New warning to parents amid fears of fourth Covid wave

PARENTS have been warned they are at higher risk of catching Covid in the next few weeks, and to think about elderly relatives.

This comes amid what appears like the beginning of the fourth wave. The number of cases is increasing after the reopening schools.

Infection rates in each age group

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Infection rates in each age groupCredit: ZOE Covid Symptom Study app
Prof Tim Spector said people should be cautious about seeing the elderly and vulnerable for the next couple of weeks

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Prof Tim Spector said people should be cautious about seeing the elderly and vulnerable for the next couple of weeksCredit: YouTube ZOE

The pattern reflects what happened at the start of the second wave, in September 2020.

But this time, vaccines are preventing a huge number of deaths and hospitalisations – although experts say they are still “too high”.

Professor Tim Spector, who heads one of the leading UK Covid studies, said cases are “no longer dropping”.

He said: “We’re seeing around 58,000 cases per day now, 14,300 of those have been fully vaccinated. 

“The original peaks we had earlier in the summer were coming from young people in their 20s which has come down now.

“The last three weeks we’ve really been seeing this increase in the kids, in 0-18 year-olds.”

Prof Spector, speaking on YouTube, used a graph to show that cases had gone up “quite sharply”, while cases in 30 to 50 year-olds “are starting to pick up as well”.

According to the ZOE Covid-Symptom Study app, approximately 2,000 of every 100,000 people between 0-19 years old have Covid now. This is up from 1,500 just three weeks ago.

Around 1,300 adults between the ages 30 and 49 have Covid currently.

Statistics show that one in 79 children between 0-9 years old and Covid is present. The figure rises to one-in-36 for those between 10-19 years of age.

This figure is approximately one in 75 among those in their 40s and 30s.

Prof Spector continued: “Many of them may well be the parents who are mixing with these infected kids. This is likely to be the driving source of infection for the next few days.

“We have seen this before – if you remember last September when schools went back we saw a big surge in colds and Covid in kids, and that did translate to increases in parents.

“The only good news here is we are not seeing changes so far in elderly. The over 50-year-olds haven’t really moved at all and they’d be the main source of hospitalisations.

“But I think everyone is expecting the effect of Freshers week, with universities going back, and kids of the 18-21 group fuelling some more infections.”

Prof Spector warned against seeing elderly and vulnerable patients whose vaccination protection may have waned.

He said: “The lesson here is, this is where we will be seeing the problem for the next few weeks – in the 30 to 50 year-old age groups. 

“So if you’ve got kids at school, do be a bit careful about mixing, particularly with vulnerable or elderly relatives for the next couple of weeks.

“As the winter approaches, it’s important parents of school-aged children and students don’t pass the virus on to more vulnerable grandparents by not recognising simple cold-like symptoms as a possible Covid infection. 

“This is a critical time and a little caution could make all the difference in avoiding a winter crisis for hospitals.” 

He advised people to be cautious about their symptoms and have a lateral flow test done at home.

Government data show a slight uptick in people of parental age

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Government data show a slight uptick in people of parental age
How cases have risen and fallen since April 2021. They are currently rising again, considered the start of a fourth wave

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How cases have risen and fallen since April 2021. They are currently rising again, considered the start of a fourth waveCredit: ZOE Covid Symptom Study app

Supporting data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Department of Health signal a fourth wave is gaining momentum. 

Ministers must not be complacent regarding the rising number of infections among school-age children, according to Dr Simon Clarke from Reading University.

“It is likely they [Covid cases] have gone from children. Parents have protection from the vaccine, but we know the protection is not complete,” he told MailOnline.   

Millions of vaccine doses were given across the UK and 82.5 percent are double-jabbed.

However, there is strong evidence that immunity declines after six months. This suggests that it will decrease gradually as the population ages.

To reach the elderly and vulnerable, ministers have increased the booster vaccine campaign in order to get the vaccine before the winter when viruses spread more widely.

In case of high hospitalisations, there is always a plan B. It involves mandatory facemasks being reintroduced, as well as working remotely and using vaccine passports.

Despite the fact that it has had a successful vaccine, the UK still has high hospital admissions rates.

Prof Spector said this is because there are very few controls in place, and rely solely on vaccines to stop the spread of the virus.

He said: “Hospitalisations are around 5,200 new people going into hospital last week, which is down slightly. 

“But remember we’ve still got about 800 people on mechanical ventilators in ICU – many of those won’t make it.

“Currently the cases are pretty mild, we are seeing a drop in the numbers of people going to hospital, which is good news.

“It does need a careful eye on it as it spreads from one generation to another.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warns very unvaccinated child will get Covid

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