Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street, Sir Patrick Vallance said: “In terms of the number of people hospitalized who have been doubly vaccinated, we know that around 60% of people admitted to hospital with COVID.
“We expect that there will be over 1,000 people hospitalized per day with coronavirus due to the increase in infections.
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“But the rates are expected to be lower than they were before because of the protective effects of the vaccination. “
He said it was not surprising “because vaccines are not 100% effective”.
“They are very, very effective, but not 100%, and since a higher proportion of the population is doubly vaccinated, it is inevitable that this 10% of this very large number remains at risk, and will therefore be among the people who both catch the infection and end up in the hospital. “
Meanwhile, most parts of England now have more coronavirus patients in hospital than at any time since mid-March.
Two regions – the South West of England and the Combined North East of England and Yorkshire – have returned to levels last seen over four months ago.
For England as a whole, there are now 3,813 hospital patients with COVID-19 – the highest number since March 24.
Sir Patrick also warned that there were “high levels of COVID and they are increasing”.
He said the UK was pretty close to the previous ‘winter wave’ of infections.
“In the winter wave, we were up to about 60,000 people testing positive per day,” he said.
“We’re now somewhere around 50,000. So we’re pretty close to the size of the winter infection wave and it’s going to increase. “
He said the timing of the virus’s next peak would be “uncertain”.
He said: “But most models suggest that there should be a peak and start to see some kind of plateau or decrease during the month of August.
“And at this point, if things keep going up at the rate they are – and like I said at the start, there’s something like 50,000 or almost 50,000 cases a day, or positives a day. , right now detected – with a doubling time of 11 days, you can see that this is reaching pretty high numbers very quickly.
“And another doubling time will get you to even higher numbers, of course – that would be really enough, quite worrying. So we would like to see a flattening of that, a decrease in trajectory, and ideally, as you rightly say, you would like it to decrease by September, because the return of schools would add additional pressure to that. “
England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam added that the uncertainty would be “driven by human behavior over the next four to six weeks”.
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He said, “So really, it’s kind of in everyone’s hands, yours and mine.
“If we’re progressive and careful, and we don’t rip the pants off just because we’re happy to regain our full freedom, then we’ll materially affect the size and shape of the rest of this epidemic curve and where the peak occurs.” , and how big is it.
“It’s literally in the hands of the public, in terms of behavior. “
Hospitalization data is no reason to doubt the vaccine
Analysis by Thomas Moore, scientific correspondent
The majority of people hospitalized with COVID at this time have been fully vaccinated.
It will come as a surprise to many, despite the assurance from Chief Scientist Sir Patrick Vallance that it was to be expected.
But he’s right.
First, two doses of Pfizer jab are 96% effective in preventing hospitalization. For the AstraZeneca photo, the figure is 92%.
So even though the protection is high, it is not 100%.
Second, the older you are, the more likely you are to end up gravely ill if you contract COVID.
So if the virus crosses the protective barrier of the vaccine, you are even more likely to end up in the hospital if you are over 50.
This is no reason to doubt the vaccine.
But it’s a reason for everyone to get the vaccine and reduce the levels of the virus spreading in the community. This would mean that there are less risks for the elderly doubly vaccinated.
The good news is that the death rate is still much lower than in previous waves – around one in 1,000 infections currently leads to death, up from around one in 50 in January. This is partly thanks to the vaccine, but also to better drug treatment for those hospitalized.
So even if people who have been twice vaccinated always end up in the hospital, they have a much better chance of survival.