- The estimated number of new daily infections on 9th July across England has not changed significantly from last week and is now 295,000 (259,000–335,000, 95% credible interval) infections per day, corresponding to a national daily infection rate of 528 per 100k population. The highest rate is currently in the North West (NW) with 674 infections per 100K population, slightly ahead of Yorkshire and The Humber (YH) with 664. The next highest rates are to be found in the West Midlands (WM), South East (SE) and South West (SW) with 591, 534 and 512 infections per 100K population respectively, all above the national average. Greater London (GL) and East of England (EE) have infection rates of over 400 per 100k, whilst the lowest rates are estimated to be in the East Midlands (EM) and the North East (NE), though even here the rates are above 350 infections per 100k. Note that a substantial proportion of these infections will be asymptomatic.
- The model predictions for the daily number of new diagnoses in hospitals reached a low of 350 per day around May 28th and has increased sharply since, though its growth is estimated to be slowing, currently doubling in number every 29.3 days across the country. We forecast that by July 30th, there will be 1,800 to 2,400 new diagnoses in hospitals per day, having hit a peak around July 19th, a shift of two days from last week’s estimate.
- The infection growth rate for England is 0.01 (0.01– 0.02) per day. This means that, nationally, the number of infections is increasing, corresponding to an Rt of around 1.13.
- Though the national Rt is likely to be greater than 1, we estimate the epidemic to be at, or close to, a peak. The reproduction number is currently highest in the SE and YH.
- Our estimates for the attack rate, the proportion of a population who have ever been infected, is up to 86.4% nationwide, and is over 90% in two regions, NE and WM. However, the estimated total number of infections to date (69.3m) far exceeds the size of the population of England, due to the presence of reinfections.
- Note that the hospitalised diagnosis data used are only partially informative on Rt over the last two weeks. Therefore, the estimate for current incidence, Rt and the forecast of daily numbers of deaths are likely to be subject to significant revision.
Across England, we estimate that the daily number of diagnoses in hospitals remains on the increase. PCR-positive infection prevalence is estimated to be similarly increasing in all ONS regions except the NE and in all age groups. Despite the high rates of infection over the Omicron waves, continued waning of immunity and the increasing presence of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-strains are sustaining a national Rt that is currently around 1.1.
Overall, since December 1st 2021, the Omicron variant has resulted in the cumulative number of infections increasing from 25.8 million individuals to 69.3 million. In total, 30% of all infections over the course of the entire pandemic are re-infections and this fraction is only expected to increase.
During the Omicron-era, December 2021-May 2022, we estimate a fall of over 75% in the IHR in the age groups over 45 and a decline of over 50% in the under 45 age groups. Since May, we estimate an increase to a pre-Omicron level in the under-45s, with small increases in the 45-64 and 65-74 age groups, whilst for the over-75s there is still evidence of an improving IHR. This phenomenon in the under-45s could, in part, be explained by a reduced protection from the vaccines against severe symptoms due to infection with BA.4 and BA.5. Additionally, the model does not yet include the second booster vaccinations that the over-75 age group have received, so any consequent improvement in health outcomes will be attributed to a drop in IHR. The overall IHR increases only modestly over this most recent, from 0.7% to 0.9%. The over-75s still have the highest IHR at 3.1% (2.9%–3.4%).
The third Omicron wave of infection continues, though we estimate it to be at, or close to, a peak. If this is so, we expect it will still take a week or two before it becomes apparent in data. We also estimate that since the emergence of Omicron the cumulative number of infections has risen from 26m to over 69m, so the Omicron variants are responsible for over 62% of the total number of infections that have occurred, with an increasing fraction of these being re-infections. We will continue to monitor the pandemic development and to adapt our model to be able to make more conclusive statements about the apparent increased severity of the BA.4 and BA.5 strains.”