England’s R number may have dropped ever so slightly in the past week, government scientists said this afternoon – just three days before the country’s Covid restrictions are lifted.
Today the SAGE committee said England’s rate is now estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.4 – having been between 1.2 and 1.5 this time last week.
The virus is believed to be spreading fastest in the North East and South East.
It comes as the number of infections swells across the UK, with 90 per cent of England’s towns and cities recording a week-on-week rise in cases.
Yesterday there were more than 46,500 cases confirmed, bringing the number of people testing positive in the past week to nearly 262,000.
This is 64,000 higher than the week before – a rise of nearly a third.
The government now estimates the daily growth of infections at between four per cent and seven per cent – up slightly from three per cent to seven per cent a week ago.
The R number in all regions of England is:
East of England – 1.2 to 1.5 (up from 1.1 to 1.5)
London – 1.2 to 1.4 (up from 1.1 to 1.4)
Midlands – 1.3 to 1.5 (up from 1.2 and 1.5)
North East and Yorkshire – 1.2 to 1.6 (down from 1.3 to 1.6)
North West – 1.0 to 1.3 (up from 1.1 to 1.2)
South East – 1.3 to 1.6 (same as last week)
South West – 1.2 to 1.5 (up from 1.3 to 1.6)
Prof Chris Whitty has warned that lockdown measures could have to be reintroduced in the autumn.
He sounded the alarm over a potential “scary” growth in hospitalisations which could leave the NHS “in trouble again surprisingly fast” once restrictions are lifted on Monday.
The R number measures the speed at which a virus is spreading or retreating. An R number of 1.2 means that 10 infected people will pass Covid on to a further 12, meaning it is growing.
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Sunday Mirror)
Earlier The Mirror reported that hospitals in England’s worst Covid hotspot are treating nearly 20 times more patients with the virus than they were a month ago.
Latest NHS England data shows that on Tuesday there were 78 coronavirus patients being cared for by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust – up from just four a month earlier.
The number of patients across the country trebled in the same period, rising from 522 to 1,763.
NHS trusts in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bolton and Lancashire also saw huge jumps in Covid admissions.
Hospitals in Manchester were this week treating the highest number of patients, with South Tyneside and Sunderland recording the sharpest rise.
South Tyneside now has the highest infection rate in the country, with 2,077 new cases in the seven days to July 11 – the equivalent of 1,375.7 per 100,000 people.
This is up from 937.9 in the seven days to July 4.
- Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust – 146, up from 57 a month ago
- University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust – 126, up from 42 a month ago
- Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 83, up from 11 a month ago
- South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust – 78, up from 4 a month ago
- Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust – 62, up from 20 a month ago
- Bolton NHS Foundation Trust – 58, up from 43 a month ago
- Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 58, up from 25 a month ago
- Nottingham University Hospitals Trust – 57, up from 2 a month ago
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – 55, up from 34 a month ago
- South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 54, up from 8 a month ago
Yesterday 48,553 Covid cases were confirmed across the UK by the Department of Health, while the number of people in hospital with the virus stood at 3,786 on Wednesday.
Admissions rose by more than 46 per cent in a week, the figures show, while the number of fatalities linked to the virus continues to rise.
A further 63 deaths were announced yesterday afternoon, bringing the seven day figure to 256, a 48 per cent rise compared to the previous week.
The Zoe Covid symptom study estimates that there are 15,537 cases per day among people who have had at least one jab, but the vaccines are believed to be keeping serious illness at bay.
This makes up nearly half of the 32,919 people thought to contract the virus every day.
Latest analysis by Public Health England found that one dose of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine reduces the risk of symptomatic disease with the Delta variant by around 35 per cent, and hospital cases by 80 per cent.
This rises to 79 per cent and 96 per cent after a second dose.
Prof Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, said:”‘In the UK, new cases in vaccinated people are still going up and will soon outpace unvaccinated cases.
“This is probably because we’re running out of unvaccinated susceptible people to infect as more and more people get the vaccine.
“Whilst the figures look worrying, it’s important to highlight that vaccines have massively reduced severe infections and post-vaccination Covid is a much milder disease for most people.
“The main concern is now the risk of Long Covid.”