The latest wave is being driven by the newer variants BA.4 and BA.5, which now account for more than half of all new Covid-19 cases in England, new data shows
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A new Covid-19 variant is being monitored “very closely” by the Government as infection rates and hospitalizations rise across England.
It comes as 7,822 patients had coronavirus in England on June 27, up 37 per cent from the previous week, new NHS figures show.
This is the highest total in almost two months, but is still well below the peak of 16,600 patients during the Omicron BA.2 infection wave earlier this year.
New Omicron variants are being watched carefully, but Boris Johnson’s official spokesman confirmed this evening standard that the government is not considering imposing further restrictions on people.
The latest wave is being driven by the newer variants BA.4 and BA.5, which now account for more than half of all new Covid 19 cases in England.
Research published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) suggests that BA.5 grows around 35 per cent faster than BA.2, while BA.4 grows 1 per cent faster.
This means that BA.5 will likely soon become the dominant Covid-19 variant in the country.
Spokesman No10 added that their occurrence was “likely the driving cause of the rise in cases” but that the Covid vaccinations mean the rise in cases is not resulting in ICU admission or death.
He told the Evening Standard: “The latest data suggest these are now the dominant varieties in the UK. But so far, vaccination means these rising cases have not translated into increases in serious illness or death without an increase in ICU admissions.”
However, according to the UKHSA, there is “currently no evidence” that the two variants cause more severe disease than previous variants.
Professor Susan Hopkins, Senior Medical Advisor to the UKHSA, said: “It is clear that the increasing prevalence of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 is adding significantly to the case numbers that we have been monitoring in recent weeks.
“We have seen hospital admissions increase in line with community infections, but vaccination continues to keep ICU admissions and deaths at low levels.
“Our data also show that 17.5 percent of people aged 75 and over have not received a vaccine in the past six months, putting them at higher risk of serious illness. We especially urge these people to keep themselves informed.”
It’s worth noting that most hospitalized patients who test positive for Covid-19 are being treated primarily for something else and not the virus, but they still need to be isolated from those who don’t have Covid to avoid added pressure exert on hospital staff.
The Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations, school holidays and warm weather are believed to have contributed to the recent spike in cases.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/covid-variants-emerge-cases-rise-27341530 New Covid variants emerge as cases rise and government 'keeps an eye on them'