Ending the COVID-19 daily updates right when the UK and other European countries are experiencing very high levels of infection again – with the UK probably about to reach the highest COVID rates ever according to Professor Tim Spector – doesn’t sound like a very smart public health move... or does it?
The Zoe COVID Study’s positive symptomatic case estimate is currently 296,168 cases (+22.4% in a week). The 7-day estimate shows 1,934,148 cases in a week (+32.1%). On average, it is now estimated that at least 276,307 people are still infected by coronavirus every day in the UK.
First published in June 2022.
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Latest UK Dashboard
Reminder on data reporting in the UK
▫ From Friday 1 July 2022, the COVID-19 UKHSA Dashboard moves to weekly reporting.
▫ The reporting of ZOE COVID Study data will remain daily.
▫ The reporting of ONS Infection Survey data will remain weekly with a 7-day lag.
(Source: UKHSA | ZOE | ONS)
Zoe COVID Study & ONS Infection Survey UK Latest Estimates
■ Zoe COVID Study
■ ONS Infection Survey UK Latest Estimates
■ UK Government’s List of symptoms of COVID-19
After two years without updating its list of just three symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to the sense of smell or taste), the NHS has finally updated its list of symptoms of COVID:
😩 Shortness of breath
🥱 Feeling tired or exhausted
🤕 An aching body
🤯 A headache
🤐 A sore throat
🤧 A blocked or runny nose
😞 Loss of appetite
🤮 Feeling sick or being sick
■ BA.4 and BA.5 have become dominant in the UK, driving increase in infections — Update
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is reminding people to ensure their COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date and to continue following COVID-safe behaviours, as latest technical data indicates BA.4 and BA.5 have become dominant in the UK and are driving the recent increase in infections.
The UKHSA’s COVID-19 variant technical briefing 43, published today, includes epidemiological analysis that shows that Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 now make up more than half of new COVID-19 cases in England, accounting for approximately 22% and 39% of cases, respectively.
Omicron BA.4 and Omicron BA.5 were designated as variants of concern on 18 May on the basis of an apparent growth advantage over the previously-dominant Omicron BA.2 variant.
UKHSA’s latest analysis suggests that Omicron BA.5 is growing 35.1% faster than Omicron BA.2, while Omicron BA.4 is growing approximately 19.1% faster. This suggests that BA.5 is likely to become the dominant COVID-19 variant in the UK.
The increasing prevalence of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 is likely to be a factor in the recent increase in cases seen in the UK and elsewhere, though there is currently no evidence that Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 cause more severe illness than previous variants.
So far, vaccination means that the rise in cases is not translating to a rise in severe illness and deaths. UKHSA scientists are urging anyone who has not had all the vaccines they are eligible for to make sure that they get them as soon as possible.
COVID-19 has not gone away, so it is also vitally important that people continue to follow the guidance. Stay at home if you have any respiratory symptoms or a fever and limit contact with others until you are feeling better, particularly if they are likely to be at greater risk if they contract COVID-19.
Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at UKHSA said:
“It is clear that the increasing prevalence of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are significantly increasing the case numbers we have observed in recent weeks. We have seen a rise in hospital admissions in line with community infections but vaccinations are continuing to keep ICU admissions and deaths at low levels.
“As prevalence increases, it’s more important than ever that we all remain alert, take precautions, and ensure that we’re up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, which remain our best form of defence against the virus. It’s not too late to catch up if you’ve missed boosters, or even first doses so please take your recommended vaccines.
“Our data also show that 17.5 per cent of people aged 75 years and over have not had a vaccine within the past six months, putting them more at risk of severe disease. We urge these people in particular to get up-to-date.
“If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially those who are elderly or vulnerable. Face coverings in crowded indoor spaces and hand washing will help to reduce transmission of infection and are especially important if you have any respiratory symptoms.”
UKHSA encourage everyone to continue to follow the most up-to date guidance.
As we learn to live safely with COVID-19, there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others.
The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is greatest when someone who is infected is physically close to, or sharing an enclosed or poorly ventilated space with, other people.
You will not always know whether someone you come into contact with is at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from respiratory infections, including COVID-19. They could be strangers (for example people you sit next to on public transport) or people you may have regular contact with (for example friends and work colleagues).
