Covid’s rebound begins: Hospitalisations soar by a FIFTH in a week as experts hint at return of MASKS to handle winter wave
- Some 724 patients were admitted to English hospital with the virus last Monday
- It was up more than a fifth on the 639 hospitalisations recorded the week before
- READ MORE: Covid cases rise by another 8% in a week in winter resurgence
Covid hospitalisations in England have started to rebound, official figures show.
Experts have already called on UK politicians to start wearing face masks again.
UK Health Security Agency data show some 724 patients were admitted with the virus last Monday, the latest date figures are available for.
It was up more than a fifth on the 639 recorded the week before and marked the highest daily total since October 27.
UK Health Security Agency data show some 724 patients were admitted with the virus last Monday, the latest date figures are available for. It was up more than a fifth on the 639 recorded the week before and marked the highest daily total since October 27, when 773 were admitted
The UKHSA figures also show the number of patients in hospital beds that are infected with the virus is also on the rise. Some 5,501 had the virus on Wednesday, up 11 per cent on the 4,964 recorded the week before
Just 119 people with Covid were using the beds in intensive care on December 7, down 7 per cent on the previous week
Office for National Statistics (ONS) experts estimate 941,700 people were infected with Covid on any given day in the week up to November 26 in England
People queued outside fever clinics at Chinese hospitals for Covid checks on today in a sign of the rapid spread after authorities dismantled surveillance tools.
Three years into the pandemic, China is now acting to align with a world that has largely reopened to live with Covid, after unprecedented protests that became a de-facto referendum against a ‘zero-Covid’ policy championed by President Xi Jinping.
The protests were the strongest public defiance of Xi’s decade-old presidency and coincided with grim growth figures this year for China’s $17trillion economy, the world’s second largest, that were among the worst for nearly half a century.
Beijing has dropped mandatory testing prior to many public activities, reined in quarantine and by early Tuesday will have deactivated a state-mandated mobile app used to track the travel histories of a population of 1.4 billion people.
The app that identified travellers to Covid-stricken areas will shut down at midnight on Monday, according to a notice on its official WeChat account.
The app has collected a huge amount of personal and sensitive information and the data should be deleted in a timely manner, Liu Xingliang, a researcher at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, was quoted by state radio as saying.
Chinese state-owned telecom giant China Unicom said late on Monday it would delete users’ mobile itinerary data previously used to identify travellers in Covid-stricken areas from Tuesday.
When such apps were launched three years ago, critics expressed concern that they could be used for mass surveillance and social control of the population.
Meanwhile, gold-standard Covid tracking data also shows cases have risen for the second week in a row after being in decline for over a month.
UKHSA figures also show the number of virus-infected patients in hospital beds is also on the rise.
Some 5,501 had the virus on Wednesday, up 11 per cent on the 4,964 recorded the week before.
The figures refer to all patients who have the virus and do not distinguish between those who were admitted for another reason and tested positive on arrival or while in care.
Numbers are still a fraction of the level they were earlier in the pandemic. And not every patient is actually ill with the virus.
The peak of daily admissions this year saw around 2,300 people admitted in March, while some 17,000 were in hospital and 800 were in intensive care at one point in January.
The number of the most critical virus patients on mechanical ventilation beds actually fell during the same week.
Just 119 people with Covid were using the beds in intensive care on December 7, down 7 per cent on the previous week.
However, all Covid patients still have to be quarantined from others in hospital, adding extra work to already overburdened NHS staff and their resources.
It comes after Professor Kit Yates, a mathematician at the University of Bath and member of Independent Sage, suggested face coverings should be out in force this winter.
Referring to an article suggesting French President Emmanuel Macron wore a mask in Vienna because of a ‘rise in the Covid-19 epidemic’, he called for British leaders to follow suit.
He tweeted: ‘Will we see this sort (or even any sort) of leadership from our UK politicians this winter?’
Another member of the controversial group last week suggested masks should be brought into classrooms to counter the Strep A outbreak in children.
And officials in the US called on Americans to wear masks in the face of the triple threat of Covid, flu and RSV this winter.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) experts estimate 941,700 people were infected with the virus on any given day in the week up to November 26.
It means around one in 60 people had the virus during the week.
The figure was up by another 8 per cent on the week before and marked the second week in a row cases have ticked upwards.
Infections also increased in Northern Ireland for the first time in a month, although it is not clear if they are rising in Scotland or Wales.
But there is greater uncertainty than usual in the estimates, as well as a longer time lag in reporting the data, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is due to a low number of Covid-19 test results received by the ONS, ‘possibly’ as a result of industrial action by postal workers.
‘For all UK countries, some results may have more uncertainty and be subject to change as more test results are received for this period’, the ONS said.
The ONS data show infections rose to 36,700 in Northern Ireland in the week up to November 23. It was up 27 per cent on the 28,900 recorded a week before.
Infections increased 10 per cent to 43,400 in Wales and fell 3 per cent to 88,500 in Scotland in the week up to November 24.
Covid was most prevalent in people aged 11 to 24 in England, with 2.2 per cent of the age group infected with the virus in the week up to October 26.
They were followed by those aged 25 to 49 (2.1 per cent) and over-50s (1.7 per cent).
Children aged 11 and under had the lowest infection rate, with just 1.4 per cent carrying the virus during the week.
Regionally, London and Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest prevalence, with 1.9 per cent of residents infected during the week.
They were followed by the South East (1.8 per cent) and the East Midlands (1.7 per cent).
Around 1.6 per cent of people living in all other regions had the virus on any given day.
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