Britain records 170 Covid fatalities in deadliest daily toll since MARCH
Britain today recorded 170 Covid fatalities in the deadliest recorded daily toll for five months, and infections are continuing to rise.
Department of Health statistics show today’s death count was 16.4 per cent up on last week’s count and was the most registered in a day since March 12 (175), when the second wave had started to fizzle out.
But day-to-day figures can fluctuate heavily, especially on Tuesdays — which are artificially higher because of the recording lag at weekends.
The overall trend — measured by the seven-day average — has flattened out over the past fortnight and the daily counts are just a fraction of what they were when cases were at a similar level in January.
Deaths and hospital admissions — which have also levelled off, jumping just 2.4 per cent in a week — lag several weeks behind cases because of how long it takes for infected people to become seriously ill.
In other Covid developments today:
- Moderna’s Covid vaccine was approved for children aged 12-17 by the UK’s drug watchdog, which ruled the jab to be both safe and effective in youngsters;
- New Zealand was plunged into a snap lockdown after a single mystery Covid case was found in Auckland, in the nation’s first locally-acquired case since February;
- Thousands of Britons may have self-isolated for no reason because the NHS Covid app was incorrectly set to ‘ping’ contacts five days before someone tested positive, it was claimed.
UK approves Moderna’s Covid vaccine for 12 to 17-year-olds after medical watchdog rules jab is safe in children
Moderna’s Covid vaccine was today approved for children aged 12 to 17 by the UK’s drug watchdog.
A review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found the jab was safe and effective in youngsters.
It becomes the second coronavirus vaccine to be approved for British children after Pfizer’s, which uses the same technology, was green-lit in June.
All 16 and 17-year-olds are already being invited for the Pfizer vaccine and don’t need permission from a parent or guardian to get one.
But only under-16s who live with vulnerable people or who have immune weaknesses themselves are being invited currently.
Moderna’s vaccine is expected to be rolled out in the 12 to 17 age groups in similar fashion.
The Department of Health has asked its vaccine advisory panel, which is separate from the MHRA, for a formal recommendation.
Both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines have been linked to myocarditis, a rare heart problem believed to affect around one in 20,000 young people after a jab.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said the risk of heart inflammation still outweighs the benefit of Covid jabs for healthy under-16s.
Meanwhile, separate data today revealed Covid was blamed on more than one in 20 of all deaths in England and Wales at the start of August.
Some 527 death certificates mentioned the coronavirus in the week ending August 6 — up 30.4 per cent on the seven days prior. This equated to 5.2 per cent of the total — the highest proportion since March, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Additionally, it marked the eighth consecutive week that the proportion of deaths blamed on Covid has been on rise in England and Wales.
In total, 9,537 deaths were registered in England that week, 13.1 per cent above the five-year average, while there was 634 recorded deaths in Wales, 10.8 per cent higher than the average.
The figures reflect the impact of the country’s third wave of Covid, which was sparked by the highly-transmissible Indian variant which began spreading in mid-May. As well as the lag in getting ill, the ONS figures are delayed by a further week and a half due to how long it can take to process fatalities.
The relatively low number of deaths in the third wave so far, when compared with the second wave of the virus, reflects the success of the roll-out of the country’s jab roll-out.
Covid vaccinations have prevented between 81,300 and 87,800 deaths in England alone, health chiefs estimate.
Of the 527 deaths registered across the two nations, the majority (411, 78 per cent), occurred in the over-60s.
And the fatalities tended to drop through the age groups, with 58 deaths recorded among people in their 50s, 29 among people in their 40s, 22 in people in their 30s and five in people in their 20s.
One child aged between five and nine died with the virus, as well as a baby less than one-year-old.
Across England, deaths from all causes increased from 9,481 to 9,537 in the most recent week.
Fatalities increased in five of the nine regions of the country, with the largest hike being seen in the South East, which recorded 51 more deaths.
And deaths linked with the virus rose in all regions apart from Yorkshire and the Humber, where fatalities linked with the virus dropped from 65 to 57.
The biggest rise in Covid-related deaths was seen in the South East, where the figure more than doubled in a week, from 25 to 56.
New Zealand is plunged into a three-day lockdown and Auckland for a whole week over just ONE case of coronavirus
New Zealand has been plunged into a snap lockdown after a single mystery Covid case was found in Auckland, the nation’s first locally-acquired case since February.
The entire country will enter a three-day Level Four lockdown from 11.59pm Tuesday, while Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula will suffer under the rules for at least a week.
Kiwis will be locked in their homes for all but essential reasons, with businesses forced to shut and masks mandatory whenever a person leaves the house.
A 58-year-old Auckland man, who is unvaccinated, tested positive on Tuesday and is believed to have been infectious for the last five days. He had travelled with his wife to Coromandel — which is on the east of the North Island — at the weekend.
The case is being assumed to be infected with the highly contagious Indian Delta strain until genome testing results come back on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged the country to follow the rules ‘to the letter’ amid fears the highly-transmissible variant could undermine New Zealand’s brutal ‘zero-Covid’ strategy.
Meanwhile, the number of people dying in Wales dropped from 641 to 634, but those that mentioned Covid rose from 13 to 22. This equates to 3.5 per cent of all deaths in Wales involving the virus.
Across the UK, deaths were higher than the five year average across all nations.
England had the highest number of deaths involving the virus (502 deaths), followed by Scotland (51 deaths), Northern Ireland (31 deaths) and Wales (22 deaths).
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 142,499 of the 851,469 deaths recorded in England and Wales had Covid mentioned on their death certificate (16.7 per cent). And in the same period, 107,177 excess deaths have been recorded.
In England, 16.8 per cent of the 798,467 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic mention the virus.
Meanwhile, 15.3 per cent of the 51,962 people who died in Wales had Covid written on their death certificate.
In other developments today, it was claimed that thousands of Brits may have self-isolated for no reason because the NHS Covid app was incorrectly set to ‘ping’ contacts five days before someone tested positive.
The controversial software — which isn’t legally enforceable — was designed to curb the spread of Covid.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced last month the NHS app was being tweaked in an effort to curb the ‘pingdemic’, which left supermarket shelves empty and pubs shut due to staffing shortages.
The app now only alerts people who came into contact with an infected person 48 hours before they tested positive. Before, it trawled through five days of Bluetooth data.
But a Whitehall whistle-blower has told The Guardian the app should only ever have looked as far back as two days, in line with official guidance and NHS Test and Trace rules.
They said the error was reported to former Health Secretary Matt Hancock before he stepped down in the wake of his affair — but he never publicly revealed the mistake.
The app, which keeps users anonymous, caused mayhem across the country before it was tweaked.
A record 690,000 people in England and Wales were ‘pinged’ in the week leading up to July 21.
The source said: ‘The standard definition of a contact in all the scientific and public stuff from Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace is someone who has been in contact from two days before they have symptoms.
‘And if they do not have symptoms but test positive, you go back two days from the test. But the app had five days in it.
‘A submission was made to [Matt] Hancock from Test and Trace people around the time of his resignation saying “it’s five days but it should be two days: should we change it now?” And it didn’t happen.’