Covid cases fell by 4% in England last week with one in 80 people infected, official data shows

England’s Covid cases fell by four per cent last week according to official estimates — but the R rate rose to between 0.9 and 1.2.

The Office for National Statistics report published today suggested 698,100 people were infected with the virus on any day in the week to August 14 — or one in 80 people — compared to 726,700 in the previous seven-day spell.

The figure is based on random swabbing of more than 100,000 Britons, which picks up on asymptomatic cases who do not come forward for a test.

The East of England was estimated to have seen its Covid cases rise last week, while they levelled off in London and the South East. Only three regions — East Midlands, West Midlands and North East — saw their infections fall.

Infections rose in middle-aged adults in the latest week but fell in teenagers and children as a result of schools closing. Rates were also down in young adults and over-70s. 

Wales was the only nation to see its outbreak grow in the latest week to one in 130 people infected with the virus, while Northern Ireland saw its cases level off to one in 150 people. Both Scotland and England saw cases fall.

Separate estimates from No10’s top scientists today suggested England’s R rate may be at 1.2, suggesting for every ten people infected with the virus they are passing it on to 12 others.  

It comes after Britain’s daily Covid cases hit their highest level for a month yesterday as hospitalisations and deaths continued to tick upwards.

Department of Health bosses posted another 36,572 positive tests — up 10.6 per cent on last week’s figure. It was the biggest 24-hour count since July 22 (39,906).

But both hospitalisations and deaths — which lag several weeks behind cases because of how long it can take for infected patients to become severely ill — are still creping upwards.

The ONS weekly report is watched closely by ministers because it can pick up asymptomatic cases, which official estimates suggest could make up about a third of infections.

Across England it suggested Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest proportion of people infected with the virus, or around one in 60 (89,600 estimated cases). 

It was followed by the North West where one in 60 were thought to be infected (117,700), and the East of England at one in 70 (85,900) and London also at one in 70 (123,700). 

UK approves Regeneron’s Covid antibody drug 

A Covid antibody cocktail drug used to treat former US President Donald Trump has been approved for UK patients.

Britain’s medical regulator gave Ronapreve the green light after finding it could prevent infection and treat patients who were already sick.

Trials showed that among patients with at least one risk factor for severe Covid, it slashed their risk of death or hospitalisation by 70 per cent.

A separate study found it dramatically reduced the risk of catching Covid, but protection only lasts for a month. Health officials will now decide who should get the drug. 

The drug is a combination of two cloned antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab (pictured)

The drug is a combination of two cloned antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab (pictured)

The drug is a combination of two cloned antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab (pictured)

However, at a cost of £2,000 per patient, it is unlikely to be rolled out widely as a preventative. Experts today called for it to be targeted at the most vulnerable Britons. 

The approved treatment is the first developed specifically to target Covid, after steroids and anti-inflammatories were repurposed to treat the virus. 

Boris Johnson said the drug will be an ‘important weapon in fighting Covid, particularly for those who are immunocompromised’. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it would be rolled out on the NHS ‘as soon as possible’.  

The treatment is not a substitute for vaccination because the protection against Covid it sparks only lasts for up to four weeks, far less time than that from jabs.

The drug — which uses two different man-made antibodies to fight the virus — is administered by injection or intravenously.  It is made by US biotech firm Regeneron and Swiss company Roche.  

 

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The West Midlands was estimated to have the smallest outbreak with one in 150 residents having Covid (38,900), behind the South East at one in 100 (85,900) and the South West at one in 95 (58,300).

When modelling the level of Covid infections among different age groups, the ONS said rates have increased for people aged between 35 to 49 years old.

But they had decreased for those in school years seven to 11, for 25 to 34-year-olds and for people aged 70 and over.

Britain is now gearing up to dish out Covid booster jabs at the start of September, in hopes of keeping immunity high in the face of future flare-ups this autumn and winter. One SAGE expert today warned the high case numbers were ‘very worrying’ and warned ‘we just don’t really know what’s going to happen’ in the coming months.

The US yesterday confirmed all over-18s would be eligible for top-up doses, and Israel — which is currently being battered by a third wave — is already offering over-60s a third jab. There are fears that the vaccines lose potency over time, which some experts have said is part of the reason why Israel is being battered currently.

But No10’s top advisers — who met yesterday to discuss the controversial topic — have yet to make a final decision on who should get the jabs, sources say. However, Mr Javid today insisted the UK was going to have a programme and it ‘will start sometime in September’. 

One member of the expert panel the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) told The Guardian: ‘The jury is still very much out on what happens.’ Another today hinted the programme would only be open to the most vulnerable adults, and said the inoculation drive could still be expanded to all over-12s.

It comes as the UK approves a Covid antibody cocktail drug used to treat former US president Donald Trump for its patients.

Britain’s medical regulator gave Ronapreve the green light after finding it could prevent infection and treat patients who were already sick.

Trials showed that among patients with at least one risk factor for severe Covid, it slashed their risk of death or hospitalisation by 70 per cent.

A separate study found it dramatically reduced the risk of catching Covid, but protection only lasts for a month. Health officials will now decide who should get the drug. 

However, at a cost of £2,000 per patient, it is unlikely to be rolled out widely as a preventative. Experts today called for it to be targeted at the most vulnerable Britons. 

The approved treatment is the first developed specifically to target Covid, after steroids and anti-inflammatories were repurposed to treat the virus. 

Boris Johnson said the drug will be an ‘important weapon in fighting Covid, particularly for those who are immunocompromised’.

The East of England was estimated to have seen its Covid cases rise last week, while they levelled off in London and the South East. Only three regions — East Midlands, West Midlands and North East — saw their infections fall

The East of England was estimated to have seen its Covid cases rise last week, while they levelled off in London and the South East. Only three regions — East Midlands, West Midlands and North East — saw their infections fall

The East of England was estimated to have seen its Covid cases rise last week, while they levelled off in London and the South East. Only three regions — East Midlands, West Midlands and North East — saw their infections fall

Adults aged 35 to 49 years old saw their Covid infection rate rise in the latest week, estimates suggested, but among school-age children, 25 to 34-year-olds and the over-70s it fell compared to the previous seven-day spell

Adults aged 35 to 49 years old saw their Covid infection rate rise in the latest week, estimates suggested, but among school-age children, 25 to 34-year-olds and the over-70s it fell compared to the previous seven-day spell

Adults aged 35 to 49 years old saw their Covid infection rate rise in the latest week, estimates suggested, but among school-age children, 25 to 34-year-olds and the over-70s it fell compared to the previous seven-day spell

Wales was the only nation to see its outbreak grow in the latest week. Cases levelled off in Northern Ireland, and decreased in England and Scotland

Wales was the only nation to see its outbreak grow in the latest week. Cases levelled off in Northern Ireland, and decreased in England and Scotland

Wales was the only nation to see its outbreak grow in the latest week. Cases levelled off in Northern Ireland, and decreased in England and Scotland

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