Covid-19 rates have fallen in nine of the 10 worst-affected areas in England over the past week, showing signs that the country’s epidemic is still on the decline.
The number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus has increased in recent weeks, raising fears that England is heading for a deadly second wave.
But experts say it could simply be due to more precisely targeted testing to detect more cases where there are outbreaks.
However, official NHS figures suggest infection rates have fallen across all Covid-19 hotspots in England in the most recent week.
Between August 15 and 21, case rates per 100,000 population fell by 17% on average in the 10 worst-affected areas, with a drop of almost half (44%) in Blackburn with Darwen.
The infection rate has only increased in one region – Stoke-on-Trent – where the number of cases is worrying from 49 percent to 27.4 per 100,000.
It remains highest in Oldham, Greater Manchester, where 57.3 people are infected per 100,000 people, or about one in 1,700 people.
The Covid-19 infection rate has fallen in all of the worst-affected areas except one in England, according to NHS data, with a week-over-week drop of 44% in Blackburn and Darwen
The number of people officially diagnosed in the UK has increased in recent weeks, but experts say it could be because targeted tests catch a greater proportion of people with the virus, even if there is none. no more.
HOW DO COVID-19 RATES CHANGE IN DIFFICULT AREAS?
Infection rates in England now vary widely across the country, with some areas still severely affected by the virus, while others are nearly Covid-free.
The worst affected areas tend to be in the north and the Midlands with the exception of Swindon, the data shows, while cases are lower across the south.
According to statistics released by NHS Digital, Oldham, Blackburn with Darwen, Leicester and Manchester are the worst affected places, each with more than 40 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population.
Swindon, Bradford, Rochdale and Bury follow, with between 30 and 39 cases.
And with between 25 and 29 cases per 100,000 are Stoke-on-Trent, Calderdale and Salford.
But cases fell in all of those locations except Stoke during the third week of August, suggesting local lockdowns and increased testing are helping bring small outbreaks under control.
In Oldham, the case rate fell 40% in one week, while it fell 27% in Leicester, 36% in Calderdale, 33% in Bradford and 19% in Manchester.
Much of the northwest around Greater Manchester still faces severe restrictions on where people can mix with other households and businesses can open, and there is a targeted local foreclosure in Leicester.
The promising trends in the NHS figures add to the good news in the Office for National Statistics test survey data released last week.
The ONS estimated that there were only 2,400 new cases of Covid-19 per day across the UK, down by a third from 3,800 the week before.
Statisticians from the government agency said that while cases had been on the rise since July – raising fears of a second wave – the upward trajectory of the outbreak had now been halted.
THE CASES HAVE BEEN YET… BUT THE HOSPITALS ARE EMPTY, SAYS BEST DOCTOR
Hospitals are empty despite the increase in coronavirus cases over the past month – and that could be because those most vulnerable to the disease have already died, an intensive care specialist said today.
Dr Ron Daniels, a consultant in the West Midlands, said there were hardly any Covid-19 patients admitted despite government infections showing cases increased in July.
More than 1,000 Britons test positive for the life-threatening disease every day, on average, the data shows – but the numbers appear to have started to drop. There are less than 100 daily hospitalizations for the virus.
By comparison, up to 5,000 people were diagnosed daily during the darkest days of the crisis in April, and up to 2,500 of those patients required hospital care.
However, hospitalization figures at the height of the crisis should be treated with caution as they have been inflated due to a counting error, he emerged last night.
Dr Daniels believes the recent spike in infections is due to young people getting more of the coronavirus, who are unlikely to get seriously ill and need hospital care.
And older, vulnerable populations may have already contracted the disease and died, or are more cautious for fear of catching Covid-19.
Other scientists have speculated that the coronavirus has mutated to become less deadly, but that is “slightly optimistic” in Dr Daniels’ eyes.
The team calculated that 2,400 new infections occur every day in England, which they said was “lower than the week before”.
But they said: “Our modeling suggests that there is not enough evidence to say at this point that there has been a decline in incidence over the most recent week. “
Instead, statisticians claimed the epidemic had “stabilized”. By comparison, the ONS estimated that around 4,200 people were infected each day at the end of July.
Official data in recent weeks has shown coronavirus cases in the UK have risen again after a lull in July.
After more than six weeks of recording fewer than 1,000 cases per day from June 27 to August 8, the Department of Health’s screening program has since recorded more than 1,000 new diagnoses 12 out of 16 days.
And over the past month, the daily average number of people diagnosed each day has increased from 668 per day on July 24 to 1,043 on August 24.
Despite this, there has been no spike in the number of people needing hospital treatment or those who have died.
Experts say the tests may just become more accurate now that they are more widespread and show a greater proportion of actual cases, even if there aren’t more.
Professor Duncan Young, an expert in critical care medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “There are at least three possibilities for increasing the rate of ‘test-positive’ cases compared to hospital admissions.
“One: Overall more people are tested, but the proportion of the population (prevalence) is constant, so it’s just that more cases are detected.
“Two: the proportion of individuals who test positive is increasing (ie there are really more cases).
Third: the tracing system resulted in the screening of more patients at higher risk (due to exposure), which means that there were more positive tests in those tested, but maybe not in the population.
“It could also be a mix of all three.
“If you look at the test and trace statistics… the positive rate went from 1.12% to 1.54% over the same period. Thus, the test numbers have increased by almost 20 percent while the positive rate has increased only slightly.
“So it’s very possible that the increase in cases is mainly related to an increase in testing, but will be a small additional effect of the increase in prevalence.
The Bureau of National Statistics estimates that 2,400 people contract the disease each day, down 37% from 3,800 the previous week.