Yesterday I joined a queue of about thirty people at the Princes Park Medical Centre to have my fourth Covid jab. There was a cross section of people there from around South Liverpool although someone aged forty would have been relatively young! There was a good chat but what became obvious in the discussions and was followed up in emails and Tweets that I got later, is that there is a large number of people around who are dismissive of the need to vaccinate because they think Covid is all over – it is not all over at all.
Covid-19 infections in the UK have continued to rise, the recent weekly figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest. About 1.3 million people are thought to have had Covid in the latest week, a rise of about 25% from previous figures. This is the biggest percentage increase week-on-week since early July, during the last surge of Omicron infections.
This is about 2.1% of the population (roughly one-in-50 people), up from roughly one-in-60 the week before. Covid infections increased in England and Northern Ireland, while the trend was uncertain in Wales and Scotland.
In the UK, more than 200,000 people have Covid-19 on their death certificate, while about 190,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test. So far, the Covid vaccination programme has reached more than nine in ten people aged twelve and over with at least a first dose.
More than five million people, about 22% of those aged fifty and over in England, have now received an autumn booster vaccination.
Cases across UK
The latest estimates on Covid infections for the week ending 24 September for England and Scotland, and 26 September for Wales and Northern Ireland, showed a rise of 25% on the previous weekly figures, with an estimated one in every fifty people infected. The increase was most pronounced in Northern Ireland, where infections rose to one-in-40 people, up from one-in-80 people the previous week.
The percentage of people testing positive for Covid increased in all regions of England, according to the ONS. All age groups in England from the age of thirty-five saw increases in infections in the latest week. A rise was also seen in children in England aged two to school year six. The trend was uncertain for other age groups
As of 29 September, government figures for the whole of the UK show 8,683 people with coronavirus were in hospital, up from 6,635 a week earlier. These are the latest figures available for all the UK nations.
More recent figures for England show 9,631 people in hospital with coronavirus as of 5 October, up from 7,024 the previous week.
Hospital admissions with coronavirus were about 1,300 per day as of 3 October in England, compared with roughly 2,000 in early July.
The proportion of people being treated for very severe infections and needing intensive care remain lower than earlier in the pandemic, as vaccinations continue to protect people from severe disease.
Weekly Covid deaths
In the week to 23 September, there were 274 new Covid death registrations in the UK.
These include all deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate even if the person had not been tested for the virus.
It is not only death and short to medium term illness that you need to consider. Even people with mild cases have had problems with long-covid which can make life difficult for them for up to two years with many unable to work or at least work at the pace or in the job they had pre-covid.
Furthermore, the NHS England’s most up-to-date data suggests that hospital admissions have also reached a record peak, with 9,631 infected people being in hospital beds on October 5. This represents a 37 percent increase compared to the last highest figure, which was recorded in August.
But these figures for infection, hospitalisation and deaths might be just the start. Experts are warning that this winter could see soaring infections of both Covid and flu. Known as the “twindemic”, the two viruses could put even more strain on the national health service. While the Covid jab is one of the main weapons against the virus, many elderly people are refusing it.
Worryingly, current soaring cases seem to be targeting mainly elderly Britons, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) who found that the recent Covid outbreak is being driven by those over 70 years of age, with many missing their autumn booster.
The NHS has started sending out invitations for booster jabs as emails, letters, and texts to around six million eligible Britons. The eligible groups include either those at a higher risk from Covid or those over 65. However, so far only 6.6 million of the twenty-six million eligible have had their booster.
Doctors are currently worried that not enough over-seventies have had their extra jab, especially as case rates seem to be the highest in this age group.
The ONS estimates that one in every forty people over the age of seventy had the virus in its latest weekly survey. They are the ones who are most likely to be hospitalised and subsequently die.
The Covid vaccine is safe
All of the leading health bodies agree that the jabs are not only safe but also reduce your risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19. Both Erica and I have had the jab in the past days. It gave us both a dead arm for a few hours and an overnight headache. Problems that are well worth putting up with the sake of safety.
How to get a Covid booster
Since the launch of the autumn booster a month ago, the NHS has already delivered over five million “life-saving” autumn top-ups. However, not everyone is able to book right now, for example, people aged 50 to 64 years old will have to wait until later in autumn 2022, according to NHS England. Everyone who is eligible can book online by calling 119, or patients can visit their local walk-in clinic. Don’t forget to check if your local site is still open before visiting as many walk-ins have closed since the initial vaccination roll-out.
Already the NHS, Government and Councils are considering what restrictions might need to be made at the former tier four level if numbers continue to rise. This is bad for business and bad for mental and physical health so please get the jab and keep you, your loved ones, your neighbours, and your workmates safe.