Covid-19 infections in the UK are up around 7 per cent, with the continued rise still being driven by the latest Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
The number of hospitals also continues to increase, with early signs of an increase in intensive care admissions among older age groups.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a total of 3.8 million people lived in private households in the week to July 14. The week before, there were about 3.3 million cases in the UK.
That is the highest estimate for the total number of infections since the end of April, but is still well below the record high of 4.9 million at the height of the Omicron BA.2 wave in late March.
ONS data shows that in the summer of 2020, less than 0.1 percent of the population in England tested positive, up from 1.57 percent in 2021. Now it’s about 4 percent.
The latest report from the Covid analysis app ZOE shows that a sore throat has now become the most commonly reported symptom.
The ZOE study allows infected people to report their symptoms while suffering from the virus.
The data provided is then analyzed by King’s College London researchers who monitor infections in the UK, as well as identify who is most at risk and where areas are at risk.
Nearly 58 percent of all Covid patients using the app reported a sore throat before returning positive tests.
Headache, nasal congestion and cough were reported as the next most common symptoms.
Professor Tim Spector, who leads the ZOE project, said: “Covid is still prevalent among the population. Data from ZOE Health Study shows there were more than 350,000 daily Covid cases this week – a new record for the UK.
“So much so that if you have cold symptoms right now, you are almost twice as likely to be Covid as a cold.
“Even if people have had an infection in the past and have been fully vaccinated, people still get it.
“While we all want to make the most of the good weather, people will have to decide for themselves whether it is worth the risk to go to big events, work in the office or use the busy public transport.”
Sarah Crofts, head of ONS analytical output for the Covid infection survey, said: “In the UK, we have seen a sustained increase in over half a million infections, likely driven by the growth of BA.4 and BA .5 variants.
“This increase is seen in all ages, countries and regions of England.
“We will continue to monitor the data closely to see if this growth continues in the coming weeks.”
dr. Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programs at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “We continue to see an increase in Covid-19 data, with cases and hospitalizations in the over-65s rising, and outbreaks in care homes.
“We are now also seeing an increase in the number of ICU admissions among older age groups.
“Vaccination remains the best defense against serious illness and hospitalization. Covid-19 has not gone away and we all need to remember to maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene.
“It is also wise to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces.”