COVID hospital admissions shot up by half last week in a sure sign of an autumn wave.
The number of new patients in England rose to 847 per day last week, from just 574 per day the week before.
And the number of positive patients in hospital has risen by a third, para 7,024 – the highest in a month.
Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College Londres, disse: “It’s clear that we’re now seeing an autumn wave of Covid-19.
“With rates on the rise in the vulnerable elderly age groups, the impact on hospitalisations could be higher than in the June wave.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics last week showed cases are rising for the first time since July, com 928,000 across the UK.
The summer wave peaked with 14,000 Covid patients in hospital, a figure that fell by almost 10,000 by mid-September but is now rising again.
The UK Health Security Agency agreed there are signs Covid is bouncing back.
Public health director at the UKHSA, Dr Mary Ramsay, disse: “We are now seeing an increase which could signal the start of the anticipated winter wave of Covid-19.
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“Cases have started to climb and hospitalisations are increasing in the oldest age groups.
“While Covid-19 and flu can be mild infections for many, we must not forget that they can cause severe illness or even death for the most vulnerable.
“The time to boost your protection with a vaccine is now.”