England has recorded its longest continuous series of declining daily coronavirus cases since February, as Covid-19-related hospital admissions began to decline in every region of the country, according to an FT analysis of official data.
The number of new daily cases reported in England was lower than a week earlier for 18 consecutive days, the longest series of week-to-week declines since February when the strict lock-in restrictions contributed to a 42-day decline in ‘ n ry.
The reduced case rates also began to push through to lower weekly hospital admissions, which fell by 12 percent to 5,378 hospitalizations in the seven days to November 8.
On Wednesday, 31,541 new cases were reported in England, down about 8 per cent on the same day last week. But business remains above the level of early August when it dropped to below 20,000 a day – the lowest daily caseload recorded since most legal limits on social contact were lifted at the end of July.
Separate data from the Office for National Statistics, published on Wednesday, showed a surge in antibody levels in the 80s to 92 percent – after falling by six percentage points to 88 percent between June and October – affecting the impact of the booster reflects campaign.
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the ONS antibody survey provided “one of the first signs that the drive-in campaign is indeed raising antibody levels and therefore immunity.”
Eight out of 10 people with double stitches in England aged 80 and older, who had their second dose at least six months ago, have now received a scratch shot, as well as 69 per cent of those in the 70 to 79 age group. Case rates are falling fastest among those over 80, by about 30 percent week-to-week.
Prof Julian Hiscox, chair of infection and global health at the University of Liverpool, told the FT that the downward trend in infections is “unique” because it was “caused almost entirely by the wall of immunity, rather than behavioral changes or limitations. “.
He added: “We could end up in a very nice window thanks to the timing of our booster program, whereby our peak in population immunity coincides with the winter months when the health service is under the most pressure.”
But other scientists have warned that a continuous drop in cases is unlikely due to increased indoor mixing over the festive season, leading to more Covid transmission.
“It does look like it has been turned around now, but [the descent] will be slower and more painful, with plateaus and bumps in cases and hospitalizations, and it’s all about behavior, ”says Prof Ewan Birney, Deputy Director-General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. “If everyone holds big Christmas parties, it can go up again.”
Rohini Mathur, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the epidemic in England was “in a period of transition” with increases in international travel and social mixing opposed to the deployment of vaccines to children and increased risks is set. groups.
“The recent reductions we have seen are still relatively small in scope and do not yet indicate any kind of longer-term trend,” says Mathur.
Mathur added that the UK, despite the impetus rollout, could still struggle to cross the herd immunity threshold, a level of protection that would bring the pandemic under control.
“I think our chances of achieving herd immunity will be more fully realized once we have reached high vaccination rates in children and addressed issues around vaccine reluctance and misinformation that still keep some key groups away. [from getting a first dose], “she said.