Nearly 5 million infected in U.K. as COVID-19 hits record levels – National |

The prevalence of COVID-19 within the U.K. has reached file ranges, with about 1 in 13 folks estimated to be contaminated with the virus prior to now week, in accordance with the most recent figures from Britain’s official statistics company.

Some 4.9 million folks have 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 most recent surge is pushed by the extra transmissible Omicron variant BA.2, which is the dominant variant throughout the U.Okay.

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Hospitalizations and loss of life charges are once more rising, though the variety of folks dying with COVID-19 remains to be comparatively low in contrast with earlier this yr. 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 properly into March.

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

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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 college.

“Such unchecked prevalence endangers the safety afforded by our vaccines,” he mentioned. “Our vaccines are wonderful, 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Greater than 67% of individuals 12 years outdated and above within the U.Okay. have been vaccinated and had their booster or a 3rd dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Starting Saturday, dad and mom can even e book a low-dose vaccine for youngsters between 5 to 12 years outdated in England.

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James Naismith, a biology professor on the College of Oxford, mentioned he believed that besides for individuals who are utterly shielded or not prone to the virus, most individuals within the nation would possible 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.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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