News, Culture & Society

Covid UK: Weekly cases RISE 6% as deaths jump a third, though hospitalisations are down

Britain’s daily Covid cases have increased for the first time in almost a fortnight but hospitalisations continue to fall, official data revealed today. 

Health chiefs posted 29,312 positive tests, an increase of six per cent on last week’s 27,734. It is the first time the cases have risen week-on-week since July 27 (44,104).

Coronavirus-tracking experts warned the recent fall in cases — which sparked hopes the worst of the third wave was over — was beginning to flatten out as a delayed result of Freedom Day.

Another 119 laboratory-confirmed deaths were also recorded today, up by around 31 per cent on the 91 victims declared last Wednesday.

But the number of people being admitted to hospital with the virus is continuing to fall. Admissions dropped 19.1 per cent to 668 on Saturday — the latest data figures are available for.

It is the fifth day in a row hospitalisations fell on the week before, in a glimmer of hope that Britain may be turning a corner in the amount of severe disease caused by the third wave. The number of infected people occupying NHS beds in England has fallen below 5,000 for the first time since July 25.

The fall in admission can be explained in part by the effect of Britain’s successful vaccine drive. Some 29,508 first doses were given out yesterday, taking the total amount of adults to have had a jab up to 46.9million — 88.7 per cent of the population.

Meanwhile, another 143,002 second doses were put in people’s arms, meaning 38.7million (73.2 per cent of adults) are now fully protected against the virus. 

It comes as ministers today confirmed 16 and 17 year olds will be offered Covid vaccines. No10’s top experts also opened the door to jabbing younger teenagers later in the year. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the Government on the vaccine roll-out, recommended that the 1.4million older teenagers should be offered the Pfizer jabs ‘as soon as possible’.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said there was ‘no time to waste’. 

Despite the slight increase in cases today the seven-day average for infections is continuing to fall, dropping 13.6 per cent today. The measure ¿ which provides a more well-rounded picture of where cases are compared to just daily figures ¿ suggests the rate at which cases are falling may be slowing, however

Despite the slight increase in cases today the seven-day average for infections is continuing to fall, dropping 13.6 per cent today. The measure — which provides a more well-rounded picture of where cases are compared to just daily figures — suggests the rate at which cases are falling may be slowing, however

A Department of Health graph shows the number of people being treated for the virus in England has fallen below 5,000 for the first time since July 25

A Department of Health graph shows the number of people being treated for the virus in England has fallen below 5,000 for the first time since July 25

16 and 17 year olds will NOT need parental consent to get Covid vaccines: 1.4million teenagers to get Pfizer jab ‘as soon as possible’ as health chiefs open door to inoculating all over-12s 

Sixteen and 17-year-olds will not need parental consent to get the Covid vaccine, health chiefs have revealed as they open the door to jabbing younger teenagers.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) today recommended that the 1.4million people in the age groups should be offered the Pfizer jabs ‘as soon as possible’ with Professor Jonathan Van-Tam saying there was ‘no time to waste’.

Ministers have accepted this advice and the NHS is now preparing to dish out their first doses at centres across the country. Officials said they expected the first to be invited for jabs in ‘a very short number of weeks’.

There are currently no plans to offer the age group second doses, but scientists are reviewing more data to understand the risks of administering the jabs.

Officials close to the programme said a child would be able to give consent for the jab if they were able to understand the risks and benefits of any medical treatment.

The JCVI is also considering vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds, but they said they will need to review more safety data before they can update their recommendation for this group.

Boris Johnson today called on families to listen to the advice from No10’s top scientists, saying that the committee was ‘among the best in the world’ and that the country should ‘take our lead from them’.

Professor Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, told a Downing Street press conference today that the first inoculations for 16 and 17-year-olds would be dished out ‘in a very short number of weeks’.

He said: ‘Children are going to start going back to colleges and sixths forms from September, and in Scotland that will be slightly earlier, so there is no time to waste in getting on with this.

‘The NHS has been kept informed of what is being deliberated for JCVI, it has been preparing for multiple options for very many weeks now and I would expect this programme will start in a very short number of weeks.’

