Health

Britain’s Covid cases rise by 10% in a week to 34,526

Britain’s daily Covid cases have risen by 9.4 per cent in a week but deaths and hospitalisations have both fallen by around a fifth, today’s official statistics show.

Some 34,526 positive tests were recorded across the UK, up from 31,564 last Monday, according to the Department of Health data. It is the eleventh day in a row that infections have increased week-on-week.

Another 167 Covid deaths were recorded, down by 17.7 per cent compared to the 203 fatalities recorded one week earlier.  

And hospitalisation data shows 706 infected people came forward for NHS care on Friday, a drop of 18 per cent drop on the 741 reported on September 17.

Both measures lag several weeks behind cases because of how long it can take for infected patients to become seriously ill. 

The rising number of cases come amid fears Britain could be on the cusp of a fourth wave, with data suggesting that cases have started to spill over from children to their parents. 

No10’s top scientists have always warned another wave of infections would strike this autumn following millions of pupils returning to classrooms.  

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published data today which showed the UK breached 1,000 in mid-September for the first time since March.  

Britain's Covid cases rise by 10% in a week to 34,526

Britain's Covid cases rise by 10% in a week to 34,526

Britain's Covid cases rise by 10% in a week to 34,526

It comes as:

  • No10 admits vaccine passports may be required in nightclubs and sports grounds this winter under Covid ‘Plan B’ if NHS hospitals struggle to cope;
  • Experts warn petrol crisis may trigger spike in Covid cases if commuters give up on driving to work and pour back onto trains and buses because they can’t get any fuel;
  • NHS boss issues warning to parents over hoax Covid vaccine consent form circulating in schools which claims jab may cause blindness.

The coronavirus contributed to 1,049 fatalities in the seven days leading up to September 17, up 5 per cent on the previous week, its report revealed.

Meanwhile, 48.7million Britons aged over 16 have had at least one dose of the vaccine (89.7 per cent), while 44.7million are double-jabbed (82.4 per cent).

The figures come amid uncertainty about how the pandemic will play out for the remainder of the year. 

Vaccine passports move another step closer in England

England today moved one step closer to having to use Covid vaccine passports after No10 confirmed venues will be told to implement the highly-controversial measure if the NHS comes under ‘unsustainable pressure’ this autumn or winter. 

Ministers dramatically ditched plans to adopt certification rules for nightclubs and other major venues following a huge Tory outcry earlier this month.

But in unveiling his winter plan to fight off another surge in infections, Boris Johnson admitted restrictions such as vaccine passports would be ‘kept in reserve’.

Now the Government has confirmed passports will still form part of its ‘Plan B’.

Vaccine certificates will be required for people attending nightclubs, music venues, festivals and sports grounds, in the event of a fourth wave overwhelming the NHS.

Plan A — the country’s first line of defence — banks on dishing out booster vaccines to protect the vulnerable and jabbing children.

Plan B — which ministers hope will be enough to stop the country from succumbing to another full-blown lockdown — also includes re-enforcing face masks indoors and work from home guidance. 

Proposals published by the Department of Health have now revealed more details of the passport scheme, and warn it could be implemented ‘at short notice in response to concerning data’.  

Health Minister Maggie Throup argued the vaccine rollout has ’tilted the odds in our favour’, but said the Government must be ‘prepared for all scenarios’.

Scotland already announced vaccine passports would be mandatory for over-18s in crowded settings from October 1. But plans for the measures in England were halted following backlash from Tory MPs, who called them ‘coercive and discriminatory’.

The high uptake of the Covid injections, together with booster jabs and vaccines for children is expected to slightly suppress infections and squash hospitalisations and deaths.

But experts do not know whether these measures will be sufficient to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed. 

The ONS data today showed Covid fatalities reached the highest weekly toll since the week ending March 12 (1,637), when the devastating second wave was beginning to recede. 

The figure includes any fatalities with Covid mentioned on the death certificate, including cases where it was not the main cause of death.

Meanwhile, official data also revealed more than 70,000 extra deaths have occurred at home in both England and Wales since pandemic began.

Despite the slight uptick in Covid deaths for the UK as a whole, the number of fatalities registered dipped slightly in England and Wales (851). But this was skewed by last week’s count (857), which was higher than usual due to a lag in registering deaths on the August bank holiday, which fell in the previous seven-day spell.

