Coronavirus infections have soared in recent weeks in the United Kingdom, according to new estimates.
The government’s last R number ranges between 1 and 1.2, which means the epidemic is growing.
And a study of thousands of people in England found that cases doubling every seven to eight days, with a marked increase in the north and among young adults.
Starting Monday, new laws are being introduced regarding the number of people who can socialize at home and abroad.
The “rule of six” would prohibit gatherings of more than six people indoors in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The number of daily confirmed virus cases in the UK rose to 3,539 on Friday – an increase of more than 600 yesterday.
Yvonne Doyle, the medical director at Public Health England, said there are now “alarming signs of infection occurring in the elderly” and she cautioned people to follow social distancing rules, wash their hands regularly, and wear face coverings in closed spaces.
It was announced that Birmingham would be the latest area to impose new restrictions after the number of cases rose.
But three separate large studies have indicated a re-emergence of the Coronavirus widely in the population.
It also increased the R number (reproduction) – which describes the number of other people to whom each infected person transmits the virus.
If it is higher than one, as it is now, the numbers of infected people will increase.
But the virus remains at much lower levels across the United Kingdom than it was at the height of the epidemic in April.
A wake-up call to the homeland
The United Kingdom is entering a new phase of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Since the shutdown, we have decided how to deal with the falling issues. But now the R number has risen above critical level 1 for the first time since March, and it’s backed by large amounts of data showing that cases are on the rise again.
Not only is this contained in hotspots like Bolton – one government adviser told me the rally is spread across the country.
They said today was an “awakening cry” for the nation. There are already some indications that the number of people being admitted to hospital is starting to rise.
But this is not a repeat of the lockdown buildup. Cases are at a much lower level and they are growing more slowly.
Before the lockdown, the R number was around three and cases were doubling every three to four days. It’s about half of that now.
Coronavirus will be a huge challenge until we get a vaccine.
So the crucial question as we head into a potentially difficult winter is how to balance keeping the virus under control and continuing our lives.
One of the three new sources of community-wide data, the REACT study of more than 150,000 volunteers in England found “accelerated transmission” at the end of August and the beginning of September.
She said infection levels are increasing across England but especially in the northeast, northwest and Yorkshire.
There were increases in positive cases in all age groups up to age 65, with the highest growth rates in the 18-24 age group.
Professor Paul Elliott, study director at Imperial College London, said the data clearly showed a “disturbing trend in coronavirus cases” as cases were growing rapidly across England and “no longer concentrated in the key workers.”
He said there was evidence of a “community epidemic” that was not the result of testing more people.
The second set of data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), estimates there were 39,700 new cases of the virus in England during the first week of September – an increase of 11,000 from the previous week.
The Office for National Statistics bases its numbers on thousands of home swab tests, whether or not people have symptoms
It estimates there was no increase in cases in the same week in Wales, but Prime Minister Mark Druckford announced that people must now wear face masks in stores in response to the spike in cases in recent days.
Katherine Kent, of the ONS infection survey, said the results indicated “an increase in cases of Covid-19 virus in England in recent weeks, with higher rates of infection among people between the ages of 17 and 34 years.”
Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the average number of cases in Scotland is “tripling every three weeks” with some areas of special interest, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
The third set of numbers, taken from the COVID-19 Symptom Study app, which tracks the health of nearly four million people in the UK, indicates a growth in new cases since the end of August – the first time since mid-June. Significant rise in numbers.
Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford, said youth would also have been affected just as much in January if testing had been available, but that many things have changed since then for the better.
“We know that medical treatment and scientific advances have improved greatly, and therefore even with the incidence rates as bad as March and April, there will be fewer deaths.
“The more people who wash their hands and practice social distancing – especially between and around the vulnerable – the number of deaths and disease decreases,” he said.
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