Hopes third Covid wave has peaked have FADED as new cases soar 27% in a week, expert warns

HOPES that a third wave of Covid infections had peaked have faded as cases soar by 27 per cent in a week, new data has revealed.

Experts at the ZOE Covid Study app today warned that more people's lives would be disrupted by the virus itself, long Covid and the 'pingdemic' that has forced many Brits into self isolation.

On a daily basis, there are currently 60,019 new cases of the virus, across people who both have and have not received their coronavirus vaccine.

This is up 27.1 per cent from last week when 47,189 new infections were reported.

This week 36,250 people who have not received a vaccine have tested positive for Covid, either through a lateral flow or PCR test.

This is compared to 23,769 new infections in people who have been fully vaccinated.

Earlier this week the last set of coronavirus restrictions were lifted in line with the government's road map out of lockdown.

Step four of the programme meant that clubs were able to reopen once more and that policies such as the mandatory use of face masks were also scrapped in some settings.

Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE Covid Study app and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London said the UK's rush to return to "normal" could be having a negative impact on infection rates.

He explained: "Unfortunately, hopes that the current wave of infections had peaked have faded, as ZOE’s updated data shows new Covid cases continuing to rise as the UK lifts most restrictions.

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"Covid is less severe in the young and vaccinated population, it’s not definitely not going away anytime soon. 

"We mustn't forget the lessons of the pandemic in our rush to return to ‘normal life’, as this will only prolong Covid’s grip on our lives.

"As the numbers rise many of us will not only have our lives disrupted with endless notifications to self-isolate but more people will be affected by Long Covid."

INCREASE IN INFECTIONS

Data from the ZOE experts also shows that around one in 96 people currently have symptomatic Covid in the UK.

The ZOE app looks at 20 symptoms of coronavirus, which include the three highlighted by the NHS – a loss of taste or smell, a new persistent cough and a high temperature.

It also found that across the UK the R value is 1.1.

This measure is different from the R rate produced by Sage each Friday, which last week was as high as 1.6 in some regions of the country.

Zoe data shows that England has an R rate of 1.1, Wales 1.2 and Scotland 0.9.

They added that cases are rising in all region, aside from Scotland where they are actually falling.

Data shows that the pace of increase of infections is actually slower in the North West of England and Wales – despite the fact that government data shows that the North West is the region with the highest infection rates at present.

As infections climb, the number of people forced into isolation has gone up, NHS figures show.

A record 618,903 alerts were sent to users of the app in England and Wales in the week up to July 14 as the “pingdemic” continues to cause havoc. 

The NHS Covid-19 App, which "pings" anyone who has been within 2 metres of an infectious person for more than 15 minutes, has caused severe disruption to Brits despite lockdown rules ending on Monday.

Today's figure marks a rise of nearly 100,000 on the week before, when 530,126 people were alerted by the app.

Unlike those who are contacted directly by NHS Test and Trace, the app's instruction is only advisory – and self-isolation is not legally enforced.

The team at ZOE is now also trying to gather data on the "pingdemic" and is urging users of the app to log if they have been pinged so that they can analyse the risk profiles of those contacts.

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