Britain’s daily Covid cases rise again by nearly a fifth in a week and deaths climb 10%

Britain’s Covid crisis appears to be growing again as daily cases increased week-on-week for the fourth day running amid fears of a delayed back to school surge.

Department of Health bosses posted 31,564 new coronavirus infections today, up 18.5 per cent on the 26,628 recorded last Tuesday.

Cases had been falling for the nine days prior to Saturday, suggesting the UK may finally be seeing the effect of the return to schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland at the start of the month. Experts warned that classrooms reopening would cause a sharp uptick in infections. 

Deaths also increased today, with the number of people dying within 28 days of testing positive for the virus increasing to 203. This was up 9.7 per cent of last Tuesday’s 185.

But Covid hospital admissions are continuing to fall, with 861 new patients recorded last Thursday — the latest date data is available for — down 25 per cent on the previous week. 

It was the sixth day in a row hospitalisations fell week-on-week but admission figures tend to follow trends in cases more than a week after any changes.

Both hospital and death data lag behind trends in cases by a few weeks due to the time it takes to fall seriously ill with the virus. 

Separate figures show more than 122,000 children in England were out of school for Covid-related reasons last week, either because they tested positive for the virus or were in close contact with someone who had.

Health chiefs last week signed off on plans to start vaccinating children against the virus to prevent further disruptions to education, despite admitting the direct benefit of vaccination to their health was ‘marginal’.

ENGLAND: Cases appear to be relatively flat in England despite schools reopening at the start of the month but the data for the four nations of the UK is slightly behind that for the UK in total

ENGLAND: Cases appear to be relatively flat in England despite schools reopening at the start of the month but the data for the four nations of the UK is slightly behind that for the UK in total

ENGLAND: Cases appear to be relatively flat in England despite schools reopening at the start of the month but the data for the four nations of the UK is slightly behind that for the UK in total

SCOTLAND: Infections are continuing drop massively in Scotland after peaking shortly after schools reopened slightly earlier in the country

SCOTLAND: Infections are continuing drop massively in Scotland after peaking shortly after schools reopened slightly earlier in the country

SCOTLAND: Infections are continuing drop massively in Scotland after peaking shortly after schools reopened slightly earlier in the country 

WALES: Cases have picked up again in Wales after briefly dropping off

WALES: Cases have picked up again in Wales after briefly dropping off

NORTHERN IRELAND: Infections continue to trend down in Northern Ireland

NORTHERN IRELAND: Infections continue to trend down in Northern Ireland

WALES (left) AND NORTHERN IRELAND (right): Cases have picked up again in Wales after briefly dropping off, while they continue to trend down in Northern Ireland

Tories slam No10 over ‘perverse’ move to give over-12s Covid vaccines 

Tories today slammed the ‘perverse’ decision to extend the Covid vaccine rollout to children as young as 12.

In the first parliamentary debate about the controversial expansion of the jab drive, Conservative MPs said it did not make sense now that Britain was ‘through the worst of the pandemic’.

They questioned the move to leave the final say on vaccination with children, if they are deemed competent enough, given that experts are torn on the health benefits and ethics.

Britain began inoculating healthy secondary school-aged children with a single dose of Pfizer‘s vaccine for the first time yesterday.

It did so despite originally not getting the blessing from No10’s vaccines advisory panel, which said the health benefit to youngsters was ‘marginal’. 

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) left the decision to Chris Whitty and the chief medical officers in the devolved nations. They signed off on the plans on the basis that it could prevent hundreds of thousands of school absences.

Bolton West MP Chris Green said in the Commons: ‘In many ways we can objectively say we are through the worst of the pandemic and yet the more draconian or authoritarian measures are being introduced at this stage. It’s perverse.’ 

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It comes as:

  • A study suggested an extra 10,000 people are likely to die of cancer because of the Covid pandemic;
  • America’s top Covid doctor today suggested Britons vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab will be allowed into the US when travel restrictions are eased this autumn;
  • Tories today slammed the ‘perverse’ decision to extend the Covid vaccine rollout to children as young as 12; 
  • Top doctors today fought back against calls for face-to-face GP appointments to become the default again, claiming that it was ‘undeliverable’.

Government data up to September 20 shows that of the 93,130,275 Covid jabs given in the UK, 48,617,703 were first doses, a rise of 24,684 on the previous day. 

Some 44,512,572 were second doses, an increase of 46,451. 

No figures on booster doses have yet been given, which started being dished out last week.

There were signs that the trend of the epidemic was starting to change over the weekend as cases crept up by around two per cent following a week of sustained decline. 

Figures from the Government’s Covid dashboard for England yesterday showed that case numbers fell in every age group in the past week except children between five and 14. 

Experts had for weeks warned that the return of schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland at the start of the month could trigger a fresh wave of infections. 

Scotland saw a meteoric rise in cases almost immediately when education resumed in the middle of August, but the rest of the country looked to have avoided a surge.

The Government’s scientific advisory group has also warned that a sudden end to working from home could trigger a new spike in cases this autumn. 

Meanwhile, the ONS data showed only dementia (4,417) and heart disease (3,982) killed more people last month. 

It means Covid has now reached its highest rank for monthly fatalities since March, when the brutal second wave was receding. 

There were 40,460 deaths from all causes in England last month, a tenth more than the five-year average for the final month of summer. Covid was behind 5.3 per cent of the fatalities.

