in cases prompted Boris Johnson to declare he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown.
The ONS estimated 28,300 people in England had the coronavirus between July 27 and August 2 – the equivalent of one in 1,900 people. In comparison, last week’s rate was one in 1,500.
Separate government figures have suggested a spike in cases over the past month and health chiefs yesterday recorded another 950 infections – the highest daily toll since June 26 (1,006).
But top scientists have argued the figures are not proof of a second wave and are merely down to an increase in testing in areas that have been hit by flare-ups of the disease.
Department of Health chiefs yesterday announced that another 950 people tested positive for the virus, taking the rolling seven-day average to 835.
The rate has been on the up for over a fortnight amid growing fears of a resurgence, after dipping to a four-month low of 546 on July 8.
Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 308,134. But the actual size of the outbreak is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, this week claimed Covid-19 cases aren’t actually rising — despite government figures showing an upwards trend.
He said the rising infection rates are down to more people being tested, pointing to data showing the number of pillar two tests carried out each day rose by 80 per cent over the course of July to around 80,000.
The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.
The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.
For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.
But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths having been in the sixties since July 18.
It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won’t be immediately apparent in government figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day. It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency’s estimate last week, when they warned there was ‘enough evidence’ to prove cases were spiralling
ARE CASES REALLY ON THE UP IN BRITAIN?
Coronavirus cases in Britain have been on the up for three weeks – with 835 Britons now getting diagnosed each day, on average. The rolling rate is 53 per cent higher than the 546 on July 8, which was the lowest figure since before lockdown.
And health chiefs yesterday recorded 950 more infections in the highest daily toll since June 26 (1,006).
But the number of Brits being diagnosed with Covid-19 is still much lower than what was being recorded during the darkest days of the outbreak in April.
Around 5,000 positive tests were being confirmed each day during the height of the crisis — but this is likely to be a massive under-estimate due to a lack of testing.
Fewer than 20,000 people were getting swabbed for the virus on a daily basis in April. Now more than 100,000 tests are being processed each day.
It suggests that the virus is making a resurgence in the UK, like other European nations. Spain has been forced to reimpose lockdowns and infection rates have doubled in France over the past fortnight.
But top scientists have warned the rise in cases across Britain is down to a spike in testing – and is not reflective of a genuine second wave.
Professor Carl Heneghan, an epidemiologist at Oxford University, said data shows the number of pillar two tests – ones carried out in the community – rose by 80 per cent over the course of July to around 80,000.
And he argued the number of cases spotted for every 100,000 of the tests is ‘flat-lining’, claiming they are actually dropping for pillar one, which are given to NHS and care workers as well as patients in hospital.
Other estimates, however, do also show a rise in cases.
The ONS, which tracks the size of the outbreak in England by carrying out thousands of swab samples, last week estimated cases had doubled from the end of June to mid-July.
The data, considered the most accurate of its kind, was among a series of figures that prompted Boris Johnson to announce he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown.
But it today revealed there is evidence to show infections across the nation have ‘levelled off’. It now estimates 3,700 people are getting infected each day in England – down 12 per cent on the 4,200 prediction the week before.
Other surveillance schemes have seen a similar trend. Experts behind King’s College London’s symptom-tracking app says cases rose 12 per cent from July 23 to July 30, when they said 2,110 people were getting infected each day. But their most recent estimate, released yesterday, says this has dropped again to 1,600.
Testing figures do not show the true number of people infected because many people catch the virus but never test positive for it, either because they don’t realise they are sick, because they couldn’t get a test, or because their result was wrong.
Other measures that reflect if an outbreak is really going up – hospital admissions and deaths – have barely changed in the past month.
Government statistics show fewer than 60 Britons are dying after testing positive for Covid-19 each day. For comparison, more than 1,000 fatalities were being recorded each day during the darkest days of the outbreak in April.
But the speed at which deaths have dropped has slowed.
The rolling seven-day average has dropped 13 per cent since July 18 (68). But it fell three times quicker (42 per cent) between the start of July and the 18th.
Infected patients can take weeks to die from the coronavirus, meaning any up-tick in cases in mid-July are likely to have started trickling through by now.
Hospital admissions — another marker of an outbreak that go up before deaths — have also barely changed in the past week.
Fewer than 150 people needed NHS care for coronavirus on July 29, the most up-to-date figure. Data for days since then are not deemed to be entirely accurate because admissions may still trickle in because of a recording lag.
For comparison, 183 patients were admitted the week before. And more than 3,500 infected Britons were being admitted to hospital each day during the peak of the outbreak.
Source: Daily Mail