Covid cases DOUBLE in week but ‘clear’ epidemic is in young & unvaccinated

COVID cases have more than doubled in one week as a growing epidemic in the young and unvaccinated becomes clearer.

It is estimated there are currently 11,908 new cases every day compared to 5,677 reported last week – an increase of 110 per cent.

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A new wave of Covid cases is most obvious in the young and unvaccinated. Pictured: People on Clapham Common, May 22

In terms of prevalence, on average one in 543 people in the UK currently have symptomatic disease, according to data from the Zoe Covid Symptom Study app.

But there is a clear divide between the younger and older generations, mirrored by unvaccinated versus vaccinated.

Cases have increased the most in those in their 20s, with around 450 active cases per 100,000.

It compares to 250 per 100,000 in the 40s group and 70 per 100,000 in the 50s. 

People over 60 years old have continued to see very low levels of cases.

Cases are growing faster in unvaccinated people, with almost 10,000 new cases every day compared to 1,900 in those who have had a jab.

ZOE has previously said Covid is much more mild in those who have had a jab dose, suggesting the jabs are working to suppress severe disease.

Cases have doubled across the UK in one week
Covid prevalence by age group
People with a vaccine against Covid are still catching the virus – but at much lower rates than in the unvaccinated population

Prof Spector, genetic epidemiologist at King’s College London, said: “Official confirmed cases are now around 7,500, which is the highest daily figure since late February. 

“However, when you dig into the data, it’s clear that this is an epidemic among the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated populations in the UK and, due to the way vaccines have been rolled out, is largely affecting younger generations. 

“The good news is that fully vaccinated people have much greater protection. Vaccines are working and we want to encourage people to exercise caution, especially if they feel at all unwell, until they’ve been fully vaccinated. 

“The race is on to fully vaccinate the whole population to save lives and return to normal life” 

There are also regional differences, with graphs showing a dramatic spike in cases in the North West compared to barely any change in the South West.

This graph shows how cases have soared in the North West of England and Scotland

The North West has a number of “hotspots” where the Delta variant spread quickly, including Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen and now Manchester.

Scotland is also disproportionately affected by the strain, seeing a large spike starting in mid-May. 

The city of Stirling, in central Scotland, has the highest number of people reporting Covid symptoms of all of the UK – nearly 840 per 100,000.

Prof Spector and colleagues say they believe the R rate is as high as 1.4 in England, and 1.3 for the UK.

Official R estimates from Sage – the scientific Government advisory group – last Friday predicted it was 1.0 to 1.2 in England. But this is a few weeks out of date.

Risk of “substantial” third wave

It comes as the Prof Lockdown has said the Government was given new modelling last week warning of a “substantial third wave”.

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, whose modelling was instrumental to the first lockdown in March 2020, said scientists cannot be definitive on how big the wave will be.

“It could be substantially lower than the second wave, or it could be of the same order of magnitude”, he told journalists at a briefing yesterday.

The size of the wave “critically depends” on how effective vaccines are at protecting people against admission to hospital and death.

So far there have been very few vaccinated people in hospital, including three doubled-jabbed people with the Delta variant.

But Prof Ferguson said any rise in cases “will translate, by definition, into some number of hospitalisations and deaths” but added that it is “harder to pin down quite how significant the latter will be at the current time”.

He and other scientists on the briefing agreed a delay in the June 21 lifting of lockdown would have the advantage of vaccination more people.

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