UK hits record COVID-19 levels; nearly 5 million infected

Apr 2, 2022, 4:09 AM | Updated: Apr 3, 2022, 10:25 pm

LONDON (AP) — The prevalence of COVID-19 in the U.K. has reached record levels, with about 1 in 13 people estimated to be infected with the virus in the past week, according to the latest figures from Britain’s official statistics agency.

Some 4.9 million people were estimated to have the coronavirus in the week ending March 26, up from 4.3 million recorded in the previous week, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. The latest surge is driven by the more transmissible omicron variant BA.2, which is the dominant variant across the U.K.

Hospitalizations and death rates are again rising, although the number of people dying with COVID-19 is still relatively low compared with earlier this year. Nonetheless, the latest estimates suggest that the steep climb in new infections since late February, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrapped all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England, has continued well into March.

The figures came on the same day the government ended free rapid COVID-19 tests for most people in England, under Johnson’s “living with COVID” plan. People who do not have health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus now need to pay for tests to find out if they are infected.

“The government’s ‘living with COVID’ strategy of removing any mitigations, isolation, free testing and a considerable slice of our surveillance amounts to nothing more than ignoring this virus going forwards,” said Stephen Griffin, associate professor at the University of Leeds’ medical school.

“Such unchecked prevalence endangers the protection afforded by our vaccines,” he said. “Our vaccines are excellent, but they are not silver bullets and ought not to be left to bear the brunt of COVID in isolation.”

More than 67% of people 12 years old and above in the U.K. have been vaccinated and had their booster or a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Beginning Saturday, parents can also book a low-dose vaccine for children between 5 to 12 years old in England.

James Naismith, a biology professor at the University of Oxford, said he believed that except for those who are completely shielded or not susceptible to the virus, most people in the country would likely be infected with the BA.2 variant by the summer.

“This is literally living with the virus by being infected with it,” he said.

___

Follow all AP stories on the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Germany, Denmark, Norway to deliver 16 howitzers to Ukraine

BERLIN (AP) — German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht on Sunday announced the delivery of 16 wheeled armored howitzers produced in Slovakia to Ukraine next year. The Zuzana systems would be produced in Slovakia and financed jointly with Denmark, Norway and Germany, the German minister told public broadcaster ARD after returning from her first trip to […]
6 hours ago
Trump-Pence sign hangs on a building off of Main Street in Monongahela, Pa., on Sept. 23, 2022. The...
Associated Press

Trump: ‘King’ to some in Pennsylvania, but will it help GOP?

MONONGAHELA, Pa. (AP) — The Trump-Pence sign still hangs on the older building off Main Street in this historic town, a lasting vestige of the campaign fervor that roused voters, including many who still believe the falsehood that the former president didn’t lose in 2020 and hope he’ll run in 2024. The enthusiasm for Donald […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo attends a news conference on the arrest of Clark County Pu...
Associated Press

Nevada governor, Las Vegas sheriff face off in first debate

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak and his Republican challenger, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, are meeting for their only scheduled debate of this election year on Sunday, where they’ll face off after a botched inmate escape at the state Department of Corrections and air their long-simmering rivalry that has pitted the […]
6 hours ago
This Sept. 20, 2022 image shows a sign in Navajo on the fence surrounding the San Juan Generating S...
Associated Press

US shift away from coal hits tribal community in New Mexico

KIRTLAND, N.M. (AP) — The clamor of second graders breaking away from lessons to form lunch lines has gotten quieter in a rural New Mexico community, where families losing coal jobs have been forced to pack up and leave in search of work. At Judy Nelson Elementary, 1 in 4 students have left in an […]
6 hours ago
Bosnian man casts his vote at a poling station in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Polls ope...
Associated Press

Voting begins in Bosnia election, little expected to change

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Polls opened Sunday in Bosnia for a general election that is unlikely to bring any substantial change despite palpable disappointment in the small, ethnically divided Balkan country with the long-established cast of sectarian political leaders. The election includes races for various levels of government that are part of one of the […]
6 hours ago
FILE - A Republican election challenger at right watches over election inspectors as they examine a...
Associated Press

Election officials brace for confrontational poll watchers

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) — The situation with the poll watcher had gotten so bad that Anne Risku, the election director in North Carolina’s Wayne County, had to intervene via speakerphone. “You need to back off!” Risku recalled hollering after the woman wedged herself between a voter and the machine where the voter was trying to […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
UK hits record COVID-19 levels; nearly 5 million infected