Covid infections in community in England drop for second week in a row – ONS

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The ONS said rates have increased for those aged from two to school Year 11 in England (PA) (PA Wire)
The ONS said rates have increased for those aged from two to school Year 11 in England (PA) (PA Wire)

Coronavirus infections in the community in England have dropped for the second week in a row, new figures suggest.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said an estimated one in 90 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to September 18, the equivalent of about 620,100 people.

This is down from one in 80 in the previous week, and the second week in a row that the rates have dropped.

At the peak of the second wave in early January, around one in 50 people in England were estimated to have coronavirus.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

The ONS figures showed that prevalence in Wales and Scotland had remained unchanged from the previous week while in Northern Ireland it increased.

In Wales, around one in 60 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to September 18, the highest level since the week to December 23.

In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is also one in 60, up from one in 75 in the previous week.

For Scotland, the ONS estimates that around one in 45 people had Covid-19, remaining at the highest level since estimates began for Scotland in October.

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, said that at worst England’s Covid prevalence could equal Scotland’s.

He said: “The very high prevalence in Scotland is a concern, it is roughly double that of England. This will have created sustained pressure in the NHS.

Scientists operate with data, real world data indicates that at the moment the prevalence in Scotland is as bad as it can get with kids back at school and life moving indoors.

“If so, at worst I would expect the prevalence in England to double from its current level.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

“The seven-day case average this week suggests cases are climbing in England. I very much hope England does not reach the level seen in Scotland.”

The ONS also said that rates have increased for those aged from two to school Year 11 in England.

Around one in 35 people in Years 7 to 11 are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to September 18 – the highest positivity rate for any age group.

The percentage testing positive decreased in all other age groups except for those aged 50 to 69, where the trend was uncertain.

The new figures come as the NHS is offering 16 and 17-year-olds the chance to make an appointment for their Covid vaccine through the national booking service.

Around 60% of young people have already received their vaccine since it was rolled out to the age group in August, NHS England said.

From 6pm on Friday, the online booking service will be another way for those aged 16 and 17 in England to get a single shot of the Pfizer jab, in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advice.

The NHS is due to send thousands of texts to eligible teenagers in the coming days.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

On Monday the NHS began vaccinating children aged 12 to 15, after the Government accepted the UK chief medical officers’ recommendation to extend the programme to this age group.

NHS England also launched booster vaccines earlier this month for everyone aged 50 and over, as well as vulnerable people and frontline health and social care workers.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Getting the vital protection of the vaccine is now even easier with the national booking service opening to those aged 16 to 17 to book their vaccine.

“We know the vaccine works – with more than 123,100 lives saved, and 24 million infections and 230,000 hospitalisations prevented in England alone.

“So please book your vaccine as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones against the virus.”

Also from Friday, health and social care workers in England can book an appointment through the online service for their booster vaccine.

More than 78 million vaccinations have been delivered and nearly nine in 10 adults have had their first dose since the start of the programme in December 2020.

NHS staff and volunteers have been vaccinating on university campuses at pop-up clinics and walk-in centres, urging students to get their first jab or second dose and get protected as the new academic year begins.

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