Press "Enter" to skip to content

UK records just three daily Covid deaths in lowest preliminary Sunday total since lockdown began 

The Health Secretary has urged the public to stick to social distancing rules as the UK recorded its highest number of daily Covid-19 cases since May after 2,988 were reported in just 24 hours. 

The last time the UK’s caseload was this high was May 23 – 15 weeks ago – when 2,959 people tested positive. On that day, 220 people died from Covid-19. 

Matt Hancock called the figures ‘concerning’, and admitted that there had been real terms rise even after taking into account the increase in testing.

He also pleaded with ‘predominantly’ young people who make up the new cases toll to not pass the virus onto their grandparents for fear they could become seriously ill or die from it.

‘The rise in the number of cases that we have seen today is concerning,’ Mr Hancock told Sky News.

‘The cases are predominantly among younger people but as we have seen in other countries across Europe, this sort of rise in cases amongst younger people leads to a rise across the population as a whole.

’It is true that we are testing more people, but even the proportion that are testing positive is going up as well. So we are concerned about these figures. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how affected you might be by this disease, you can pass the disease on to others including those for whom it can be very serious and lead to hospitalisations or worse or worse. 

‘I understand why people are concerned about figures like these, of course all workplaces are Covid secure and we have put a huge amount of work into making sure that they are, the same goes for schools.

‘It is really important that we reopen the schools because of the impact on children of not getting an education. The workplaces that have reopened they are following Covid secure guidelines, but what really matters is that people follow the social distancing.

When asked if another lockdown (nationwide) was still on the cards, Mr Hancock replied: ‘We will take whatever action is necessary.’

Today’s death toll was significantly smaller. A further two people died after testing positive for the bug in the last 24 hours, bringing the UK’s total death toll to 41,551.

Yesterday saw 1,813 new coronavirus infections – 1,175 fewer cases than today – and 12 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.  

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales today reported no new deaths. 

Some 208 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland alone while Wales has reported 98 new cases. Northern Ireland reported 106.

Experts believe that high case numbers combined with low death tolls could be due to coronavirus spreading in lower doses.

Social distancing measures mean an infected person would only be able to pass on traces of Covid-19 to another person, therefore the virus’s ‘infectious dose’ is lower.

Because the newly-infected person would have a smaller amount of the virus, their symptoms would not be as serious – in a similar manner to chicken pox.

While this would explain why a rise in cases has not lead to a rise in deaths, doctors have stressed that not enough is known about Covid-19 to determine whether it is dose-dependent. 

But other viruses, including SARS and MERS – the coronaviruses behind two previous pandemic outbreaks – follow this pattern. 

Cases of Covid-19 have been slowly creeping up in the UK since early July.

This may seem alarming, but it has not corresponded with an increase in the number of people dying from the virus. 

In the first week of July, the number of new Covid-19 infections hit a low of roughly 550-a-day across the UK.

At that point there were about 150 people hospitalised with the virus every day in England alone and about 30 deaths.

Since then, the number of new infections has steadily risen. Last week, saw about 1,500 positive test results a day.

But the number of patients ending up in hospital and dying have continued to fall.

In the week ending September 4, there were a total of 51 UK deaths. 

In England, there are about 450 patients in hospital with Covid-19 – well below the 17,000 that were during the pandemic’s peak in April.

Even in the Midlands, where there was a significant wave of cases throughout July and a return to lockdown in Leicester, the number of people in hospital or on ventilation has continued to fall.

There are now roughly seven patients in hospital in the Midlands NHS area on ventilators, from a peak of 485.  

Bolton was last night placed under tighter Covid-19 restrictions as the infection rate in the area became the highest in England.

Bolton Council has asked for people in the town to avoid mixing with other households and to only use public transport for essential purposes.

The town’s infection rate recently increased to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week, the highest in England, the council said.  

Greater Manchester as a whole saw 220 confirmed cases on Tuesday followed by 262 on Wednesday. Thursday saw a drop to 67.

Meanwhile, Leeds is teetering on the brink and has been added to Public Health England’s list of areas of concern – while measures will be eased in swathes of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Leicester next week.

The Yorkshire city, home to half a million people, has seen its infection rate rise to 32.4 new cases per 100,000 people, bringing it to the attention of authorities.

London saw 228 cases on August 27, followed by 214 on August 28 and 130 on August 29.

Bristol saw five cases on August 30, which climbed to eight on August 31 and 12 on September 1.

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board saw a spike of 18 cases in one day on August 29. 

Dr Elisabetta Groppelli, a virologist at St George’s University of London, said: ‘If you are exposed to a smaller amount of virus, fewer cells in your body get infected, so there’s time for your immune system to mount a response.

‘If you get lots of cells infected at once, you are already starting on the back foot.