A separate ONS report published today found coronavirus deaths surged by almost a third over the second week of September. The virus was mentioned on 857 death certificates in the week to September 10, up from 659 in the previous seven-day spell. 

The above graph shows Covid's rank in terms of deaths triggered in England since July last year. It reveals that the virus surged to number one between November and February during the second wave. It is now rising again, and was the third leading cause of death in August

The above graph shows Covid's rank in terms of deaths triggered in England since July last year. It reveals that the virus surged to number one between November and February during the second wave. It is now rising again, and was the third leading cause of death in August

The above graph shows Covid’s rank in terms of deaths triggered in England since July last year. It reveals that the virus surged to number one between November and February during the second wave. It is now rising again, and was the third leading cause of death in August

Covid has become the third leading cause of death in England, official figures showed today. They revealed that over August there were 2,162 deaths mentioning the virus. Only dementia (4,417 deaths) and heart disease (3,982) sparked more deaths. There were 2,150 deaths due to lung cancer

Covid has become the third leading cause of death in England, official figures showed today. They revealed that over August there were 2,162 deaths mentioning the virus. Only dementia (4,417 deaths) and heart disease (3,982) sparked more deaths. There were 2,150 deaths due to lung cancer

Covid has become the third leading cause of death in England, official figures showed today. They revealed that over August there were 2,162 deaths mentioning the virus. Only dementia (4,417 deaths) and heart disease (3,982) sparked more deaths. There were 2,150 deaths due to lung cancer

The Office for National Statistics released a separate report today showing weekly deaths due to Covid had risen by almost a third in a week. They said there were 857 deaths that mentioned the virus, but pointed out the sharp rise is likely due to the bank holiday at the start of September, which delayed reporting of figures

Up to March 2020, around 80 per cent of all appointments across England were in-person, but this dropped to 46.8 per cent last April and has not risen above 57 per cent since

Up to March 2020, around 80 per cent of all appointments across England were in-person, but this dropped to 46.8 per cent last April and has not risen above 57 per cent since

Up to March 2020, around 80 per cent of all appointments across England were in-person, but this dropped to 46.8 per cent last April and has not risen above 57 per cent since

Extra 10,000 Britons may die of cancer due to Covid pandemic delays fuelled by a drop in emergency referrals from GPs, report warns

An extra 10,000 people are likely to die of cancer because of the Covid pandemic, a study has suggested.

University College London researchers said a drop in emergency referrals from GPs last year across the UK resulted in around 40,000 late diagnoses of the disease.

These delays and longer waits for NHS treatment — fuelled by the pandemic — mean thousands will die ‘significantly earlier’ from the disease than would have been the case pre-pandemic.

The study of more than 2,000 adults found nearly two thirds of people worried about bothering family doctors with ‘minor health problems’ because of Covid. 

And during the first lockdown last year, the NHS moved GP appointments to online and telephone to limit face-to-face consultations. No10’s ‘stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’ messaging put people off coming forward, meaning their symptoms were never investigated.  

It comes after Boris Johnson yesterday piled pressure on GPs to offer more face-to-face consultations amid concerns too many patients are struggling to see a doctor in-person. 

Just 57 per cent of GP appointments are now in person compared with 80 per cent before the pandemic. 

A senior coroner in Manchester earlier this month concluded a lack of face-to-face care contributed to at least five deaths in the area during the pandemic.

Downing Street said last night: ‘The public rightly may choose to want to see their GP face to face — and GP practices should be making that facility available to their patients.’

Charities and politicians are urging the Prime Minister to act amid fears that cancers and other serious health conditions are being missed in remote consultations.

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But the Government agency said the surge was skewed by the August bank holiday, which saw fewer registrations in the previous week. But there was a slight uptick in reported deaths over the time frame.

It comes amid fears Britain’s Covid cases may be starting to rise again, in a sign the predicted wave of infections following the return of schools and workers back to the office may be beginning to materialise. 

If the upwards trend in cases is genuine, hospitalisations and deaths are likely to follow suit in the coming weeks.

Boris Johnson last week unveiled his winter plan to try to keep the virus at bay in the colder months and prevent the country from returning to another lockdown. 

Ministers hope booster vaccines for over-50s and jabbing over-12s will help to keep a lid on Covid and stop the NHS facing unsustainable pressure.

The ONS report showed there were a further 294 deaths in August that mentioned Covid, but did not record it as the underlying cause of death.

This means that, overall, there were 2,456 death certificates that included the virus, or six per cent of the total number of fatalities.

The North West recorded the highest number of fatalities due to Covid (376) last month, followed by London (320) and Yorkshire and the Humber (300).

On the other hand, the South West recorded the fewest number of Covid deaths (148), followed by the East of England (167) and the North East (171).

Every region recorded more Covid deaths in August compared to the previous month.

In Wales there were 70 deaths due to Covid recorded in August, which was more than double the 33 recorded in the previous month.

Covid was also the seventh leading cause of death in nation, up from the 22nd place in the previous month.

Separate weekly data showed Covid deaths had surged by almost a third week-on-week, but the ONS said this was likely down to the bank holiday on August 30 which will have affected the number of registrations. 

Around one in 13 (7.8 per cent) of all deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to September 10 mentioned Covid on the death certificate.

Some 120 care home resident deaths involving Covid in England and Wales were registered in the week to September 10, up from 89 the previous week. 

In total, 43,156 care home residents in England and Wales have had Covid recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

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