Covid-19 infections in the UK increased by about 7%, with the increase continuing to be driven by the latest Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
The number of hospitalizations also continues to increase, with early signs of an increase in intensive care admissions among the older age groups.
An estimated 3.8 million people in private homes experienced it in the week ending July 14, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In the previous week, there were about 3.3 million cases across the UK.
This is the highest estimate of total infections since late April, but it’s still just below the record 4.9 million seen at the height of the Omicron BA.2 wave in late March.
Office for National Statistics data shows that in the summer of 2020, less than 0.1% of the population in England tested positive, while in 2021 the result was 1.57%. Now it is about 4%.
The latest report from the Covid ZOE analytics app shows that sore throats are now the most frequently reported symptom.
The ZOE study allows infected people to report their symptoms while suffering from the virus.
The data provided is then analyzed by researchers at King’s College London who track infections across the UK, as well as identifying who is most at risk and where the high-risk areas are.
Nearly 58% of all Covid patients who used the app reported a sore throat before returning positive for a test.
Headache, stuffy nose, and cough have been reported as the following most common symptoms.
Professor Tim Spector, who leads the ZOE project, said: “Covid is still rampant in the population. Data from the ZOE Health Study shows there have been more than 350,000 daily Covid cases this week – a new record for the UK.
“So much so that if you have any symptoms of a cold at the moment, it is twice as likely to be Covid than a cold.
“Even if people have had a previous infection and are fully vaccinated, people can still get it.
“While we all want to make the most of good weather, people will need to decide for themselves whether it’s worth going to big events, working in the office, or using crowded public transportation.”
Sarah Crofts, Head of Analytical Outcomes for Covid Infection Research at ONS, said: “Across the UK, we have seen a continuous increase of more than half a million infections, likely due to the growth of the BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
“This increase is observed in all ages, countries and regions in England.
“We will continue to monitor the data closely to see if this growth continues in the coming weeks.”
Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programs at the UK Health Safety Agency, said: “We continue to see an increase in Covid-19 data, with increases in case and hospitalization rates in people over 65 and outbreaks in care homes.
“We can now also see an increase in ICU admissions in older age groups.
“Vaccination remains the best defense against serious illness and hospitalization. Covid-19 has not gone away and we must all remember keeping our hands and respiratory system clean.
“It also makes sense to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces.”
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