There are simple things you can do in your daily life that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections and protect those at highest risk. Things you can choose to do are:
- get vaccinated
- let fresh air in if meeting others indoors
- practise good hygiene:V
- wash your hands
- cover your coughs and sneezes
- clean your surroundings frequently
- wear a face covering or a face mask, particularly if you are in crowded and enclosed spaces
■ TRAVEL: ENTRY RULES AND RESTRICTIONS
Check out the latest situation for 20 of the top travel destinations for Brits:
■ ZOE COVID Study’s Top 20 symptoms of COVID-19 (as of 31-Jun-2022)
Long COVID most prevalent in education sector workers – ONS
Results from a project funded by ONS, led by Sarah Rhodes (University of Manchester), has found rates of self-reported long-COVID were highest in the education sector between April 2020 to January 2022.
This analysis used a different methodology to existing ONS outputs and results cannot be compared.
Long-COVID rates varied by occupation, with the education, police and protective services, personal care and social care sectors seeing the highest rates. The research adjusted for factors such as age and sex.
The research also investigated whether vaccination uptake accounted for differences in COVID-19 infection rates between occupations. The proportion of people who had received two vaccinations by 31 January 2022 varied by occupation: 9% of workers in the food processing sector were not double vaccinated, compared with 4% of office-based healthcare workers.
However, these differences in vaccination uptake did not explain all the differences in infection rates between occupations. The only exception was among manual workers, where low vaccination uptake did appear to explain the increased relative risks of infection.
Deaths involving COVID-19 fall slightly – ONS
There were 309 deaths registered in the UK involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in the week ending 17 June 2022, which is slightly fewer than the previous week. This accounted for around 1 in every 40 deaths (2.5%).
There were 12,320 total deaths registered in the UK in the latest week, which is 15.3% above the five-year average.
In England and Wales, the number of deaths in the week to 17 June was above the five-year average in private homes, hospitals and care homes, but slightly below in other settings.
Most school pupils in England had COVID-19 antibodies by March 2022 – ONS
Almost all primary and secondary school pupils in England had detectable levels of coronavirus (COVID-19) SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in March 2022.
Adjusted antibody data from the Schools Infection Survey, for March to April 2022, showed that more than 99% of secondary school pupils had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, comprised of 64.9% who were vaccinated and 34.4% who were unvaccinated.
For primary school pupils, 82.0% had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, based on adjusted figures. This is comprised of 0.4% who were vaccinated and 81.6% who were unvaccinated.
Around one-quarter of British adults still social distancing – ONS
Around one-quarter (27%) of adults in Great Britain reported always or often maintaining social distancing when meeting up with others outside their household.
When asked about other preventative measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) and other illnesses they had taken over the last seven days, three-quarters (75%) said they had always or often washed their hands immediately after returning home from a public place.
Around 4 in 10 (38%) said they had worn a face covering at some point when outside their home.
In general, almost one-third (32%) of adults said they were worried about the effect that COVID-19 was having on their lives, and around 4 in 10 (41%) were worried about new variants.
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Since February 2022, the UKHSA has slowly reduced the publishing of its daily COVID updates, following the UK Government’s narrative that we should all “live with the virus”.
England now reports on weekdays, Scotland reports on Mondays and Thursdays only, Wales reports on Thursdays only, and Northern Ireland has stopped reporting altogether.
The virus doesn’t take a break at weekends.
It doesn’t infect people from time to time.
It doesn’t stop at a border either.
The virus still spreads and kills people every day in the UK and around the world. COVID-19 is NOT over.
We, at PMP, have decided to continue to publish the latest COVID data available every day, especially the Zoe COVID Study estimates – probably more accurate than the UK Government’s own data since free testing has ended in England, and the ONS COVID Infection Survey estimates.
Please, support our work through our crowdfunding to help us to continue our COVID reporting: Donate now.
■ 🧬 COG-UK sequencing
The BA.5 sub-variant is now dominant in the UK.
📈 ENGLAND COMBINED COVID-19 CHART
(Source: UK Health Security Agency)
📈 UKHSA COVID-19 CHARTS
💉 Latest UK Vaccination
Note: UK vaccination data is now published weekly on Mondays.
