A MAP shows the latest Covid hotspots with recent figures on infections fuelling fears an autumn wave is starting to get underway.
The latest figures from the ZOE Health Study reveal there are 176,090 new cases across the country, a steep rise of 72 per cent compared to the previous month.
It shows that 2,116,791 Brits are currently thought to have symptomatic Covid.
Fears have already been raised in the medical community that the upcoming cold weather could push up the number of infections further.
A sore throat is still the most common symptom, which affects two thirds of positive cases although now fever and loss of smell are much rarer, affecting less than one in six people with Covid.
Figures from NHS England also show that hospital admissions appear to be in the rise with the numbers nearly doubling in a week to a total of 7,024 in hospital with coronavirus, as of September 28.
That number though is half the 14,000 in mid-July at the peak of the wave of infections caused by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the virus.
The ZOE Health Study also suggests that, on average, uno in 32 people in the UK were likely to have symptomatic Covid-19 at the start of the week.
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The scientific co-founder of ZOE Professor Tim Spector said: “It’s clear from ZOE Health Study data that we’re now seeing an autumn wave of Covid-19, combined with increases in hospital admissions.
“We are already at rates last seen in the June wave.
“With rates on the rise, especially in the vulnerable elderly age groups, the impact on hospitalisations could be higher.
“tuttavia, the youngest age group are showing possible early signs of case numbers slowing.
“Children tend to be a leader of infection trends, so if this continues next week it is possible that the Covid wave might not be as bad as previously predicted.”
All'inizio di questa settimana, the UK Health Safety Authority (UKHSA) urged the 30million people eligible for a free influenza and Covid booster to take it up to avoid overpowering the NHS.
Prof Spector added: “We are likely to be hit with a combination of viruses.
“With the increase in colds and rhinovirus, as well as Covid-19, and the likelihood of a major seasonal flu epidemic, it’s especially important to keep vulnerable people properly protected.
“I advise everyone eligible to get the latest autumn Covid-19 booster as well as the flu jab to provide protection from serious illness and hospitalisation, and to avoid poorly ventilated areas without FFP mask protection.”
Over the past week, Covid cases rose by 14 per cent last week, marking the second increase in a row.
A total of 1.1million Brits had the bug, dal 930,000 seven days earlier.
England and Wales are driving the surge and the number of patients in hospital is also on the up.
The Top 10 worst areas for the number of Covid cases
· Derbyshire – 50,655
· Leeds – 45,138
· Glasgow City – 44,831
· Essex – 40,240
· Cambridgeshire – 37,920
· Worcestershire – 37,449
· Manchester – 32,729
· Hertfordshire – 31,284
· Kirklees – 24,662
· Lancashire – 21,435
Experts say a new wave has started but the Office for National Statistics said it is “too early” to say.
Saffron Cordery, chief of NHS Providers, disse: “A rise in Covid infections and more than 7,000 people in hospital with the virus is putting more pressure on the NHS.
“The virus is still a danger.
“Our message is for everyone offered a Covid booster or flu vaccine to get jabbed.”
Infections peaked at 3.8million in a week during the summer wave, compared to 4.9million in the spring.
They are now above 1million for the first time in a month and rising faster than any time since July.
Health chiefs hope each wave will be smaller than the last as immunity builds up – but they fear winter is the riskiest time of year with the flu threat also rising.
THREAT FROM FLU
Experts are also concerned about the spread of flu this winter, as fewer people have built up the necessary immunity to it after a few winters socialising less due to the pandemic.
The NHS guidance suggests that all over-50s should be offered a further dose of the Covid-19 booster and a flu vaccine this autumn, as these people are deemed to be the most at risk.
Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at UKHSA, disse: “Flu and Covid-19 are unpredictable but there are strong indications we could be facing the threat of widely circulating flu, lower levels of natural immunity due to less exposure over the last three winters and an increase in Covid-19 circulating with lots of variants that can evade the immune response.
“This combination poses a serious risk to our health, particularly those in high-risk groups.
“The H3N2 flu strain can cause particularly severe illness.
“If you are elderly or vulnerable because of other conditions you are at greater risk, so getting the flu jab is a sensible, potentially life-saving thing to do.”
Those eligible for a Covid booster and a flu vaccine this year also include unpaid carers, residents of older adult care homes, health and social care staff and household contacts of people with weakened immune systems.
Charity director of Age UK Caroline Abrahams said: “Speaking as someone who has already had the double jab, because my GP surgery was in the vanguard, my advice to older people is please do take up the offer of the Covid-19 booster and a flu jab when it comes your way.
“Millions of older people took the opportunity of having the spring booster, so we are urging everyone to do the same this autumn.
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“It’s perfectly safe to have them together, and often more convenient too – I chose to do it that way so I wouldn’t have to go back. tuttavia, you are offered the choice of having them singly or together when you attend.
“Così, whenever you are called for vaccination please do accept – you’ll be doing yourself some good and helping to protect everyone else you come into contact with too.”