He added there was ‘plentiful’ supply of the vaccines to meet the top scientists recommendation that 16 and 17-year-olds should be vaccinated.

In other Covid developments today: 

  • Official figures suggested almost 80 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds already have Covid-fighting antibodies;
  • A fit and healthy 42-year-old father with a love of rock climbing and bodybuilding died of Covid after refusing the vaccine, according to his twin sister has said; 
  • Aviation bosses urged ministers to relax travel testing rules after data suggested no coronavirus ‘variants of concern’ were found in hundreds of thousands of travellers returning from amber and red list countries;  
  • Portugal got set to lift quarantine requirements for Brits jabbed with the Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine.

Despite the slight increase in cases today, the seven-day average for infections is continuing to fall, dropping 13.7 per cent.

However, the measure — which paints a clearer picture of where cases are compared to just monitoring daily figures which fluctuate heavily — suggests the rate at which cases are falling may be slowing. 

Infections are still falling in the North East and North West of England but appear to be flatlining in London, the South East, South West, East Midlands and East of England. 

However, data for regions in England lags behind the United Kingdom as a whole, so the slight increase seen across has yet to be reflected in the English numbers.

It comes after the JCVI today recommended that the 1.4million people in the age groups should be offered the Pfizer jabs ‘as soon as possible’.

Ministers have accepted this advice and the NHS is now drawing up plans to offer first doses to them in the coming weeks. There are currently no concrete plans to offer the age groups second doses, with scientists set to review more safety data before pressing ahead.

Officials close to the programme said a child would be able to give consent for the jab if they were able to understand the risks and benefits of any medical treatment.

Boris Johnson today called on families to listen to the advice from No10’s top scientists, saying that the committee was ‘among the best in the world’ and that the country should ‘take our lead from them’.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said they had accepted the advice from the scientists and were aiming to start rolling out jabs for younger age groups ‘as soon as possible’.

Many experts welcomed the move to protect people in younger age groups, but several have slammed it for being ‘too little, too late’ because young people now cannot be jabbed before the Autumn term. The return of schools in September is likely to spark another rise in cases.

Some scientists have, however, said it was ‘pointless’ to vaccinate the age groups because most of them already have immunity from past infection. Office of National Statistics figures suggest up to 60 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds already have antibodies against Covid to fight off the virus.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said there was ‘no time to waste’ in starting the extension of the vaccination programme to 16 and 17-year-olds.

He told a Downing Street press conference: ‘Children are going to start going back to colleges and sixths forms from September, and in Scotland that will be slightly earlier, so there is no time to waste in getting on with this.

‘The NHS has been kept informed of what is being deliberated for JCVI, it has been preparing for multiple options for very many weeks now and I would expect this programme will start in a very short number of weeks.’

He added there was ‘plentiful’ supply of the vaccines to meet the top scientists recommendation that 16 and 17-year-olds should be vaccinated. He said: ‘We have the supply and I’m expecting this to start in a very short number of weeks indeed.’ 

Many experts welcomed the move to protect people in younger age groups, but Independent SAGE members slammed it for being ‘too little, too late’ because young people now cannot be double-jabbed before the Autumn term. Scientists say the return of schools in September is likely to spark another rise in cases.

Some scientists have, however, called the plans into question saying it was ‘pointless’ to vaccinate the age group because they are at such low risk from the virus and most already have immunity from previous infection. Office of National Statistics figures suggest up to 60 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds already have antibodies against Covid to fight off the virus.

The JCVI, which advises No10, last month ruled only over-12s with serious underlying health conditions or who live with a vulnerable adult should get jabs. 

The panel, made up of the country’s top experts, warned the ‘minimal health benefits’ did not outweigh the risks to justify vaccinating all children. It adopted a ‘precautionary approach’ because of a rare link between the jab and a cases of heart conditions called myocarditis and pericarditis.

Officials are keen to push the immunisation drive on to more youngsters in order to prevent an autumn surge in infections when they return to schools in September.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk