Britain’s daily Covid cases have fallen week-on-week for the seventh day in a row, according to official figures that add fresh hope that the third wave may be behind the country.
Department of Health bosses posted 27,734 positive tests today, down 37 per cent on last week’s figure of 44,104.
However, the downturn in infections is still yet to be reflected in hospitalisation numbers, which lag behind cases by around a fortnight. Another 825 Covid admissions were recorded on Saturday — the latest date UK-wide data is available for. It was 17 per cent higher than the figure the previous week.
But there are promising signs the rate of growth in hospitalisations is beginning to slow and top scientists believe numbers may even start to fall next week, mirroring a trend seen in Scotland.
Meanwhile, 91 deaths were recorded today, up by a quarter on last week’s 73. Deaths lag even further behind the hospitalisation statistics, meaning fatalities will be the last measure to eventually level off.
With infection statistics now pointing in the right direction, one senior Government minister last night claimed the coronavirus’s grip on the UK is ‘all over bar the shouting’. Even notoriously gloomy SAGE advisers believe the worst of the pandemic is now over.
In another glimmer of hope, separate Department of Health data analysed by MailOnline revealed infection rates are now ticking downwards in every age group in England.
Experts said it was a ‘very good’ sign because it adds to mounting evidence that the third wave is in retreat. But they cautioned more data was needed before they could be certain the drop is permanent, and cases won’t tick up again following July 19 ‘Freedom Day’.
This graph shows the daily percentage change in the seven-day Covid infection rate per 100,000 people split by age group. It reveals infections are falling fastest among young adults in their 20s (orange) by 15 per cent. Cases among 20 to 24 year olds fell from 1,091 per 100,000 on average on July 21, to 922.7 per 100,000 on July 22. But infections are dropping in all age groups. Among those in their early 80s (pale orange) they fell by 3.2 per cent from 74.9 per 100,000 on July 21 to 72.5 per 100,000 on July 22
This graph shows the seven-day Covid infection rate by age group since the start of June. It reveals cases are dipping in all age groups including older adults. It is difficult to see some lines bending downwards on the graph because of the different infection rates between age groups. Those aged 15 to 19 had the most cases (green) followed by 20 to 24 year olds (orange)
Britain is open for business! Quarantine rules are set to be DROPPED for fully-vaccinated travellers from the EU and America as well as ex-pats who had jabs abroad
Fully-vaccinated travellers from the EU and US are set to be spared quarantine after ministers signed off an exemption today.
The powerful ‘Covid O’ group is understood to have agreed that the self-isolation requirements can be dropped for some of the UK’s major trading partners.
Ex-pats who have received jabs abroad are also set to benefit from the dispensation, which takes effect from 4am Monday.
All will still need to get tests in a bid to reduce the risk that they are infected.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy.
‘We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours.’
However, there is no reciprocal arrangement with the US, which still has an almost blanket ban on Britons visiting.
As the country waits anxiously for the next phase of the pandemic:
- It was revealed fully-vaccinated travellers from the EU and US are set to be spared quarantine after ministers signed off an exemption;
- Official data suggested Covid survivors who get reinfected have lower viral loads and are less likely to suffer symptoms;
- Angry Britons vowed to continue flying to Spain despite facing 10 days quarantine if the country is put on the ‘amber plus’ list;
- The International Monetary Fund upgraded its forecasts to predict the UK economy would bounce back with 7 per cent growth this year;
- Boris Johnson slapped down Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove for branding vaccine refusers ‘selfish’ and warning they could be barred from venues;
- The Department of Health admitted daily testing was just as effective as self-isolation;
- New figures revealed a record 1.13million children were off school in the final week of term because of self-isolation rules;
- Leaked Covid hospitalisation figures suggested almost half of patients tested positive only after being admitted;
- Cruise getaways are set to be back on from August after No10 gives green light to plans.
Department of Health figures today show while hospital admissions across the UK are still rising week-on-week, their rate of growth is slowing down.
Data shows the week-on-week percentage change — which measures how quickly hospitalisations are going up — has fallen every day for a week.
