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The number of Covid-19 cases reported by Public Health England appears to have stabilised after seven weeks of rising numbers, although the number of people being admitted to hospital has increased.
The latest figures show that confirmed cases were down slightly from the previous week, although it is too early to tell whether this represents a significant change in pace of new infections. There is also a time lag on the data, and infections may have risen since.
In the week ending 18 October (week 42), there were 91,021 confirmed cases reported, down from 91,443 new cases in England in the previous week.
Adam Briggs, honorary associate clinical professor at Warwick medical school, said: “While case rates might be levelling off a little overall, the rise in cases among older people is clearly translating into increases in admissions to hospital and then into intensive care.
“This is happening across all regions and is why hospital leaders and public health professionals are so concerned with Covid increasingly affecting older age groups.”
The ONS infection survey, covering the week to 8 October, estimates that one in 160 people had the virus in that period – an increase from one in 240 the previous week. This equates to around 27,900 new cases a day.
The PHE report also shows the rise in Covid-19 cases across England is translating into increases in hospital admissions. The hospitalisation rate for Covid-19 was at eight per 100,000 people in week 42, compared with six per 100,000 in the previous week. Hospital admissions were highest in the north-west, the report found.
John Edmunds, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, warned MPs on Wednesday that without further measures, England’s tiered Covid-19 strategy would lead to high numbers of new infections every day, putting the NHS under strain and driving up the death toll.
“If you look at where we are, there is no way we come out of this wave now without counting our deaths in the tens of thousands,” Edmunds, an epidemiologist, told the joint hearing of the Commons science and technology committee and the health and social care committee.
He added: “We are already at the point, or getting close to the point, where the health service will be under strain in the next few weeks. And even if we stop things now, cases and hospitalisations will continue to go up for the next 10 days, two weeks, because they are already baked into the system.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Public Health England figures show Covid-19 cases stabilising | World news