Scientists identify highest level of UK COVID infections since 2020

UK COVID infections, vaccination
© Juan Moyano

According to the latest data, UK COVID infections are at their highest since May, 2020 – with levels especially high in school-aged children

This new data comes from the Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) programme, commissioned by the Department of Health, to track how COVID-19 is spreading.

Antibody levels are dropping, winter is coming

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Vaccines continue to be our first line of defence against this disease and it is crucial we all get jabbed to keep the virus at bay.”

Currently, COVID infections in the UK are on the rise. Despite the high rate of double vaccination in the UK, case levels are rising as winter draws in. For some of the most vulnerable people, it has been six months since they received their second vaccination – meaning their antibodies are at a low. The Delta variant is also globally dominant, which is more powerful against every existing vaccine.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “The pandemic is far from over and remains a serious threat to health and wellbeing.”

The UK currently has 8,859 people hospitalised with COVID, with 1,157 deaths reported over the last seven days.

Case levels doubled since September, 2021

It seems that 1 in 58 people tested positive in October, which is 1.72% of people. School children remain the most infected, as reported from the same study in September, 2021.

This is more than double the number of people who had COVID in September too. The figures from October are the highest since the study began, in May 2020.

Right now, the most cases are being found in children aged 5-12 years – at 1 in 17, then followed by secondary school-aged children aged 13-17. However, 18-24 year olds currently have the lowest level of infections, closely followed by those above the age of 75.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme from Imperial’s School of Public Health, said: “These very recent data show that infections are still very high, especially in school-aged children. We continue to find that households with children have a higher prevalence of infection, indicating that children could be driving up infection rates by spreading the virus to others in their homes.

“The vaccination programme in children ages 12 and above should help control infection rates in children of secondary school age, helping to ensure their education does not suffer due to the impact of the pandemic.”


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