Covid cases have plateaued in parts of the UK, says top medical adviser | Coronavirus

The number of Covid infections appears to have plateaued in parts of the UK, a senior government health adviser has said, with experts expressing optimism about the latest data.

Infections are flattening in London, South East and East England, while the rise is slowing in the North of England, said Dr Susan Hopkins, the Agency’s chief medical adviser British Health Safety (UKHSA).

The number of cases remains relatively high, however, with around one in 15 people infected in England, while the figure for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is one in 20.

Around one in 10 people in the North West of England had Covid-19 last week, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. London’s rate fell from one in 10 at the end of 2021 to one in 15 in the week ending January 6.

While hospital admissions have not yet started to fall, their rate of increase is also slowing, Hopkins told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We are seeing a slowdown in hospital admissions. hospital, but they are slowing rather than reversing at the moment, so there are still over 2,000 hospital admissions across the UK, and almost 2,500 yesterday.”

The latest data comes after more than one in six NHS trusts in England reported critical incidents due to Covid pressures, many due to staff shortages. Meanwhile, nearly 6 million people in England – a record number – are currently awaiting hospital treatment, according to NHS figures.

Hopkins said hospitals were able to discharge patients faster because Omicron was less harsh than previous variants. With around 15,500 people hospitalized last week, however, some trusts remain “unable to do much of their elective care”.

Dr Chris Smith, a consultant virologist and lecturer based at the University of Cambridge, said the latest figures gave him “big reason to be optimistic”, telling BBC Breakfast: “The number of people going into intensive care or are on mechanical ventilation beds is actually gout.” As 96% of people in the country now have antibodies, the vast majority of people are able to ‘ward off’ the disease better and ‘we don’t see this strong link between cases turning into consequences’.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh and chief social policy adviser to the Scottish government, also expressed cautious optimism. “The cases, if we look at them, are down by more than 20 per cent,” she told BBC Breakfast, adding that Friday was the first day “in some time” that cases in the UK had fallen. below 100,000.

Bauld said “things seem to be moving in the right direction”, but warned that the number of hospitals remained “very high”.

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