Medical experts and NHS officials have confirmed that there has been a post-Jubilee surge of covid infections, with “super-spreader” events such as Royal Ascot and the Glastonbury Festival likely to see the upwards trend of positive tests continuing.
NHS London yesterday issued an appeal for everyone who is eligible in the capital to make sure that they have had their latest booster vaccination.
But sources within the NHS indicate that the latest round of covid jabs will be restricted to those most vulnerable, care workers and those most likely to encounter others with covid infections, and the elderly, as the government prepares for a new formula of the vaccine to be distributed in the autumn, in the same manner of the established programme of flu vaccinations.
Writing in the latest edition of Private Eye, Dr Phil Hammond says, “A modelling study by Imperial College has estimated that vaccines saved 19.8million lives globally in their first year of use.
“But they don’t stop spread.”
The latest reports state that covid infection levels in this country have risen by more than 30per cent in a week, with an estimated 2.3million people thought to have had the disease in late June.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics based on swabs collected from randomly selected households show that in the week ending June 25, 1,829,100 people in the community in England are estimated to have had covid.
While still shy of the peak infection levels seen earlier this year, the number of infections is the highest since late April and the highest yet seen for a summer month.
“Across the UK we’ve seen a continued increase of over half a million infections, likely caused by the growth of BA.4 and BA.5 variants,” said Sarah Crofts, the head of analytical outputs for the covid-19 infection survey.
“This rise is seen across all ages, countries and regions of England.”
Hospitalisations involving Covid are also rising.
On June 30, there were 8,928 patients with covid in hospital in England, up from 6,401 on the previous Thursday. Data released by the UK Health Security Agency on Thursday showed intensive care unit admission rates for covid had increased slightly, and were highest in London and in the 75-84 age group.
In a statement issued late on Friday reacting to the spike in infections, NHS London said, “The recent rapid rise in covid-19 infections means Londoners must ensure their covid-19 vaccinations are up to date.
“We are reminding the public that it is not too late to get a first, second or booster dose of the covid-19 vaccine to stay protected and reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.”
Dr Chris Streather, the medical director for the NHS in London, said: “We want Londoners to be prepared. It remains vital that they are fully up to date with their covid-19 vaccinations.
“Although we are seeing the number of covid-19 cases climb, data shows the numbers of people being admitted to ICU and the number of deaths remain relatively low thanks to the success of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme, the largest and fastest in the history of the health service.
“Alongside getting vaccinated, people should also continue to follow advice to help reduce the risk of catching the virus and passing it on to others.”
If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection and a high temperature or feel unwell, it is recommended that you try to stay at home or away from others – especially older or vulnerable people.
The use of face coverings in crowded indoor spaces and regular hand washing will also help to reduce the transmission of infection.
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