The UK may be freed from all coronavirus restrictions but the latest data suggests the pandemic is still to run its course. New daily cases are soaring, according to the latest figures released by the ZOE COVID Study, which tracks the spread of the pandemic from thousands of users every week. In total there are currently 81,823 new daily symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK on average, based on PCR and LFT test data from up to five days ago.
This amounts to a 17 percent increase on the 69,993 new daily cases logged last week.
Commenting on the worrying trend, professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, said: “With over 80,000 new cases a day the UK really is in trouble. This hasn’t happened overnight, but frustratingly our calls for a more cautious approach to Covid management have gone unheeded, despite the upward trends we’ve reported now for several weeks.
“As feared, cases have spilled over into the older age group which will certainly lead to more hospitalisations and deaths.
“The UK needs to act now to prevent the situation from escalating out of control ahead of winter.”
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How concerning is the situation?
In the double vaccinated population cases continue to rise and it’s estimated there are currently 23,199 new daily symptomatic cases in the UK, up from 18,817 cases last week.
The ZOE incidence data is always a week ahead of the other surveillance surveys and continues to work as an early warning signal.
In terms of prevalence, on average one in 63 people in the UK currently have symptomatic Covid. Broken down by regions, For England its one in 63, Wales, one in 49 and Scotland one in 88.
The number of daily new cases is on the rise across all age groups. Cases in 0-18 year olds have bounced back and are higher than ever.
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In the 35-55 year old group cases are also climbing. The data shows that, while not climbing at the same rate, the UK is now observing an increase in the more vulnerable age group (55-75), which is a cause for concern.
ZOE’s predicted Long Covid incidence rate currently estimates, at current case rates, 1,122 people a day will go on to experience symptoms for longer than 12 weeks.
What is driving this upwards trend?
Prof Spector said: “The two main reasons the UK is seeing cases back at January peaks are the UK’s flagging vaccine programme, which has failed to get more than 67 percent of the population double vaccinated, and lifting most restrictions too early, notes the ZOE researchers.”
As the ZOE COVID Study shows, the majority of new cases in the UK are in the unvaccinated.
According to prof Spector, “more needs to be done to encourage, cajole and educate people into getting their jabs, and support those who need them to get their booster shots”.
He continued: “I’d also welcome the return of simple measures, such as wearing masks on public transport and in crowded, poorly-ventilated places, avoiding large indoor gatherings and working from home where possible. Unfortunately, the government’s refusal to take Covid seriously since ‘Freedom Day’ has only encouraged the idea that Covid isn’t worth worrying about.
“Doing nothing now will just make it worse. This pandemic is far from over, and whilst it seems some would rather bury their heads in the sand, COVID-19 and its new variants have other plans.”
The ZOE COVID Study has been running since early May when the ZOE COVID Study commenced the daily swab testing programme provided by the Test and Trace.
The ZCS has so far recorded over a million swab results from app users.
You can get your first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if you’re aged 18 or over (or will turn 18 within three months).
You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.
A coronavirus booster vaccine dose is also being offered to improve the protection you have from your first two doses of the vaccine.
It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.