Covid cases soar 44% in a week and 'England's R rate is 1.3' app data reveals

CASES of the coronavirus have soared by 44 per cent in a week as the R rate continues to creep up, new app data has revealed.

Experts have now claimed that the UK is "in a mess" and needs to limit the amount of cases – especially in the elderly.

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Data from the ZOE Symptom Tracker app states that there are currently 38,719 daily new symptomatic cases of Covid-19 in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 18 December.

This is a 43.9 per cent increase on 26,897 cases four days ago.

The R rate estimate from the experts for the UK is 1.2 and the experts also estimate that England sits at 1.3, Wales at 1.3 and Scotland at 1.1.

Last week the experts who run the ZOE Symptom Tracker App stated that the R rate was 1.1 across the UK.

The estimates from the team are different to that provided by government scientists.

Last week the government stated that the R rate across the UK was between 1.1 and 1.2 – this is due to be updated this afternoon.

CAPITAL CONCERNS

The experts said that cases in London have continued to increase rapidly and that the R value in the capital currently sits at 1.4.

The capital was plunged into tough Tier 4 restrictions over the weekend as cases continue to rise.

It had previously been moved into Tier 3 ahead of the tiers review.

The experts state that there are large differences when it comes to infection rates across the 32 different London boroughs.

It states that Havering and Enfield are the worst effected areas, followed by Newham and Kingston upon Thames.

Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames are the least affected areas in the capital.


Vaccine roll-out started this month with the aim of vaccinating the most vulnerable in society – this includes the elderly, those in care homes and care workers.

The data from the app states that cases of the virus are rising rapidly in the 20-49 age group and that those older age groups have levelled off slightly.

It also states that cases in the over 60s are up from last week and added that cases in Wales are "increasing rapidly".

The graph below – provided by the experts at ZOE show the level of infections across different age groups.

There seems to have been an increase in all age groups, but the blue line, which shows cases in 0-19 year-olds shows a slight dip.

STOP THE SPREAD

Professor Tim Spector, who leads the study said cases in the UK are still "rising rapidly" with an R value of 1.3 doubling roughly every week.

He added: "This new virus strain is being blamed for the recent surge in London and the South East, but while it is definitely becoming the dominant strain in new infections, there’s still no hard evidence yet to support that it is acting differently.

"It’s possible that these rapid changes would have happened anyway, just as they have done in Wales which has 4 times the national rate.

"Whichever strain is causing the recent increases, we are still in a mess and need to limit the number of cases, especially in the elderly to help the NHS."

 

The new variant was first spotted from a sample in Kent in September but experts say it remains possible it originated abroad.

The new strain's scientific name is VUI 2020/01, with VUI standing for Variant Under Investigation.

Scientists believe it mutated within a Covid patient's body.

The new variant appears to be prominent in and around the south of England.

Prof Spector added that testing alone wouldn't stop the spread – just as it didn't with previous waves of the virus.

He added: "People need to know all the symptoms and not just focus on the three “official” symptoms that miss over 20% of cases.

"Headache, fatigue, diarrhoea, muscle pain, skipping meals and confusion are just some of the other symptoms associated with Covid-19.

"If anyone is suffering from any of these over the coming weeks, stay at home, self isolate and get a test.” 

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