The UK-wide rise was fuelled by Scotland, which saw the number of deaths rise by 80 per cent. It suffered an explosion of Covid cases following the return of schools in mid-August.

Deaths lag behind cases by several weeks because of the time it takes for someone to become seriously unwell after they catch the virus. 

The rest of the UK didn’t send pupils back until the start of September. But separate data now suggests that the reopening of classrooms in England may have finally triggered another Covid wave. 

Department of Health shows infection rates have been rising among youngsters for a fortnight, fuelled by children returning to classrooms at the start of the month. But rates are trending upwards in 35 to 39-year-olds, 40 to 44-year-olds and 45 to 50-year-olds, suggesting that children may have taken the virus home to their parents. 

SAGE, the Government’s scientific advisers had always warned a fourth wave was inevitable, but when the country will see a peak in infections, hospitalisations and deaths and how high the numbers will go is unclear.

But the success of the vaccine rollout is expected to suppress a fresh wave, with experts insisting that the UK is in a much better position than it was last winter. 

Ministers have vowed not to implement tougher restrictions — such as the return of face masks indoors and work from home guidance — unless the NHS comes under unmanageable pressure.

Weekly Covid deaths in the UK breached 1,000 for the first time since March, data from the Office for National Statistics shows. The virus contributed to 1,049 across the four nations in the seven days leading up to September 17, the highest number in six months and 5.3 per cent more than last week

Weekly Covid deaths in the UK breached 1,000 for the first time since March, data from the Office for National Statistics shows. The virus contributed to 1,049 across the four nations in the seven days leading up to September 17, the highest number in six months and 5.3 per cent more than last week

More than 70,000 extra deaths at home in England and Wales since pandemic began 

More than 70,000 extra deaths have taken place in private homes in England and Wales since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, new analysis shows.

Extra deaths – known as ‘excess deaths’ – are the number of deaths above the average for the corresponding period in the non-pandemic years of 2015-19.

A total of 70,602 excess deaths in homes in England and Wales were registered between March 7 2020 and September 17 2021, according to PA news agency analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Of this number, just 8,423 – or 12 per cent – were deaths that involved Covid.

The figures show there are still many more people than normal who are dying in their own homes.

Deaths in private homes have been consistently well above the 2015-19 average since April 2020.

Even during recent months, when almost all lockdown restrictions have been eased across the country, excess deaths in homes have typically been running at between 700 and 900 a week.

More than 8,200 excess deaths in private homes have been registered in England and Wales since the start of July.

This compares with around 2,300 excess deaths in hospitals and nearly 1,000 in care homes over the same period.

The UK-wide figure from the ONS is the first time Covid deaths have breached 1,000 since the week ending March 19, when the virus was mentioned on 1,046 death certificates, accounting for nine per cent of all deaths.   

One week before the most recent figures, in the seven days up to September 10, medics linked 996 of the UK’s 12,527 deaths with the virus (eight per cent).

The data shows Covid deaths recorded in the UK have increased for the 14th consecutive week, after dropping to 93 in the seven days up to June 11.  

But the proportion of death certificates that mentioned Covid was the lowest in England at 7.6 per cent (783 Covid deaths). 

Meanwhile, 9.9 per cent of all deaths in Wales were lined with the virus (66 deaths), while the figure was highest in Northern Ireland, at 16.8 per cent (63 deaths), and Scotland (10.7 per cent, 135 deaths).

The vast majority of coronavirus deaths occurred in the over-65s (80.6 per cent), and fewer than 30 were recorded among under-45s.  

Scotland experienced record-high infection rates earlier this month after schools returned. Cases peaked at 7,523 on September 2, but have fallen sharply since then. 

The most recent complete daily data for September 22 show the country recorded just 3,486 infections – less than half the levels seen at the beginning of the month.

And 70,602 extra deaths occurred at home in England and Wales since the pandemic began, ONS data revealed. 

Of this number, just 8,423 – or 12 per cent – were deaths that involved Covid.

Even during recent months, when almost all lockdown restrictions have been eased across the country, excess deaths in homes have typically been running at between 700 and 900 a week.

It comes after MailOnline analysis yesterday revealed a fourth wave may be underway, as Covid-infected school-aged children begin to transmit the virus on to their parents. 

