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UK hits record COVID-19 levels; nearly 5 million infected

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Relations write a message to 2 sisters who died of COVID on the Nationwide Covid Memorial wall in London, Tuesday. Newest figures from Britain’s statistics company present the prevalence of COVID-19 within the U.Ok. has reached report ranges, with about 1 in 13 individuals estimated to be contaminated with the virus up to now week. (Alastair Grant, AP Picture)

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LONDON — The prevalence of COVID-19 within the U.Ok. has reached report ranges, with about 1 in 13 individuals estimated to be contaminated with the virus up to now week, in accordance with the most recent figures from Britain’s official statistics company.

Some 4.9 million individuals had been estimated to have the coronavirus within the week ending March 26, up from 4.3 million recorded within the earlier week, the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics mentioned Friday. The newest surge is pushed by the extra transmissible omicron variant BA.2, which is the dominant variant throughout the U.Ok.

Hospitalizations and loss of life charges are once more rising, though the variety of individuals dying with COVID-19 remains to be comparatively low in contrast with earlier this 12 months. Nonetheless, the most recent estimates recommend that the steep climb in new infections since late February, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrapped all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England, has continued nicely into March.

The figures got here on the identical day the federal government ended free fast COVID-19 checks for most individuals in England, underneath Johnson’s “dwelling with COVID” plan. Individuals who would not have well being situations that make them extra weak to the virus now must pay for checks to seek out out if they’re contaminated.

“The federal government’s ‘dwelling with COVID’ technique of eradicating any mitigations, isolation, free testing and a substantial slice of our surveillance quantities to nothing greater than ignoring this virus going forwards,” mentioned Stephen Griffin, affiliate professor on the College of Leeds’ medical faculty.

“Such unchecked prevalence endangers the safety afforded by our vaccines,” he mentioned. “Our vaccines are glorious, however they don’t seem to be silver bullets and ought to not be left to bear the brunt of COVID in isolation.”

Greater than 67% of individuals 12 years previous and above within the U.Ok. have been vaccinated and had their booster or a 3rd dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Starting Saturday, dad and mom may ebook a low-dose vaccine for youngsters between 5 to 12 years previous in England.

James Naismith, a biology professor on the College of Oxford, mentioned he believed that besides for individuals who are utterly shielded or not inclined to the virus, most individuals within the nation would probably be contaminated with the BA.2 variant by the summer time.

“That is actually dwelling with the virus by being contaminated with it,” he mentioned.

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