UK ‘may be over peak’ of latest wave of Covid-19 infections

Infections are falling in nearly all parts of the country.

29 July 2022

Covid-19 infections in the UK have fallen for the first time in two months, though prevalence of the virus remains high, new figures show.

It is the biggest sign so far that the current wave may have peaked, and comes as the number of hospital patients with Covid-19 is also starting to drop.

Infections are not on a clear downwards trend in all parts of the country, however.

Some 3.2 million people in private households in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 20, down 16% from 3.8 million in the previous week, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is the first time total infections have fallen since the week ending May 28.

Sarah Crofts, ONS head of analytical outputs for the Covid-19 infection survey, said: “Our most recent data suggest that we may now be over the peak of the latest wave of infections across the UK, although rates still remain among the highest seen during the course of the pandemic.

“We have seen welcome decreases among most parts of the UK and in all age groups.

“With summer holidays starting and more people travelling, we will continue to closely monitor the data.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

The current wave has been driven by the BA.5 Omicron subvariant, which is now the dominant form of Covid-19 in the country.

High levels of coronavirus antibodies among the population – either from vaccination or previous infection – mean the number of people seriously ill or dying from the virus remains low.

An estimated 2.6 million people in England were likely to have had coronavirus in the week to July 20, the equivalent of around one in 20, the ONS said.

This is down from 3.1 million, or one in 17, a week earlier.

In Scotland, 272,000 people were estimated to have had the virus in the most recent week, or around one in 19.

This is down from 340,900, or one in 15.

Wales has seen infections fall to 156,200, or one in 19 people, down from 183,200, or one in 17.

Northern Ireland is only UK nation to have seen a week-on-week rise in prevalence, though the ONS describes the trend as “uncertain”.

Infections here have increased to an estimated 113,400 people, or one in 16, up from 88,400, or one in 20.

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