Note: Data cross-referenced with the latest official data from the UK dashboard.
Total UK population: 67,081,234 (last year: 66,796,800), via ONS (subject to changes in population over the year). These figures were updated on 25 June 2021. (Source: ONS)
🚨 2.0 million people currently live with long COVID in the UK (vs 1.8 million last month)
🚨 3.1% of the UK population currently live with long COVID (vs 2.8%)
🚨 1 in 33 people in the UK has long COVID
🚨 Long COVID symptoms adversely affect the day-to-day activities of 1.4 million people, 71% of long COVID sufferers (vs 1.2 million)
🚨 Of those, 398,000 people (20%) are “limited a lot” (vs 346,000)
🚨 593,000 (30%) first had COVID-19 before Alpha became the main variant; 239,000 (12%) in the Alpha period, 427,000 (21%) in the Delta period, and 619,000 (31%) in the Omicron period.
🚨 Most common symptoms of long COVID
▫ fatigue (55%)
▫ shortness of breath (32%)
▫ cough (23%)
▫ muscle ache (23%)
🚨 Prevalence of long COVID is greatest in people
▫ aged 35-69 years
▫ living in more deprived areas
▫ working in social care, teaching, education or health care
▫ with another activity-limiting health condition or disability
🚨 Long COVID by occupation (ONS – 29 Jun-2022)
▫ Police and protective services (25%)
▫ Education (22%)
▫ Social care sector (22%)
LONG COVID News
- What causes long COVID? Canadian researchers think they’ve found a key clue | Global News
- Faster Progress Is Needed on Treatments for Long Covid | Bloomberg
- Long COVID Can Hit Kids, Even Babies | HealthDay
- Almost 1 in 20 older pupils have had long COVID | ONS
- As the pandemic ebbs, long-haul Covid still drains patients and confounds doctors | The Guardian
- Long COVID found in 20% of US cases — CDC
- Is Omicron Creating More Cases of Long Covid? — Bloomberg
- Long Covid can lead to trauma and depression — Sunday Times
long covid kids
🧩 Long COVID Kids
According to a recent systematic review and meta-analyses of Long-COVID in children and adolescents published in Nature:
🚨 Long COVID affects 1 in 4 infected children (25.24%)
🚨 For hospitalised children, prevalence of long-COVID is nearly 1 in 3 infected children (29.19%)
🚨 Most prevalent clinical manifestations of Long COVID in children/adolescents:
▫ mood symptoms (16.50%)
▫ fatigue (9.66%)
▫ sleep disorders (8.42%)
▫ headache (7.84%)
▫ respiratory symptoms (7.62%)
▫ sputum production or nasal congestion (7.53%)
▫ cognitive symptoms (6.27%)
▫ loss of appetite (6.07%)
▫ exercise intolerance (5.73%)
▫ altered smell (5.60%)
🚨 Children infected by COVID-19 have a higher risk of persistent dyspnea, anosmia/ageusia, and/or fever
🚨 Like adults, the pediatric population’s risk factors associated with long-COVID are:
▫ older age children
▫ female gender
▫ severe COVID-19
▫ comorbid allergic diseases and other long-term co-morbidities
The authors of the systematic review and meta-analyses of Long-COVID in children and adolescents conclude:
“Long-COVID represents a significant public health concern, and there are no guidelines to address its diagnosis and management.
“Our meta-analyses further support the importance of continuously monitoring the impact of long-COVID in children and adolescents and the need to include all variables and appropriate control cohorts in studies to better understand the real burden of pediatric long-COVID.”
■ Absence & Attendance in Schools
■ Number of contact tracing alerts sent (England & Wales)
(Source: University of Oxford)
📚 Data Sources:
- Daily summary: Coronavirus in the UK | UK Government
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) NHS Advice | PMP Magazine
- Variants: distribution of cases data | UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)
- Vaccination Data | UK Government
- What’s new | UK Government
— AUTHOR —
▫ J.N. PAQUET, Author & Journalist, Editor of PMP Magazine.
- Text: This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 1 July 2022. | The authors write in a personal capacity.
- Data cross-referenced with the latest official data from the UK dashboard.
- Cover: Adobe Stock/SergeyBitos.
- Icons from www.flaticon.com