Third wave of infections will continue ‘for longer than expected because of England’s Euro 2020 run’

Britain’s third wave of infections will continue ‘longer than expected’ because of England’s Euro 2020 success and outbreaks of the Indian variant in Cornwall, Devon and Brighton sparked by staycations, a top expert has warned.

King’s College London‘s Covid symptom study estimated there were 25,210 new cases every day in the UK last week, up by almost a third (31 per cent) from the previous seven-day spell.

There was a 50 per cent increase in the number of partially or fully vaccinated people suffering symptoms of the virus and getting a positive test — but in most cases these were mild and similar to a bad cold. More than 80 per cent of cases were among the unvaccinated.

Separate data from Test and Trace today showed Covid cases rose by 43 per cent last week, after 79,248 people tested positive over the seven days to June 23. There were 55,577 cases in the previous week.

Professor Tim Spector, who leads Britain’s biggest Covid surveillance study, warned fans meeting to watch the Euro 2020 football matches would almost certainly be fuelling a surge in infections.

He added that rates were also spiralling in popular holiday hotspots including along the South coast, amid a staycation boom because of mounting restrictions on international travel.

The top epidemiologist called on Britons to remain ‘extra vigilant’ and continue to follow measures to limit the spread of the virus.

‘With the summer holidays approaching, we need to remain extra vigilant and avoid unnecessary risks,’ he said. ‘Euro 2020 has the potential to spread the virus among tens of thousands of fans, so I think because of these factors we’ll continue to see high rates for longer than expected.’

Scottish health officials linked almost 2,000 cases to the football yesterday, two-thirds of which were among fans who travelled to London to watch their team’s crunch tie with England.

The country’s cases are doubling every seven days and yesterday public health chiefs recorded 3,887 positive tests, the highest number north of the border since the pandemic began.

There are now escalating fears that England’s infection numbers will follow suit, particularly after the Three Lions qualified for the final stage of the tournament. But hospitalisations and deaths are still flat with just one in 100 NHS beds in England occupied by virus patients compared to one in six at the start of the second wave in December. 

The ZOE Covid symptom study uses daily reports from more than a million Britons on whether they feel unwell and have tested positive for Covid to estimate the spread of the virus across the country.

But it relies on participants suffering warning signs of the virus meaning the study misses asymptomatic cases — which trigger no symptoms — thought to make up about a third of all infections.

Those reporting symptoms are also asked to report whether they have been vaccinated, allowing scientists behind the study to monitor infections among those who are jabbed and whether they spark different symptoms.

Professor Tim Spector, the scientist behind the UK's biggest symptom tracking study ZOE, said the Euro 2020 matches and staycations would fuel a surge in Covid cases

Professor Tim Spector, the scientist behind the UK's biggest symptom tracking study ZOE, said the Euro 2020 matches and staycations would fuel a surge in Covid cases

Professor Tim Spector, the scientist behind the UK’s biggest symptom tracking study ZOE, said the Euro 2020 matches and staycations would fuel a surge in Covid cases

Scientists have raised fears that Euro 2020 matches could accelerate the spread of Covid in the country, after fans were pictured cramming together in pubs, bars and the street with scant regard for social distancing.

UEFA’s medical chief has admitted it ‘cannot be excluded’ that there could be a local increase in Covid cases linked to matches.

Euro 2020 medical adviser Dr Daniel Koch said on Thursday: ‘It cannot be totally excluded that events and gatherings could ultimately lead to some local increase in the number of cases.

‘But this would not only apply to football matches, but also to any kind of situations that are now allowed as part of the easing measures decided by the competent local authorities.

‘The intensive vaccination campaigns that have been rolled out across Europe and the border controls will help ensure that no new big wave will start in Europe and put pressure on the respective health systems, as was the case during the previous infection waves.’

Experts have told MailOnline that it is highly likely gatherings due to the football will spark an uptick in caes in the coming days, which will only get worse as the further the team progresses in the competition. The next game, against Ukraine, is on Saturday.

Professor Lawrence Young, a virus expert and molecular oncologist at Warwick Medical School, told MailOnline: ‘You can’t help but let the whole thing be rather tinged with fears that this will result in a surge in infections. People are just letting their guard down and I think a degree of complacency is creeping in.’

But thanks to the highly successful vaccine rollout, the key metrics ministers will be looking at is hospitalisations and deaths – which have stayed flat even in Scotland as cases skyrocket. 

Just 32 people are being admitted to hospital in Scotland with the disease every day, which is almost double the amount last month but still low when compared to previous waves. For comparison, in the darkest days of January there were 195 admissions a day. 

England football fans celebrated their 2-0 victory against Germany yesterday in pubs, bars and in the street. Scientists have raised concerns that this could accelerate England's cases further. (Pictured: Three Lions supporters celebrate in Digbeth, Birmingham)

England football fans celebrated their 2-0 victory against Germany yesterday in pubs, bars and in the street. Scientists have raised concerns that this could accelerate England's cases further. (Pictured: Three Lions supporters celebrate in Digbeth, Birmingham)

England football fans celebrated their 2-0 victory against Germany yesterday in pubs, bars and in the street. Scientists have raised concerns that this could accelerate England’s cases further. (Pictured: Three Lions supporters celebrate in Digbeth, Birmingham)

Celebrations where friends embraced each other were pictured across the country. (Above: Three Lions supporters celebrate the victory at Boxpark in Croydon, London)

Celebrations where friends embraced each other were pictured across the country. (Above: Three Lions supporters celebrate the victory at Boxpark in Croydon, London)

Celebrations where friends embraced each other were pictured across the country. (Above: Three Lions supporters celebrate the victory at Boxpark in Croydon, London) 

