Britain’s Covid outbreak continues to shrink: UK records another 12,027 cases plunging by 20% in a week and deaths fall by a third to 533 – as R rate drops to lowest EVER rate and could be just 0.6
- Department of Health statistics today confirmed Britain’s second wave of the pandemic is still shrinking
- Sage also said the UK’s R rate has fallen again and is now between 0.6 and 0.9, as infections continue to fall
- Office for National Statistics data showed there were 481,300 people in England with the virus last week
- This is 30 per cent below the same time last week, and 43 per cent less than two weeks ago, data showed
- ONS survey is seen as the gold-standard by ministers and is based on thousands of random swabs
- It comes as NHS hospitals started treating fewer Covid patients than during the darkest days of the first wave
- Official data showed there were 20,156 Covid patients in hospital compared to 39,242 in January
PUBLISHED: 12:29, 19 February 2021 | UPDATED: 17:41, 19 February 2021
Britain today recorded another 12,027 coronavirus cases and 533 deaths, as an array of official data confirmed the second wave is still firmly in retreat and piled further pressure on Boris Johnson to drastically ease restrictions in the coming weeks.
Department of Health data showed infections had fallen by 20 per cent week-on-week, and the number of victims of the disease plunged by a third. In other promising news, almost 17million Britons have now also received their first dose of a Covid vaccine.
It comes as No10’s top scientific advisers today predicted Britain’s R rate – the average number of people each coronavirus patient passes the disease on to – was between 0.6 and 0.9. Last week it stood at 0.7 to 0.9 and two weeks ago they warned it could be above the crucial level of one, suggesting the second wave was stable.Read More
Separate figures from one of the UK’s most respected coronavirus surveillance studies today showed the number of people infected in England has fallen by nearly 50 per cent in the last fortnight.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) experts estimated 481,300 people in the nation would test positive for Covid on any given day in the week to February 12 – the equivalent of one in 115 people. For comparison, the figure was around 850,000 two weeks ago.
And in yet more proof that the second wave is firmly in retreat, hospitals are now also treating fewer coronavirus patients than they were during the darkest days of the first wave last spring. The number of NHS beds taken up by Covid-infected Britons has halved since January to around 20,000.
The catalogue of promising data – combined with Britain’s successful vaccine roll-out – will pile more pressure on Mr Johnson to drastically ease restrictions when he unveils his roadmap back to normality on Monday. Anti-lockdown Tory MPs have urged the PM to scrap economically-crippling measures as quickly as possible.
The Prime Minister has promised to rely on ‘data not dates’ in his blueprint to leaving lockdown, amid hopes the UK may never need another blanket shutdown to contain Covid and that life could be a ‘lot more normal’ by May. Pubs and restaurants will likely be the final parts of the economy allowed to fully reopen under the cautious approach.
But even SAGE scientists – who have offered gloomy predictions throughout the pandemic – have admitted the data is pointing in the right direction. One epidemiologist advising No10 told MPs that ministers should be looking at easing restrictions earlier, if they were truly following the evidence.
But other researchers tracking the UK’s shrinking second wave have flagged it may now no longer be dropping as rapidly as it once was. The King’s College London symptom-tracking app today estimated there were 14,064 new symptomatic infections every day during the week ending February 14 – just 5 per cent down in a week.+18