ONS data show an estimated one in 13 people in England had Covid this week, up from one in 16 the week before, and in Wales it’s one in 14 people, down from one in 16
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Covid infection numbers have hit record high across the UK as free Covid-19 Tests for millions in England come to an end.
An estimated 4.9 million people in the UK had Covid-19 in the week to March 2, up from 4.3 million the previous week, the Office for National Statistics said.
the ONE Data shows an estimated one in 13 people in England had Covid this week, up from one in 16 the week before, and in Wales it is one in 14 people, down from one in 16.
Both are record highs and it comes after experts warned that at such levels, anyone in the population who can get Covid is likely to get it.
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dr David Wrigley, vice-chairman of the British Medical Association, said: “The number of people with Covid is now at an alarming rate with the highest number of infections we have ever seen, and hospitalizations and deaths are also on the rise.
“Right now we are in a situation where Covid is rampant across the UK and yet tests – a simple tool for people to know if they have the infection – are no longer made available to our patients free of charge.
“This means that as infection rates rise, people do not know if they are infected and need to self-isolate, and are therefore unable to protect family members and the wider community.”
Covid hospital admissions are now higher than the January peak, but numbers in intensive care and dying are still lower than previous waves.
It comes as more than 800 local test centers in parking garages, community halls and malls have been dismantled.
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King’s College London’s Prof Tim Spector, who runs the Zoe Covid tracking app, said the timing for the end of free testing “couldn’t really be worse”.
He said England are now in a situation where they “have to rely on the public actually doing the right thing and doing these tests themselves if they get sick”.
He said: “If we’re not doing free testing then let’s have a clear policy on how to know you’re infected and therefore how to self-isolate.
“To do this, the government has to admit that the symptoms of Covid have changed over the past two years and that 80% of people now have cold-like symptoms.
“And there should be a public health campaign right now to say if your chances of getting Covid are better than a cold… test if you can afford it – (and) even if you can’t.” – assume you’ve got Covid.”
Britain’s Health Safety Agency today said the R range had dropped to between 1.1 and 1.2. Last week it was estimated at 1.1 to 1.4.
BA.2 is a subvariant of omicron which cannot be identified by standard PCR tests and is therefore referred to as the “Stealth Omicron”.
It is spreading faster than its predecessor and UKHSA data showed it now accounts for more than 90% of Covid cases.
Kara Steel, lead statistician for the ONS Covid-19 infection survey, said: “Infection rates remain high, with the highest levels in our survey being recorded in England and Wales and notable increases among older age groups.
“The rapid rise continues to be fueled by the growth of the Omicron BA.2 variant across the UK.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/covid-infection-levels-hit-record-26614588 Covid infection numbers hit record high as free testing ends for millions