Health, fitness and Food
Covid outbreak is slowing down in England’s ?
More proof England’s Covid outbreak is slowing down? Cases rise just 8% in a week and R rate stays flat… but Boris hints Freedom Day WON’T be brought forward to July 5 as number of people infected with Indian variant jumps 80% in a week
- Office for National Statistics report estimated that 105,000 people in England had coronavirus last week
- This was the highest figure since April but only an 8% rise on a week earlier in a sign of slow growth
- Public Health England report saw surge in confirmed Indian ‘Delta’ variant cases but most in young people
- R rate, which measures speed of outbreak growth, is now steady after rising for five weeks in a row
More signs that England’s Covid outbreak may be slowing down emerged today as a raft of official data suggested the country’s crisis is no longer growing uncontrollably.
Data from the Office for National statistics today showed more than 100,000 people in England were estimated to have had Covid last week, the highest number since April.
But the figure – based on random swab testing of tens of thousands of people across the country – nudged up by only eight per cent compared to a near-doubling at the start of June.
No10’s top scientific advisers today also claimed the R rate was flat after rising for five weeks in a row following the easing of restrictions, with SAGE saying it still stood between 1.2 and 1.4.
The figure – which measures how quickly the virus is spreading – is usually a couple of weeks out of date and less reliable when case numbers are low, as they are now.
What appears to be the start of a levelling off in cases could bolster hopes that the end of lockdown, delayed from June 21 to July 19, will go ahead this time around or will even be brought forward.
No10 appears to remain cautious about speeding up the final unlocking in the face of the Indian variant, and Boris Johnson’s spokesman today pointed to the fact there were 11,000 more cases confirmed yesterday – the highest number since February.
The PM remains adamant a four-week delay would make ‘even more of a difference’ than two. Ministers will review the coronavirus situation again on July 5.
Mr Johnson said on a visit to Yorkshire that he was ‘confident’ that restrictions could come to an end on July 19 but indicated an earlier easing was unlikely.
The promising data – which come after MailOnline yesterday uncovered separate figures that revealed the speed of growth was slowing – come despite a surge in the Indian ‘Delta’ variant, which has now completed its takeover in the UK and accounts for 99 per cent of cases, with confirmed infections surging by 80 per cent in a week.
A Public Health England report today revealed the number of people admitted to hospital after catching the strain rose more than two-fold to 806 from 383 in the past week – but only one in 10 were fully jabbed, bolstering hopes that vaccines will keep the virus at bay. Deaths from the mutant strain increased from 42 to 73.
Although the strain is triggering local outbreaks, there are signs these can be controlled without lockdowns, with the early hotspots of Bolton and Blackburn managing to get cases under control with extra testing and contact tracing, and officials hoping other areas experiencing surges will follow suit.