CORONAVIRUS infections have surged among middle-aged Brits – as cases in over-50s rocketed by 92 per cent last week.
Senior government officials have said the rise in cases in higher risk groups is “worrying” as Downing Street looks to stem the spread of the bug heading into the winter.
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Public Health England data seen by the Telegraph shows that infections have surged 92 per cent among people aged 50 to 59 last week, 72 per cent among those in their 60s and 44 per cent among those aged 80 or above.
Overall, there were 1,635 new infections recorded among people aged 50 and over in the last week, compared with 915 in the previous seven days.
It comes amidst a rise in cases among the general population, with the UK recording over 3,539 cases yesterday – marking the highest daily case rise since mid-May.
Yvonne Doyle, medical director of PHE, said of the rise in cases among over-50s: “Although younger people continue to make up the greatest share of new cases, we’re now starting to see worrying signs of infections occurring in the elderly, who are at far higher risk of getting seriously ill.”
Until Friday, coronavirus cases had predominantly been rising among under-25s – who are statistically at far less risk of severe health complications from contracting the virus.
But the new spike in infections in older-age groups has also resulted in an increase in hospital admissions, which were up 20 per cent last week compared with the week before among those aged 60 to 75.
A source within Public Health England told the Telegraph this has not yet resulted in a surge in intensive care unit admissions, but added: “The great worry is that that is what’s coming next.”
Health secretary Matt Hancock has pointed to the rise in cases among at-risk groups as a justification for new restrictions imposed nationally.
He said yesterday: “We’ve seen all across the world how a rise in cases, initially among younger people, leads to hospitalisations and fatalities.
“The pandemic is not over, and everyone has a role to play to keep the virus at bay and avoid further restrictions.”
The government’s new ‘rule of six’ – which sees group meet ups limited to six people- is set to come into force on Monday in the first tightening of restrictions nationally since lockdown was eased in May.
It comes as Birmingham, England’s second largest city, saw tough new measures imposed after a spike in cases.
Households will be banned from meeting indoors from next week in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull after the region’s seven-day infection rate rose to 78.2 cases per 100,000 in the period up to September 8.
New areas of the country have also been added recently to the government’s ‘watch list’ – with Newcastle, Leeds and Merseyside facing the risk of a local lockdown.
The areas are among nine now being kept under closer review after a surge in cases.
The PM has all but cancelled Christmas after saying stringent new restrictions could go on for six months.
And he announced plans to spend £100 billion on Operation Moonshot, which could see every Brit in the UK getting a test.
The R rate has soared to 1.7, with Matt Hancock warning the rise – which he says is fuelled by young Brits – justifies the strict new rule of six.