THE UK’S daily Covid cases have fallen once again in a “promising sign this wave is fading”.
The Government announced an additional 74,720 new infections today, a drop of 24 per cent on last Thursday’s 98,204.
The UK’s Covid cases and deaths today, and over the course of the pandemic
It’s the ninth day in a row that daily Covid cases come down, including Saturday and Sunday when figures are not reported.
A further 192 deaths were also announced today.
While this is up on the 165 from last Thursday, any trends in death lags behind cases.
The same goes for hospitalisations, which are still on an upward slope.
Week-total admissions are 11 per cent higher than the week prior.
Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, has said although Covid-19 infections are at “a very high level”, they are not translating into hospital admissions and deaths.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There are around three-and-a-half million people in the last week up to that point, up to March 25, which is a very high level.
“But what we’re not seeing of course is a significant translation of that into serious illness, hospitalisations and most importantly, deaths.
“There has been a small uptick in deaths in the last week and again… some hospitals are coming under significant pressure and we shouldn’t underestimate that.
“But overall, immune defences through the vaccination programme has been really successful and of course we now have treatments”.
But three shots are crucial to get full protection against severe disease.
Vulnerable people are being urged to come forward for their fourth dose (second booster shot) when invited by the NHS this spring.
The Government coronavirus dashboard only counts cases that are found through testing, which has been drastically scaled back in recent weeks.
Infection surveys give a better indication of the true outbreak size.
The ZOE COVID Symptom Study app, which collects data from phone app users, estimates one in 15 people in the UK are currently infected.
A predicted 349,011 people are getting symptomatic Covid every day, an increase of seven per cent on last week.
But Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the study, says there are glimmers of hope.
He said: “While Covid cases continue to soar to all-time highs, the rate of increase is showing signs of slowing down.
“This is a promising sign that we’ll hopefully see case numbers beginning to drop once again.”
Prof Spector said it was difficult to predict how the Covid crisis will move forward, given that free testing is being scrapped for the vast majority of people as of Friday.
UKHSA chief Dame Harries said people should continue to take precautions, adding that she will continue to wear a mask in shops and on public transport.
She said warmer weather will likely drive down infection rates, as has been seen over the past two summer, and so will high population immunity, as long as people accept their booster shot invite.
Meanwhile, the Health Secretary has insisted people must “learn to live with Covid”.
It came after campaigners, including Carers UK and Alzheimer’s Society, criticised the end of free testing, saying it “risks gambling” the lives of vulnerable people.
High Covid cases are not translating to hospitalisations and deaths, said Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, pictured at a Downing Street briefing in May 2021Credit: Reuters