June 27, 2022

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Covid infections rise fastest among older groups in England

2 min read

Coronavirus infections are growing fastest among older people in England as the country is hit by an “unprecedented” surge of Covid-19, a major study tracking the virus has found.

Despite signs that infections among children and younger adults may have peaked, the prevalence of Covid among people aged 55 and over reached 8.3 per cent at the end of last month.

Around 6.4 per cent of people in England had Covid-19 between March 8 and March 31, a record high of the pandemic, according to Imperial College London’s React-1 study, published on Wednesday.

The latest UK infection levels are more than 40 per cent above the previous high point registered during the first wave of the Omicron variant in January.

Researchers said Covid infections had reached “unprecedented levels” in March, warning that the “high and increasing prevalence in older adults may increase hospitalisations and deaths despite high levels of vaccination”.

Currently, 20,398 hospital beds are occupied by Covid patients in the UK, the highest level recorded this year. However, nearly three-fifths are being treated primarily for another condition.

“We don’t yet know when we’ll see a peak in the oldest age group . . . and because those people are at higher risk of severe outcomes that is a particular worry,” said Christl Donnelly, professor of statistical epidemiology at Imperial College London who co-authored the study involving 110,000 participants.

The current wave of infections is the result of a combination of “people mixing more” and “waning of [vaccine] protection against infection”, said Paul Elliott, professor of epidemiology at Imperial College London who led the study.

The surge has also been driven by the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, which is 30 per cent more transmissible than the original Omicron variant.

Despite case rates increasing, the UK government has pressed ahead with its “Living with Covid” strategy,…

2022-04-05 19:01:31

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