This graph shows the number of cases recorded every day in Scotland (purple bars) by the date the test was taken. Experts say this is more reliable because it is not affected by fluctuations in the number of tests that can be processed daily. The graph also shows the daily average for the number of positive tests (green line). Scotland's cases are doubling every six days at the moment and are higher than the peak of the second wave

This graph shows the number of cases recorded every day in Scotland (purple bars) by the date the test was taken. Experts say this is more reliable because it is not affected by fluctuations in the number of tests that can be processed daily. The graph also shows the daily average for the number of positive tests (green line). Scotland's cases are doubling every six days at the moment and are higher than the peak of the second wave

This graph shows the number of cases recorded every day in Scotland (purple bars) by the date the test was taken. Experts say this is more reliable because it is not affected by fluctuations in the number of tests that can be processed daily. The graph also shows the daily average for the number of positive tests (green line). Scotland’s cases are doubling every six days at the moment and are higher than the peak of the second wave

Scotland's Covid hospitalisations have remained flat, however, since cases began to rise (daily hospitalisations are the blue bars, and the average is the blue line). Just 32 people are being admitted to hospital in Scotland with the disease every day, which is almost double the amount last month but still low when compared to previous waves. For comparison, in the darkest days of January there were 195 admissions a day

Scotland's Covid hospitalisations have remained flat, however, since cases began to rise (daily hospitalisations are the blue bars, and the average is the blue line). Just 32 people are being admitted to hospital in Scotland with the disease every day, which is almost double the amount last month but still low when compared to previous waves. For comparison, in the darkest days of January there were 195 admissions a day

Scotland’s Covid hospitalisations have remained flat, however, since cases began to rise (daily hospitalisations are the blue bars, and the average is the blue line). Just 32 people are being admitted to hospital in Scotland with the disease every day, which is almost double the amount last month but still low when compared to previous waves. For comparison, in the darkest days of January there were 195 admissions a day

There are growing fears that England's Covid cases could follow the same trajectory as Scotland's following their 2-0 win against Germany yesterday. The above graph shows cases are already rising in the country (blue bars show the number of new cases a day, and the blue line shows the average)

There are growing fears that England's Covid cases could follow the same trajectory as Scotland's following their 2-0 win against Germany yesterday. The above graph shows cases are already rising in the country (blue bars show the number of new cases a day, and the blue line shows the average)

There are growing fears that England’s Covid cases could follow the same trajectory as Scotland’s following their 2-0 win against Germany yesterday. The above graph shows cases are already rising in the country (blue bars show the number of new cases a day, and the blue line shows the average)

But, like in Scotland, England's hospitalisations are also still flat. The country is currently averaging around 200 a day, a slight rise from 186 last week. But this remains far below the peak of the second wave in January, when there were more than 3,500 hospitalisations a day. Vaccine-triggered immunity is keeping hospitalisations low

But, like in Scotland, England's hospitalisations are also still flat. The country is currently averaging around 200 a day, a slight rise from 186 last week. But this remains far below the peak of the second wave in January, when there were more than 3,500 hospitalisations a day. Vaccine-triggered immunity is keeping hospitalisations low

But, like in Scotland, England’s hospitalisations are also still flat. The country is currently averaging around 200 a day, a slight rise from 186 last week. But this remains far below the peak of the second wave in January, when there were more than 3,500 hospitalisations a day. Vaccine-triggered immunity is keeping hospitalisations low

Scientists behind the ZOE app found infections among Britons who had received either one or both doses rose by 49 per cent in the week to June 26, from 4,023 to 5,982 new daily cases.

Among the un-vaccinated they increased by 27 per cent, from 15,099 to 19,228 new daily cases. The total number of infections was more than four times higher than among those getting vaccines.

More than 44.7million Britons — or 84.9 per cent of adults — have received their first dose, and a further 32.8million  — or 62.4 per cent — have got both doses.

Professor Tim Spector said they were finding those who caught Covid after being vaccinated suffered a milder form of the disease similar to a cold, with sneezing emerging as a new symptom.

‘While rates of Covid infection are high, it’s reassuring to see vaccinations protecting the vulnerable and deaths remain very low,’ he said.

‘ZOE Covid study data shows symptoms are more mild and are similar to those of a bad cold, with a runny nose, headache and a sore throat among the top symptoms for all groups. Sneezing has also emerged as a symptom among partially and fully vaccinated people.’

The top epidemiologist today called for the NHS symptoms list to be expanded — which only includes a temperature, new cough and loss of taste and smell — saying it was leading to many infections not being missed.

‘Cases are being missed and increasing the spread because people are unaware (they have symptoms of the virus),’ he said.

‘So it’s crucial that we all recognise cold-like symptoms as possible Covid and get tested. While Covid doesn’t kill in the numbers it once did, it is still a dangerous and unpredictable disease that can leave people with long lasting symptoms.’

Professor Spector has repeatedly called for the symptoms list to be expanded. SAGE scientist Professor Calum Semple has also urged ministers to expand the list, saying the UK’s narrow definition leads to delays in identifying people suffering from the disease and may miss them altogether, hampering efforts to control its spread.

ZOE study data predicted Covid outbreaks are surging fastest in the West Midlands (80 per cent rise in a week), the South East (52 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (37 per cent), the app predicted. They added the North West has the most daily Covid cases in the country at 4,732 new infections a day, up 18 per cent in a week. 

But separate data shows hospitalisations due to the virus remain in very low numbers, suggesting the NHS is unlikely to be overwhelmed by Covid any time soon.

Link hienalouca.com

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