Britain’s daily Covid cases spiked by 68 per cent in a week today to 27,989, but deaths triggered by the disease rose by just five per cent after 22 more victims were recorded.
The figures mark the fourth day in a row infections have surged above 20,000, and were the highest numbers since late January when the second wave was dying down.
It comes as Public Health England data showed Covid infection rates are rising in every area of the England but one, as an experts says ‘the vaccine is working’ with hospitalisations and deaths not increasing at the same speed.
Only Blackburn with Darwen — one of the original Indian ‘Delta’ variant hotspots — saw its infections rate fall in the week ending June 27.
She warned cases were rising across the country but said it was ‘encouraging’ that infections are largely concentrated in young people, who tend not to experience as severe illness or require hospital treatment.
Infections were 25 times higher in under-30s than those aged 80 or above. Those aged 20 to 29 had a rate of 424.3 per 100,000, while people aged 80 or older had a rate of 16.2 per 100,000.
Top scientists say a spike was inevitable because of the rapid spread of the Indian variant, coupled with the easing of lockdown over the past three months.
And an expert today claimed Britain’s third wave of infections will continue ‘longer than expected’ because of England’s Euro 2020 success and surging cases of mutant strain in staycation hotspots.
Professor Tim Spector, who leads Britain’s biggest Covid surveillance study, warned fans meeting to watch the Euro 2020 tournament would almost certainly be fuelling a surge in infections.
Infection rates are dropping in certain areas (shown in green), including Bedford, Luton and Bolton. But infection rates are rising the most in Darlington, Derby and Rutland
Infection rates are 25 times higher in under-30s than those aged 80 or above. Those aged 20 to 29 had a rate of 424.3 per 100,000, while people aged 80 or older had a rate of 16.2 per 100,000
Dr Doyle said: ‘Across all areas of the country cases are rising rapidly although it is encouraging to see that hospitalisations and deaths are not rising at the same rate.
‘Case rates are currently highest in younger age groups, who are less likely to be hospitalised so the vaccine is working to reduce severe disease in more vulnerable groups.
‘We continue to monitor the data closely, to ensure policy is well informed.
‘Many of us will be joining friends and family to watch England in the Euros on Saturday night, but please follow the guidelines in place to reduce the risk and enjoy the match safely — watching the game outside will always be safer than gathering indoors.’
Infection rates rose in all regions of the country. The surge in cases sped up in all areas other than the South West. Case rates per 100,000 were highest in the North East at 346.4 and lowest in the East of England (87.8).
It comes after separate data from the King’s College London‘s ZOE Covid symptom study estimated there were 25,210 new cases every day in the UK last week, up by almost a third (31 per cent) from the previous seven-day spell.
There said there was a 50 per cent increase in the number of partially or fully vaccinated people catching the virus — but in most cases their symptoms were mild and similar to a ‘bad cold’. More than 80 per cent of infections were among the unvaccinated.
King’s College London ‘s Covid symptom study estimated there were 25,210 new cases every day in the UK last week, up by almost a third (31 per cent) from the previous seven-day spell. Their figures rely on daily reports from a million Britons
Scientists working on the app also said the UK’s R rate had crept up slightly to 1.1 per 100,000 in the week to June 26 (pictured), in a sign the Covid outbreak is again growing. The red line represents the R rate
Cases are accelerating across England’s regions and rising fastest in the West Midlands (80 per cent rise in a week, green line), the South East (52 per cent, pink line) and Yorkshire and the Humber (37 per cent, red line). Professor Tim Spector, who leads the app, warned staycations and the Euros were fuelling an uptick in Covid cases
Separate data from Test and Trace today showed England’s Covid cases rose by 43 per cent last week, from 55,577 to 79,248 people testing positive for the virus in the seven days to June 23
Professor Spector called on Britons to remain ‘extra vigilant’ and continue to follow measures such as wearing face masks and social distancing to limit the spread of the virus.
‘With the summer holidays approaching, we need to remain extra vigilant and avoid unnecessary risks,’ he said. ‘Euro 2020 has the potential to spread the virus among tens of thousands of fans, so I think because of these factors we’ll continue to see high rates for longer than expected.’
The ZOE symptom study also estimated the R rate — which monitors the spread of the virus — is now 1.1 meaning the UK’s outbreak is growing. Cases are rising fastest in the West Midlands, South East and Yorkshire and the Humber, they predicted.
Separate data from Test and Trace today showed Covid cases rose by 43 per cent in England last week, after 79,248 people tested positive over the seven days to June 23. There were 55,577 cases in the previous week.
Scottish health officials linked almost 2,000 cases to the football yesterday, two-thirds of which were among fans who travelled to London to watch their team’s crunch tie with England.
The country’s cases are doubling every seven days and yesterday public health chiefs recorded 3,887 positive tests, the highest number north of the border since the pandemic began.
There are now escalating fears that England’s infection numbers will follow suit, particularly after the Three Lions qualified for the final stage of the tournament.
But hospitalisations and deaths are still flat with just one in 100 NHS beds in England occupied by virus patients compared to one in six at the start of the second wave in December.