THE UK may now have passed the peak of the third wave – after the number of new cases dropped for the fifth day in a row in a “reassuring” sign, experts say.
The country is seeing a sustained fall in reported coronavirus cases outside of lockdown for the first time since the pandemic began.
The number of people testing positive for Covid plunged from 49,000 last Sunday to 29,173 yesterday, building hopes Brits may be past the worst.
And it’s the first time cases have fallen below 30,000 since July 6.
The number of fatalities, however, was slightly higher, with 28 people losing their lives – three more than the previous Sunday.
The UK last saw five running days of dropping case numbers in February.
It’s understood ministers are “trying not to get too excited” about the drop – but there’s now “confidence” that things are heading in the right direction, Politico reports.
And the news suggests that claims Britain could hit 100,000 cases a day within weeks may not be realised.
It comes as:
Today, Good Morning Britain medic Dr Hilary called the signs “really encouraging” – but warned “hospitalisations and deaths are on the rise”.
“It is encouraging and we’ll keep our fingers crossed, but the next week or two will be really critical,” he said.
“We’re seeing a lot more severe cases among younger people.
“It was a rarity to see people under 40 admitted to ICU at the beginning, but now, because of the large numbers of cases, we’re seeing more of them.”
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the Daily Mail.: “This is looking like a reassuring trend, after five days of these falling numbers.
“The fall is much more dramatic than expected. There have been several experts warning of a disaster, but these figures strongly suggest otherwise.
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“It’s too early to see any signal in the data from Freedom Day, which may increase transmission, but this data suggests that we are coming out of this wave.
“It’s unlikely there will be any further surge from Freedom Day – if there is, it is likely only to be minor, and to probably last a matter of days.”
Meanwhile, vaccines are believes to have reduced waves of Covid deaths to ripples.
For example, on January 19 – the peak of the second wave – 1,359 people were reported to have died, while 39,467 tested positive for the virus.
The third wave has so far peaked on July 19, when 71 lives were lost. However, on that day a massive 46,338 people tested positive.
Peaks during the UK’s Covid waves
On April 12 2020, 3,301 people were on ventilators in the UK.
On that day, 3,480 new cases were diagnosed, although testing was limited during the first wave.
The number on ventilators was 4,077 on January 24 2021, the peak of the second wave. A total of 17,158 cases were diagnosed that day.
So far, the peak of the third wave was reached on July 22, when 699 received mechanical ventilation. 39,906 new positive tests were received two days ago.
Deaths during the first wave peaked on April 8 2020, when 1,075 people were recorded to have died. 5,120 positive tests were recorded that day.
On January 19 – the peak of the second wave – 1,359 people were reported to have died. 39,467 people tested positive then.
The third wave so far peaked on July 19, when 71 lives were lost. 46,338 tests were recorded on that day.
And 3,565 people were admitted to hospitals on April 1 2020, when 4,936 positive tests were carried out.
The number peaked at 4,579 on January 12 this year – the highest point of the second wave. 49,367 people tested positive for the virus that day.
This time around, 870 people were admitted to a ward on July 19. 46,338 people were newly-diagnosed with the virus last Monday.
- Figures from coronavirus.data.gov.uk
Overall during the horror winter wave, when cases were at a similar level to now, there were almost 27 times more deaths, and nine times more hospitalisations.
There are currently 125 patients on a ventilator for every 10,000 daily new infections, compared with 2,312 per 10,000 cases at the same point in the previous wave.
People aged 54 and under account for 60 per cent of virus patients admitted to hospital in England during this wave, compared with just 22 per cent during the winter wave.
Dr Simon Clarke, from the University of Reading, said: “We could now be starting to come out of this wave, based on these case numbers.
“It may be that, if the Euros affected case numbers from people mixing, we are now returning to the level of cases we would have had without the tournament.”
However, he urged caution – and says school holidays have “taken a lot of heat out of this”, while there’s not yet data from Freedom Day.
The seven-day average of case numbers has fallen from 46,024 a week ago to 38,268 now, a decline of around 17 percent.