Britain's daily Covid hospital admissions have breached 500 for the first time since mid-March, Government data revealed today as the third wave continues to grow.
Department of Health figures also showed 35,707 positive tests were recorded, with the average number of cases now starting to rival levels seen in January. Another 29 deaths were also registered, up 7.4 per cent on last week.
Although the country's outbreak is still getting bigger, there are signs it may be slowing down.
MailOnline analysis shows the rise in the seven-day average number of cases has fallen every day this week, with today's count just 30.7 per cent up on last Friday's. For comparison, this time a week ago the speed of growth was 74.21 per cent.
And experts today said the outbreak in England — which makes up the majority of cases spotted in the UK — may begin to shrink following Euro 2020, with top researchers blaming the football tournament for driving a ferocious surge in infections.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist at the University of East Anglia, believes the country is likely to see a slow down in cases once the tournament ends after England's final against Italy on Sunday night — as was the case in Scotland after they were knocked out.
Meanwhile, Government scientists announced today that England's Covid R rate could now be the highest it has been since the second wave spiralled out of control in October.
SAGE estimates the reproduction rate – which measures how quickly the outbreak is growing – may be as high as 1.5 and is no lower than 1.2. For comparison, No10's top advisory panel thought the actual figure was somewhere between 1.1 and 1.3 in last week's update.
Meanwhile, separate grisly data today revealed around one in 160 people had Covid in England on any given day last week.
Data from the Office for National Statistics suggested more than 330,000 people would test positive at any one time – up 60 per cent on the week before. Cases increased in all age groups, with one in 50 people aged 18 to 24 carrying the virus.
The same ONS data today showed 1 per cent of Scotland was still infected at any given point last week, meaning one in every 100 people were carrying the virus.
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Although the country's outbreak is still getting bigger, there are signs it may be slowing down. MailOnline analysis shows the rise in the seven-day average number of cases has fallen every day this week, with today's count just 30.7 per cent up on last Friday's. For comparison, this time a week ago the speed of growth was 74.21 per cent
England's Covid R rate may now be as high as 1.5 — the highest it has been since the second wave spiralled out of control in October, Government scientists have announced
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows around 330,000 were infected with coronavirus on any given day last week
Northeast and northwest England had the highest proportion of people of any region likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to July 3 —around one in 80
Around one in 45 people aged 16 to 24 were estimated to have had Covid, the highest positivity rate for any age group
Four out of 10 patients hospitalised with the Indian Covid variant in England may have been admitted for something else, analysis of official data suggests.
Public Health England's fortnightly report on the 'Delta' strain showed a total of 1,904 people had spent at least one night in hospital with the mutant virus by June 21.
But the agency admits 739 (39 per cent) of these patients may have went to hospital for a different condition or injury and tested positive through routine NHS testing.
Experts said the findings show that a significant number of the Covid admissions reported by the Government every day will be 'incidental cases'.
Cambridge University epidemiologist Dr Raghib Ali and Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at Reading University, told MailOnline that this will become more common as the outbreak grows. Officials expect there to be at least 100,000 Covid infections per day by next month.
There are still some patients who fall gravely ill with the virus and do not get tested until they arrive at hospital, Dr Raghib said, but this is happening less often now that testing is so widespread.
Less people are becoming severely ill thanks to the vaccines. Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said that by next winter 'most cases admitted with a positive test will not be admitted because of Covid'.
PHE's figures also show that of the Indian variant patients who presented at A&E by June 21, just over three in 10 spent the night in hospital, with the rest sent home on the same day.
The promising stats come amid growing anecdotal reports of hospital Covid patients having milder symptoms than in previous waves, due to vaccines and the fact younger people now make up a greater proportion of cases.
Overall, cases of the ultra-infectious Indian variant have risen by 54,000 in a week - up by a third - and the strain now makes up 99 per cent of all new cases in England. There have been 215,000 Indian variant cases in total but this is an underestimate because not every positive sample is analysed for mutations.
Since the strain was first detected in April, the most cases have been discovered in Manchester (6,818), Bolton (5,984), Leeds (5,353), Birmingham (4,777) and Blackburn (3,918).
In other Covid developments today:Four out of 10 patients hospitalised with the Indian Covid variant in England may have been admitted for something else, MailOnline's analysis of official data suggested; Up to one in 50 people in Newcastle were 'pinged' by the NHS Covid app last week after coming into contact with a positive case, shocking figures analysed by MailOnline showed; Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned Britons not to ignore or delete the NHS Covid app because the virus can 'still harm people' — amid widespread criticism of the software; Mr Shapps also warned of major challenges bringing back quarantine-free Transatlantic travel, with parts of the US having different systems for proving whether Americans are double-jabbed; Border staff warned massive airport queues will be the Government's fault for insisting on checking four different documents — on top of staff shortages due to self isolation; Masks look to be here to stay, as a poll conducted for MailOnline showed three-quarters of Brits plan to keep wearing them on public transport after they become voluntary on 'Freedom Day'; Kate Middleton will attend the Wimbledon women's and men's finals this weekend after coming out of self-isolation.
Department of Health figures showed 509 hospital admissions for Covid were recorded across Britain on July 5, the most recent day figures are available for.
For comparison, the figure the week before stood at just 304.
Hospitalisations have been rising in line with spiralling cases, with deaths starting to tick upwards as well.
But in a clear sign of the 'vaccine effect', admissions are