UK Covid infections start falling again as country records 88,085 new cases

Date:


New Covid cases in the UK fell today after a brief blip earlier in the week — as it emerged ministers are looking to scrap the daily virus statistics in April.

There were 88,085 more positive coronavirus tests recorded across the country in the last 24 hours, Government dashboard data shows, down nearly 14 per cent in a week.

It follows a two-day spell in which cases had risen week-on-week after officials began counting reinfections in England in the tally.

A technical error means Scotland’s cases have not been counted today, but even with their inclusion the UK total would likely be down on last Wednesday. Scotland has been reporting 2,800 cases on average this week.  

There were also 534 Covid deaths reported today — technically a 54 per cent increase in a week. 

But looking at fatalities by date of death – rather than date reported — shows the number of people actually dying each day has been falling for over a week.

No new hospital figures were published today but daily Covid admissions across Britain have been dropping for more than a fortnight.

The new batch of figures came after it was reported they will be dropped in April under the Government’s plan to live with the virus like the flu. 

Boris Johnson has already laid out his intention to scrap all remaining Covid laws — including the legal requirement for infected people to self-isolate — by March 24.   

Experts today hailed the rumoured move, arguing the Government should also push forward plans to end mass testing. Free lateral flows are not expected to be ditched until July. 

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline ‘we have to stop producing the daily stats’ at some point. 

He claimed April was a ‘reasonable’ time to push ahead with the move, which was leaked to the i newspaper. 

The Government source said that the Prime Minister himself has ‘pencilled in Easter as the latest date by which the daily Covid statistics will be published in their current form’. 

Lockdowns only reduced Covid deaths by 0.2% at ‘enormous economic and social costs’, study finds 

The original coronavirus lockdowns had ‘little to no’ effect on pandemic death tolls in the US, UK and Europe, a controversial report suggests.  

Economists who carried out a meta-analysis found draconian restrictions imposed in spring 2020 — including stay-at-home orders, compulsory masks and social distancing — only reduced Covid mortality by 0.2 per cent.   

They warned that lockdowns caused ‘enormous economic and social costs’ and concluded they were ‘ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument’ going forward.

The review, led by a Johns Hopkins University professor, argued that border closures had virtually zero effect on Covid mortality, reducing deaths by just 0.1 per cent.

However, closing nonessential shops was found to be the most effective intervention, leading to a 10.6 per cent drop in virus fatalities. 

Their report, which has not been peer-reviewed, said that this was probably due to shutting pubs and restaurants where alcohol is consumed. School closures were linked to a smaller 4.4 per cent decrease. 

The researchers — who deal in the field of economics, rather than medicine or public health — originally identified 18,590 global studies into lockdowns, which they claim had to be whittled down to just 24 to answer their research question.

Critics have accused them of ‘cherry-picking’ studies to suit their narrative and have raised doubts about the biases of its authors, who have been vocal about lockdowns and vaccine mandates on social media. 

Most scientists believe that, before the arrival of vaccines and antivirals, lockdowns had a significant effect on cutting transmission and therefore reducing the number of hospital admissions and deaths caused by Covid.

‘In an ideal situation, he (Mr Johnson) will bring an end to them sooner if the current downward trend in deaths continues,’ the insider added.

‘Ending the daily Covid death toll is part of the Prime Minister’s strategy of living with Covid. It is hoped taking the focus away from the Covid figures will also help people move on with their lives.’

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Department of Health and Social Care both declined to comment.      Scientists have repeatedly called for an end to the daily updates since the Omicron wave took off.

The link between infections and severe disease has been severed too much to justify keeping a ticking count of every case in the country, they say. 

Professor Hunter told MailOnline: ‘At some point we have to stop producing the daily stats.’ He said the ‘large majority’ of experts have known for years the coronavirus won’t be going away, with most also believing it will evolve into a common cold. 

Professor Hunter said: ‘If anything the evidence that this is the case is stronger now than it was back then.’

He warned it may be too early to scrap the counts now because of high infections and the emergence of the BA.2 variant, but by April weekly counts like with flu are likely to be ‘appropriate’. 

The epidemiologist said: ‘April may well be a reasonable time to stop but clearly a lot can happen before then. Any final decision should be taken closer to the time when we can see what is happening at that point.

‘Also at that point, we should also consider whether the large scale testing of asymptomatic individuals is still worthwhile. 

‘My view is that is probably won’t be worthwhile and we should then stop large scale testing. 

‘We still need to be able to offer testing to people who are clearly ill and so a move more towards what we now do for influenza seems appropriate.’