It stood at 32 per cent on July 18, falling to 23.6 per cent on July 24.
Several members of SAGE, No10’s scientific advisory panel, have claimed a fall in Covid admissions would mark the beginning of the end of the third wave.
But Professor Mike Tildesley, a modeller at the University of Warwick, today said the pandemic isn’t all over ‘quite yet’, and warned the effects of ‘Freedom Day’ are still yet to be seen in the data.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson today said it was ‘too early’ to draw conclusions about the fall in the number of people testing positive for the virus.
Separate data today revealed Scotland’s Covid hospitalisations are now falling in line with cases, raising hopes that England could soon follow suit.
Experts say one of the factors behind the drop in England is that people are no longer meeting up in large groups to watch the national team’s games in Euro 2020 tournament.
Cases rose quickest in men and young people during and following the tournament but began to drop in Scotland around eight days after the team were knocked out in the group stages by Croatia.
And likewise, England’s declining cases began on July 19 — eight days after the Three Lions lost on penalties in an historic final against Italy.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, claimed it was ‘reasonable’ to expect England to follow a similar timescale to Scotland in terms of its fall in admissions as well — which would see hospitalisations drop by the end of the week.
He told MailOnline that while England may not see admissions fall on the ‘exact same day’ after their Euros exit as Scotland did, hospitalisations have already begun slowing.
Professor Hunter said: ‘I think it reasonable to assume that sometime in the next few days we may start to see a fall in new hospitalisations, maybe not the exact same day [as Scotland did after the Euros].
‘In fact if you look at the rate of increase in England admissions, it does look like the epidemic of admissions is slowing.
‘Data on hospital admissions are often somewhat delayed before publication and Scotland’s especially can be delayed for almost a full week.
‘Of course whether such a fall is sustained after the effect of Freedom Day works its way into the system is still the big question. We will know at the weekend.’
Scotland’s Covid hospital admissions have begun to fall around 10 days after cases fell. Experts say it is ‘reasonable’ to expect the same to occur in England, with the nation’s downturn in infections delayed compared to Scotland due to its sustained run in Euro 2020
England has seen Covid infections (red) fall for the last seven days but has yet to see the trend in its hospital admissions, which usually follow by around 10 days. Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline while England may not see admissions (blue) fall on the ‘exact same day’ after their Euros exit as Scotland did, hospitalisations have already begun slowing
Scientists say the drop off in Covid cases could be caused by schools closing, recent warm weather and Euro 2020 boosting immunity in young people. Graph shows: The drop off in infections in England after the end of Euro 2020. There were signs in early June that cases were falling but during the tournament there was a sustained increased in infections. Experts including Professor Paul Hunter accurately predicted infections would drop off around eight days after the final — because that is around the time it takes for the effects of increased social mixing to wear off on case numbers
EAST OF ENGLAND: Hospital admissions are still rising in the East of England but at a slow rate as of the most recent data
LONDON: Admissions in London were at 130 on July 25, down from 141 three days before as hospitalisations start to round off in the capital
MIDLANDS: Hospitalisations are also starting to round off in the Midlands, down to 133 on July 25 compared to 146 on July 21
NORTH EAST AND YORKSHIRE: The North East and Yorkshire has seen one of the highest upticks in admissions this summer and hospitalisations appear to be continuing to rise
NORTH WEST: Admissions are relatively flat in the North West, with 123 patients admitted on July 25 compared to 151 on July 19
SOUTH EAST: Hospitalisations are still rising but at a slow rate in the South East, which recorded 79 admissions on July 25
SOUTH WEST: Admissions did appear to be falling in the South West other than an on July 25 — the most recent date data goes up to— when there were 83 hospitalisations
Covid cases are now falling in EVERY age group in England: Experts hail promising infection data
Coronavirus cases are now falling across all age groups, according to official data which boosts hopes that the end of England’s third wave may now be in sight.
Top scientists advising the Government warned it was ‘almost inevitable’ daily infections would spiral to 100,000 next month, with one even warning they could reach double this figure.
