Experts have warned that the UK is “flying blind” as Covid-19 cases are expected to increase this autumn.
According to the most recent UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data, Covid cases jumped by 45 percent in a week, accounting for around one in every twenty respiratory illnesses.
According to Christina Pagel, an operational research professor at University College London, a fresh wave might reach the UK in the coming months.
“We might see the wave continue to grow, and grow faster, in September,” she told the Guardian.
“What worries me most is if we get a repeat of the last winter NHS crisis this winter again, with Covid, flu and RSV all hitting around the same time,” said Pagel. “We are definitely flying near blind.”
The UKHSA is still tracking Covid data, however some of the community surveillance studies that were monitoring infection levels have concluded.
“With seasonal flu, of course, we have a certain amount of predictability with the many years of data,” said Prof Rowland Kao, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh. However, now that we don’t have those numerous data streams to rely on with Covid, it’s more difficult to say what’s going on [in the general population].”
The overall Covid hospital admission rate jumped by 68% in the most recent week, from 1.17 to 1.97 per 100,000 persons.
Admissions for those over the age of 85 have more than doubled in a week, rising from 9.8 to 20.49 per 100,000.
The UKHSA has encouraged people to stay at home if they are experiencing respiratory sickness symptoms.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UKHSA, said: “We continue to see a rise in Covid-19 cases in this week’s report.
“We have also seen a small rise in hospital admission rates in most age groups, particularly among the elderly.
“Overall levels of admission still remain extremely low and we are not currently seeing a similar increase in [intensive care unit] ICU admissions. We will continue to monitor these rates closely.
“If you have symptoms of a respiratory illness, we recommend staying away from others where possible.
“The NHS will be in contact in autumn 2023 when the seasonal vaccine is available for those who are eligible due to health conditions or age, and we urge everyone who is offered to take up the vaccine when offered.”
Eris subvariant is also rapidly spreading over Europe, Asia, and North America. Japan has reported a “ninth wave” of Covid infections.
Eris was initially raised as a concern by the UKHSA in July.
After the omicron subvariant XBB.1.16, called arcturus, Eris is now the second-most common strain in the country.