He suggested the weekly reporting of cases, deaths and hospitalisations as with flu ‘would be the way forward’.

Professor David Livermore, a medical microbiologist at UEA, agreed April would be the right time to ditch the stats and mass testing.

He told MailOnline: ‘It is the right thing to do: daily case statistics and mass testing both need to be wound down.

‘The virus has mutated to a milder form, and there is substantial population immunity from recent infection and vaccination.

‘Consequently, the infection fatality rate is now little different from that of flu, and we don’t obsess over daily case rates for that, even in a bad winter.’

He said the only updates needed going forward are background surveillance like the Royal College of GPs Respiratory Infections Surveillance study. 

It comes after MailOnline analysis yesterday revealed Covid’s fatality rate is actually lower than thought.

Mortality rates from the virus are up to 30 times lower now than during the second wave, thanks to the build-up of natural immunity, a hugely successful vaccination drive and the milder nature of Omicron.

But the proportion of infected people who end up dying has fallen by another 10 per cent after the inclusion of nearly 600,000 reinfections, data suggests.

Just 0.23 per cent of all confirmed cases led to deaths in England before the long-awaited addition of reinfections, UK Health Security Agency statistics suggest. However, the rate for exactly the same time period — which relates to mid-January — has now dropped to 0.21 per cent because of the addition of extra cases.

This is still slightly above flu, which has a case-fatality rate of around 0.1 per cent. But some experts claim the two figures are very similar, even if coronavirus is much more transmissible.

Meanwhile, a controversial report found the original coronavirus lockdowns had ‘little to no’ effect on pandemic death tolls in the US, UK and Europe.

A new report led by a Johns Hopkins University economist found that overall, lockdowns reduced Covid mortality in the US and Europe - including Britain - by just 0.2 per cent. Looking at stay-at-home orders directly, they were slightly more effective at 2.9 per cent. closing nonessential shops was the most effective intervention, leading to a 10.6 per cent drop in virus fatalities. The report , which has not been peer-reviewed, said that this was probably due to shutting pubs and restaurants where alcohol is conumed. School closures were linked to a smaller 4.4 per cent decrease

A new report led by a Johns Hopkins University economist found that overall, lockdowns reduced Covid mortality in the US and Europe – including Britain – by just 0.2 per cent. Looking at stay-at-home orders directly, they were slightly more effective at 2.9 per cent. closing nonessential shops was the most effective intervention, leading to a 10.6 per cent drop in virus fatalities. The report, which has not been peer-reviewed, said that this was probably due to shutting pubs and restaurants where alcohol is consumed. School closures were linked to a smaller 4.4 per cent decrease

Above shows the top 10 countries with the highest Covid death rates, followed by the US, UK Canada, Australia and New Zealand for comparison

Above shows the top 10 countries with the highest Covid death rates, followed by the US, UK Canada, Australia and New Zealand for comparison 

Daily Covid deaths in some of the West's major economies: the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany

Daily Covid deaths in some of the West’s major economies: the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany

Economists who carried out a meta-analysis found draconian restrictions imposed in spring 2020 — including stay-at-home orders, compulsory masks and social distancing — only reduced Covid mortality by 0.2 per cent.   

They warned that lockdowns caused ‘enormous economic and social costs’ and concluded they were ‘ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument’ going forward.

The review, led by a Johns Hopkins University professor, argued that border closures had virtually zero effect on Covid mortality, reducing deaths by just 0.1 per cent.

However, closing nonessential shops was found to be the most effective intervention, leading to a 10.6 per cent drop in virus fatalities. 

Their report, which has not been peer-reviewed, said that this was probably due to shutting pubs and restaurants where alcohol is consumed. School closures were linked to a smaller 4.4 per cent decrease. 

The researchers — who deal in the field of economics, rather than medicine or public health — originally identified 18,590 global studies into lockdowns, which they claim had to be whittled down to just 24 to answer their research question.

Critics have accused them of ‘cherry-picking’ studies to suit their narrative and have raised doubts about the biases of its authors, who have been vocal about lockdowns and vaccine mandates on social media. 

Most scientists believe that, before the arrival of vaccines and antivirals, lockdowns had a significant effect on cutting transmission and therefore reducing the number of hospital admissions and deaths caused by Covid. 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe

Popular

More like this
Related

MultiVersus servers down TODAY: New patch drops after season 1 launch

MultiVersus fans will see servers go down for...

The skin cancer sign to spot 'under the armpit' before the disease becomes incurable

The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that even one...

Massachusetts' lottery numbers for Tuesday, Aug. 16

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! ...