Some 136,208 people have died within 28 days of a positive test, according to Department of Health data.

But weekly deaths are still well below levels seen at the peak of the first and second waves. 

Experts had always warned of a fresh wave after the return of schools, where the majority are not vaccinated. In the worst-hit parts of the country, up to one in 24 children tested positive last week alone.

Scientists said the rise in adults might also be the result of millions more Britons returning to offices this month, following the end of work from home guidance.

Professor Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at The Open University, noted that the ‘picture isn’t consistent across the whole UK’ and trends look ‘rather worse in Scotland’. 

The graphs show the number of deaths registered in England and Wales each week from December 28 to September 27 (dark blue line) compared to the five year average (dotted light blue line)

The graphs show the number of deaths registered in England and Wales each week from December 28 to September 27 (dark blue line) compared to the five year average (dotted light blue line)

The graphic shows the total weekly deaths from all causes in England and Wales from December 28 to September 17. The green bars are deaths that did not involve Covid, while the blue bars are deaths linked with the virus

The graphic shows the total weekly deaths from all causes in England and Wales from December 28 to September 17. The green bars are deaths that did not involve Covid, while the blue bars are deaths linked with the virus

Britain's Covid cases rise by 10% in a week to 34,526

The above graph shows Covid infection rates in different age groups per 100,000 people. They are calculated as rates per week to allow for comparisons. Data showed 10 to 14-year-olds (yellow) had the highest infection rate over the week to September 21, the latest available, followed by 15 to 19-year-olds (green) and 5 to 9-year-olds (red)

Britain's Covid cases rise by 10% in a week to 34,526

The above graph shows the week-on-week percentage change in Covid infection rates by age group. It reveals that cases are spiralling fastest among 10 to 14-year-olds (yellow) and 15 to 19-year-olds (red). Cases have also risen by 13 per cent in a week among 40 to 44-year-olds (yellow), 45 to 49-year-olds (green) and 15 to 19-year-olds (dark green). There was a slight rise in cases week-on-week among 0 to 4-year-olds (black) and 5 to 9-year-olds (light red)

He said: ‘In Scotland, the number of Covid-related registrations in the latest week was 135, which is considerably more than the previous week’s figure of 78 – an increase of 73 per cent, or 57 death registrations, in a week. 

‘So trends do look rather worse in Scotland, on these registration figures, than in the other UK countries. 

‘However, the actual level of deaths involving Covid, compared to deaths from other causes, is more concerning in Northern Ireland than in Scotland.’

In Northern Ireland, around one in six death registrations mentioned Covid, which is ‘quite a lot more’ than comparable figures for the other nations –  one in nine in Scotland, one in 10 in Wales and one in 13 in England.

But official daily figures show ‘signs of a slow decrease in numbers of deaths since the latest week in the death registration figures, in all four UK countries’, which is ‘good news’, he said.

‘But we’ll have to wait to see whether that matches the death registration trends in later weeks,’ he added. 

Meanwhile, proposals from the Department of Health set out how over-18s going to certain events could be required to be fully vaccinated if the Covid figures become ‘concerning’ this autumn and winter.

Vaccine certificates will be required for people attending nightclubs, music venues, festivals and sports grounds, in the event of a fourth wave overwhelming the NHS. 

Ministers dramatically ditched plans to adopt certification rules for nightclubs and other major venues following a huge Tory outcry earlier this month.

But in unveiling his winter plan to fight off another surge in infections, Boris Johnson admitted restrictions such as vaccine passports would be ‘kept in reserve’.

It comes as experts told MailOnline Britain’s petrol crisis could drive up Covid cases if commuters rush back onto buses and trains.

Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, claimed there could ‘certainly’ be a spike as a result of the fuel shortage. Other scientists said it was ‘plausible’.

Hundreds of forecourts across the country have already been run dry by panic buyers, which it’s thought may lead to a sudden clamour for public transport.

Meanwhile, parents and teachers have been warned about a hoax Covid vaccine consent form being circulated in schools and online.

The letter, which includes a fake NHS logo, contains a ‘consent checklist’ and makes a number of false assertions about the jab.

They include bogus claims that the vaccine can cause miscarriages and blindness and that it’s still deemed ‘experimental’. 

NHS England medical director for Covid immunisation Dr Jonathan Leach confirmed the document was not a legitimate NHS form.

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