According to surveys published on Friday, coronovirus is now spreading much faster in England than in recent weeks, as the government has reiterated the need to impose stricter restrictions to curb the increase in cases.
According to statistical analysis conducted by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori, known as React-1, the number of positive cases is doubling every seven to eight days. Scientists estimated that the breeding value, or R number, is 1.7.
The Department of Health reported a total of 3,539 new coronovirus cases in the UK on Friday, saying the highest daily figure as of 17 May.
“While younger people continue to make up the largest share of new cases, we are now starting to see worrisome symptoms about infections in the elderly who are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill,” Yvonne Doyle, Medicine Director said Public Health England.
However, a different estimate of R, the average number of new cases generated by an infected person, released on Friday by government scientists placed it between 1.0 and 1.2 in both the UK and England.
The R number is seen as an important determinant of the spread of the virus, with government scientists first stressing the need to keep it below one.
The React-1 study found that 13 out of every 10,000 people were infected with the disease between August 22 and September 7, compared to 4 out of every 10,000 between July 24 and August 11.
A senior government official called the new data a wake-up moment, stating that if the public did not change its behavior, strict lockdown measures would also be needed to limit the spread of the virus. He said public vigilance had slipped in recent weeks, which was a major factor in the recent boom.
Infections are no longer in most healthcare and care home settings, and infection rates are rising across all adult groups under 65 nationwide, with 150,000 volunteers included in the study and commissioned by the government. The highest rate of infection was seen in people between 18 and 24 years of age.
Amid growing concerns in the government over the increase in Kovid-19 cases last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced a “rule of six” over gatherings in England.
The rules replaced a more complex list of guidelines and laws. They say that from Monday the police will be able to break groups of more than six people indoors or out and pay fines.
Exemptions include work or education as well as gatherings for weddings, funerals and coronavirus-safe organized games.
However the move has met some resistance from ministers and Tory MPs who fear the rules could hurt Britain’s already weak economic recovery.
Government officials on Friday confirmed that senior ministers had argued against the plan to introduce a “rule of six” at a high-level meeting on Tuesday, suggesting some higher cut-offs.
Officials said the meeting was the latest incident of a “long-running tension” between dealing with Kovid-19 and preventing an economic collapse. One said, “There was a collegiate in the conversation, but yes, some ministers thought that six was too few.”
Mr Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock hope the latest infection rate data will help ease concerns among fellow cabinet members and the Tory backbench.
The React-1 study also showed Yorkshire and Humber, North East and North West, with the highest rates of infection in areas of England. Some 65 of the participants who tested positive reported no symptoms at the time of swabbing or in the last 7 days.
Paul Elliott, director of programs at the Imperial School of Public Health, said the data represent a “related” trend in coronovirus cases.
“Our large and robust data set clearly reflects a trend related to coronovirus infections, where cases are increasing rapidly across England and are no longer concentrated in key workers,” he said. “This is an important time and it is important that the public, our health system and policymakers are aware of this situation as we cannot maintain decency.”
Separately, weekly data from the Office for National Statistics also pointed to a sharp increase in positive Kovid-19 cases from one week to 5 September, the first such increase in data in several weeks, especially in 17–34 years. Among children.
But the ONS infection survey found that the number of people testing positive for Kovid-19’s age 50 and above has been steady or decreasing in recent weeks. The study estimated that around 3,200 new cases per day occurred in England.