‘There is not particularly solid data for Covid-19 at the moment, but it’s logical.’

Many comparisons have been drawn between Covid-19 and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

A dose-dependent theory would offer an explanation for what happened then, too. 

A 2010 analysis showed the second wave hit poorer communities living in more crowded conditions. They got bigger infectious doses, and many thousands died.

Dr Groppelli added: ‘Age and other illnesses play a huge role. But if I had to be infected with this coronavirus, I’d like the smallest dose possible because that would mean a higher chance of my body getting the infection under control.’ 

Professor Wendy Barclay, who’s head of the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London, added: ‘It’s all about the size of the armies on each side of the battle,’ she says.

‘A very large virus army is difficult for our immune system’s army to fight off.

‘So standing further away from someone when they breathe or cough likely means fewer virus particles reach you, and then you get infected with a lower dose and get less ill.’

On the other hand, there is the possibility that, thanks to distancing and, more importantly, natural pandemic patterns, levels are down to what they were before testing even started – and a rise could still be seen, other medics warn.

Some point out that nothing has changed in the human immune system, so those who are vulnerable will remain so.

And when those levels do rise past a certain point, possibly in a few months’ time, the serious illness and death will follow.

It comes amid concerns that parts of northern England could be in the midst of a coronavirus endemic, according to leaked Public Health England documents.

The analysis claims areas in north-west England where local lockdowns have been put in force – including Bolton, Manchester and Rochdale – ‘never really left the epidemic phase’.

It says 90 per cent of Greater Manchester boroughs are ‘currently experiencing an epidemic phase’.

An epidemic refers to a disease infecting a large group of people whereas endemic is generally when a bug is constantly affecting a particular region.

The paper – marked ‘official sensitive’ and seen by The Observer – looked at areas with a high amount of Covid-19 cases and examined links between large caseloads, economic deprivation, over-crowded housing and larger BAME communitites.

It suggests coronavirus is solidly in place in various areas meaning local lockdowns will hardly make any difference.

While the document – which uses data up until August – does focus on northwestern regions which have been put back into partial lockdowns following a spike in coronavirus cases – it implies the its findings could be used on a national level.

It reads: ‘The overall analysis suggests Bolton, Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale never really left the epidemic phase – and that nine of the 10 boroughs [of Greater Manchester] are currently experiencing an epidemic phase.’

It adds: ‘If we accept the premise that in some areas the infection is now endemic – how does this change our strategy? 

‘If these areas were not able to attain near-zero-Covid status during full lockdown, how realistic is it that we can expect current restriction escalations to work?’ 

Bolton was last night placed under tighter Covid-19 restrictions as the infection rate in the area becomes the highest in England with hundreds of thousands of people banned from mixing.

Bolton Council has asked for people in the town to avoid mixing with other households and to only use public transport for essential purposes.

It comes as the town’s infection rate recently increased to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week, the highest in England, the council said.

Just days earlier, Boris Johnson came under fire for ‘mess after mess’ in the coronavirus crisis after the government performed another embarrassing U-turn on lockdowns.

Bolton and Trafford were among a series of areas in the North West due to see restrictions eased on Wednesday.

But the move was abandoned at the 11th hour after a furious backlash from local politicians including Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who said infection levels were still far too high.

Councillors from both Bolton and Trafford warned of a spike in coronavirus cases – but a lockdown was not put in place until 12 hours after most locals understood that it was lifted. 

Local leaders have repeatedly felt exasperated by the national government throughout the pandemic as confusing 11th-hour rules have left constituents seeking clarity.

Many councils have used volunteers or staff to take on community-lead virus control, focused on communication, the paper reports.

Public health directors have slammed the current approach – where rules and guidance on local lockdowns comes from London – as making their job even more difficult.  

New lockdown rules were also enforced in Glasgow from midnight on Tuesday following a spike in coronavirus cases there.

Under the guidelines – which also apply to West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire – residents are no longer allowed to meet up with other households indoors.

Only essential hospital visits are permitted in the affected areas and anyone visiting a loved one in a care home must do so outside.

The rules will be reviewed after a week but they are set to remain in place for 14 days in total. 

It comes after the NHS regional board of Greater Glasgow and Clyde reported 66 cases of coronavirus in 24 hours – 43 per cent of Scotland’s total cases on Tuesday. 

Addressing the restrictions, Ms Sturgeon wrote on Twitter: ‘I know how difficult this will be – I am a Glasgow resident so these rules apply to me too – but they are essential to, I hope, nip this in bud and avoid tougher restrictions.’

The additional regulations in the three areas come after Aberdeen was thrust into lockdown again on August 5.

The city’s population of more than 200,000 were banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes and pubs, bars and restaurants were shut.

The lockdown rules were then relaxed 18 days later.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *