The number of people admitted to hospital with Covid is expected to rise further, the director general of Britain’s Health Security Agency has said.
Hospital cases and infections are down from earlier highs, but Dame Jenny Harries told the BBC there could still be an impact on the treatment of other patients.
His warning comes after figures showed UK Covid cases jumped 32% in a week.
Dame Jenny said people were encouraged to “lead a normal life” but in a “preventive way”.
In England, nearly 9,000 hospital beds were occupied by Covid patients as of June 30, a doubling of admissions since the start of the month. Data from other UK countries is not as up to date but suggests a similar rise in June.
The latest surge in Covid infections – by around 500,000 cases last week according to survey data by the Office for National Statistics – is being driven by two new, fast-spreading subvariants of the Omicron variant, called BA.4 and BA.5.
An estimated 2.3 million people, or one in 30 people, have the virus.
Dame Jenny told the BBC’s Sunday Morning: ‘It doesn’t look like this wave is over yet, so we expect hospital cases to increase. »
She said it’s “very likely” that the number of hospitals will peak above what it was in the spring when the BA.2 subvariant was prevalent, but “the overall impact, we don’t know.” we won’t know. It’s easy to say in retrospect, it’s not so easy to model.
She added: “For this particular wave, we have evidence that there may be a slight reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines on the variants, but they still keep the majority of people, protecting them from serious diseases and out of the hospital. »
Dame Jenny said people should continue to follow “reasonable precautionary advice” – emphasizing hand washing, keeping a distance from others where possible and wearing a face covering in closed and poorly ventilated areas.
And people with Covid symptoms should stay home, she said.
You would be forgiven for letting out a weary sigh. So much is happening from Ukraine to the rising cost of everything – and now Covid rears its ugly head again.
The latest statistics show the number of people infected in the UK has more than doubled since early June, with around 2.3 million people testing positive. You probably know someone who has had it.
So is the summer ruined? Two and a half years into the pandemic, we are back to face new variants, a resurgence of infections, questions about the NHS’s ability to cope and what this means for all of our lives.
It also gives us a clearer idea of what life with Covid will be like.
Read more from James.
- coronavirus pandemic
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