Covid cases in the UK are up 25% in a week, amid concerns that a new wave of the disease is already underway.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, about 1.3 million people tested positive for the disease in the week ending Sept. 26, up from 1.1 million the week before.
Infections increased in England and Northern Ireland, but the trend is uncertain in Scotland and Wales, the ONS added.
It comes a day after separate figures from the ONS said 2.3 million people in the UK were living with long-term Covid – up from 300,000 cases in the previous reporting period.
The number of hospitalizations for Covid-19 is also increasing. According to government figures, the number of people admitted to wards rose by 37 percent in the past week.
According to NHS England, a total of 9,631 people with coronavirus were hospitalized on Wednesday, the highest figure since August 3.
According to the NHS, most people suffering from long-term Covid recover within a few days or weeks and usually make a full recovery within 12 weeks.
However, in some the symptoms can last longer.
Extreme tiredness or fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of smell, and muscle aches are among the most commonly reported symptoms.
Of the people with self-reported long-term Covid, 253,000 (13 percent) said they first had (or suspected to have) the virus less than 12 weeks earlier, 1.7 million people (83 percent) at least 12 weeks earlier, 892,000 ( 45 percent) at least one year earlier and 429,000 (22 percent) at least two years earlier.
As a percentage of the UK population, the prevalence of self-reported long-term Covid was highest among people aged 35 to 69, women, people living in disadvantaged areas, people working in social care, people aged 16 or over who are not working and not looking for work, and people with other activity-limiting health conditions or disabilities, the ONS said.
Covid cases were relatively low during the summer months but are starting to rise again.
According to the latest available official figures, that was an increase of 14 percent.
About 1.1 million people in private households tested positive for coronavirus in the latest ONS survey, which spans the seven days to September 17 in England and the week to September 20 in the other three countries.
Experts have warned that the country may face another “devastating” wave of the virus this fall, exacerbated by a drop in testing and inadequate surveillance of new immune-evasive subvariants.
Professor Tim Spector, co-founder of the Covid ZOE app, told The independent the UK was already on the brink of the next wave of coronavirus.
“Looks like we’re at the start of the next wave and this time it’s hitting older people a little earlier than the last wave,” said Prof Spector.
He added: “Many people are still using government guidelines about symptoms that are wrong. At the moment, Covid starts with sore throats in two-thirds of people. Fever and loss of smell are really rare now – so many old people may not think they have Covid.
“They would say it’s a cold and not be tested.”