Covid infection rate falls as country edges back to normality

Covid infection rate falls as country edges back to normality


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The update came as it emerged that people who are fully jabbed and have also caught the virus appear to develop “super immunity”. Prevalence in England reached the highest peak yet recorded from January 5 to 20, with an average of one in 23 people infected. This was almost three times higher than the one in 64 ratio in January 2021 amid the second wave.

Trends were less certain last week, with cases decreasing in adults but soaring in children.

The latest round of Imperial College London’s React-1 survey, based on swabs from more than 100,000 people, provided the data.

Experts remain worried about rising rates among children this month.

The highest prevalence ‑ one case in every 13 youngsters ‑ was noted in the five to 11 age group.

Prof Paul Elliott, of Imperial, said: “There is good news in our data in that infections had been rapidly dropping during January.

“But they are still extremely high and may have recently stalled at a very high prevalence.

“Of particular concern is that there is rapidly increasing prevalence among children now they are mixing more since the school term started.”

He warned that the infection rate among over-65s was between seven and 12-fold higher in January compared to December. This may yet lead to an increase in hospital admissions.

Prof Elliott added: “It’s vital we continue to monitor the situation closely to understand the impact of the Omicron variant, which now makes up almost all infections.”

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “The latest round of React data reiterates that while case rates have slowed recently, prevalence is still high.

“Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself from severe disease and hospitalisation. The impact the vaccination is having on preventing severe disease and hospitalisations is clear to see.”

More promising news came in the form of a US study, which shows “amazingly strong” immunity is generated in people who have tested positive and have been fully jabbed.

Oregon Health & Science University researchers call the boosted state as “hybrid immunity”.

Study author Fikadu Tafesse said: “It makes no difference whether you get infected then vaccinated, or if you get vaccinated then suffer a breakthrough infection.

“In either case, you will get a really, really robust immune response – amazingly high.”

The study was carried out before the emergence of Omicron. But the team expects the beefed-up immune responses to remain similar.

A further 94,326 Covid cases were reported across the UK yesterday, along with 439 deaths. From

Monday the case figures will include possible reinfections, the UK Health Security Agency has said, which means people who test positive at least 90 days after a previous test will be counted as a new case. 

The Office for National Statistics has estimated the risk of reinfection was 16 times higher from Omicron than from the Delta variant.

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