But in an unexpected twist which has puzzled scientists, cases have actually fallen every day for the past week — with yesterday’s count being just half of what it was a week ago.
Department of Health data today revealed that infection rates are now ticking downwards in every age group in England, dipping fastest among twenty-somethings.
Experts said the downturn in cases was a ‘very good’ sign because it adds to mounting evidence that the third wave is in retreat. But they cautioned more data was needed before they could be certain the drop is permanent, and cases won’t tick up again following July 19 ‘Freedom Day’.
Dr Jonathan Stoye, a virologist at the Francis Crick Institute, said the drop in Covid cases in all age groups was ‘very good’.
He told MailOnline: ‘But the key thing will be to wait until Friday when we will get the next round of results from the ONS (Britain’s largest Covid surveillance study).
‘One would predict it may be less sensitive to changes in the populations being tested, for example those resulting from school closures, than the Department of Health figures.
‘If the two measures are going in the same direction we would seem to be in a good place… unless, of course, the unlocking of July 19 causes a reversal.’
Department of Health data showed Covid cases were falling fastest among adults in their twenties last week, down by 15 per cent for the week ending July 22 compared to the day before.
But among older adults the decline was more gradual, suggesting cases were only just starting to drop in the age group. Infection rates dropped by just one per cent in adults in their late 80s.
Scotland’s Covid admissions — based on the seven-day average — began falling on July 10, when they peaked at 87 per day.
It occurred a full 18 days after the national team left the Euros on June 22 and ten days after infections started to fall.
The country’s cases peaked at almost 4,000 on June 30. Government data also shows.
England’s cases have already followed the same trend, with the number of positive tests declining after the national team lost in the Euros.
If the country’s admissions follow the same trend, they would be likely to peak by the end of the week.
Despite being on the rise with more than 800 infected people still needing hospital treatment every day, Covid admissions already appear to be slowing down across England.
Admission growth rates in England went from 37.9 per cent on June 15 to 23.1 per cent on June 22.
Only the North East and Yorkshire — the country’s current Covid hotspot — still has admissions that are rising at pace.
Questions remain as to whether the current decline in cases will continue or if they will tick up again once testing increases after people have been on their summer holidays, the weather takes a turn and children return to the classrooms in September.
But experts say a fall in admissions could be the clearest sign yet that the third wave is beginning to end and was not as big as was expected.
SAGE models released a week before ‘Freedom Day’ predicted infections could reach as high as 200,000 in a worst case scenario.
Speaking on Times Radio this morning, Professor Tildesley said: ‘Because schools in England closed last week, we haven’t got secondary school pupils doing regular lateral flow testing and so we’re not necessarily detecting as many cases in younger people.
‘It’s also been suggested by some that, possibly, because of a high number of cases, because of the summer holidays approaching, people might be less willing to ‘step up’ to testing when they have symptoms.
‘What we really need to do is monitor hospital admissions, because at the moment of course they’re still going up – now, of course there is a lag when cases go down, it always takes a couple of weeks before hospital admissions turn around.
‘But if we start to see as we get into August, if we start to see hospital admissions going down as well then I think we would have much stronger evidence to suggest that this third wave is starting to turn around.’
And yesterday Professor Graham Medley, chair of SAGE’s modelling group Spi-M, told MailOnline: ‘The current fall in cases is a bit puzzling, so there probably isn’t a simple explanation.
‘If infections were falling because of immunity, then it would not happen everywhere at the same time.
‘The only thing that happened everywhere in England at the same time was the football. We have also been vaccinating younger people in the past few weeks, and vaccination takes some time to develop immunity.
‘There is a changing in testing behaviour — although the number of positive tests has fallen, the proportion of tests that are positive has remained quite high.
He added: ‘The “pingdemic” meant a lot of people isolating, and you can’t get infected if you are isolating so a side effect of the “pingdemic” might be to reduce infection rates.
‘We will see in the coming days if hospital admissions start to fall. If they do, then it does suggest that we have got over this wave, which turned out to be quite small.
‘This doesn’t mean that we will not see more waves, but it is very encouraging.’