Covid cases down but too early to tell if UK past peak, experts say | Coronavirus

Coronavirus infections have fallen slightly across most of the UK, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, although experts analyzing the data say it is too early to say whether infections have passed their peak .

the ONS datawhich is based on swabs taken from randomly selected households, shows that in the week ending April 9, around 4.42 million people in the UK had Covid, around one in 15 people, compared to one out of 13 the previous week.

Infections rose in England and Scotland from one in 13 to one in 14 and one in 17 respectively, but remained roughly stable in Wales, where for the second week in a row around one in 13 people are believed to have had Covid. In Northern Ireland, infections have fallen from around one in 16 people to around one in 19.

“In most parts of the UK, infections have thankfully started to decline. It is too early to say whether we are past the peak of infections, and infections remain high overall,” said Sarah Crofts, analytical results manager for the Covid-19 infection survey. “We will continue to carefully monitor the data going forward.”

While the data suggests overall Covid levels in the UK have fallen from recent record highs, the situation varies, not just between but within countries.

In England, infection levels have declined over the most recent week in the North West, East of England, London, South East and South West. However, they have increased in the northeast, which now has the highest proportion of people testing positive, at 7.9%. In Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands and West Midlands, the trend over the past week is unclear.

Declines have been recorded in England in most age groups; however, the trend for the week ending April 9 was unclear for students in grades 7-11 and those aged 70 and over, with 7.2% of the latter believing they had had Covid during the most recent week, the highest level yet for that age group.

According to recent hospital data, the number of inpatient Covid patients and admissions appears to have peaked in the UK, with signs that both may now be falling.

Data released Thursday by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reveals that hospital admissions for England fell from 21.19 per 100,000 population for the week of March 28 to 18.90 per 100,000 population for the week beginning April 4.

However, levels remain high: On Wednesday there were 15,399 Covid patients in hospital in England alone, and experts say very high Covid rates are causing major disruption to the NHS, including delaying attempts to reduce the large backlog of people requiring hospital care.

The UKHSA report also sheds light on the Covid vaccination programme, revealing that more than a quarter – 26.1% – of people aged 75 and over have received their spring vaccination booster, compared to 15, 3% the previous week. The figures include those who have come in for a third dose (first booster) since the program officially started on March 21, as well as those who have received a second booster.

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Edward L. Robinett