Coronavirus cases are now falling across all age groups, according to official data which boosts hopes that the end of England's third wave may now be in sight.
Top scientists advising the Government warned it was 'almost inevitable' daily infections would spiral to 100,000 next month, with one even warning they could reach double this figure.
But in an unexpected twist which has puzzled scientists, cases have actually fallen every day for the past week — with yesterday's count being just half of what it was a week ago.
Department of Health data today revealed that infection rates are now ticking downwards in every age group in England, dipping fastest among twenty-somethings.
Experts said the downturn in cases was a 'very good' sign because it adds to mounting evidence that the third wave is in retreat. But they cautioned more data was needed before they could be certain the drop is permanent, and cases won't tick up again following July 19 'Freedom Day'.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
In another glimmer of hope, researchers also believe England's hospitalisations will start to fall by the end of the week — mirroring a similar trend as seen in Scotland.
Figures show admission rates are already falling in Scotland, where cases began to drop around eight days after the country's football team were knocked out of Euro 2020. Likewise, England's drop in Covid infections began on July 19 — eight days after the Three Lions lost on penalties in an historic final against Italy.
Several members of SAGE have said a fall in Covid admissions would mark the beginning of the end of the third wave. But the number of infected patients needing medical care is still rising — albeit at a slower rate than it was.
It comes after a senior Government minister last night claimed Covid's grip on the UK was 'all over bar the shouting'. Pointing to the consistent declining trend in infections, they added: 'Covid is on the point of becoming something you live with.'
But SAGE modeller Professor Mike Tildesley today said the pandemic isn't all over 'quite yet' and warned the effects of Freedom Day are still yet to be seen in the data.
Boris Johnson said it was 'too early' to draw conclusions about the fall in the number of people testing positive for the virus.
In other Covid news:Ministers backed dropping quarantine rules for fully-vaccinated travellers from the EU and US today, as well as expats who received their inoculations abroad; Data showed survivors who get re-infected with Covid have lower viral loads which make them less likely to become unwell or spread the virus; Angry British holidaymakers vowed to continue flying to Spain despite facing 10-day quarantine on return and having to fork out hundreds of pounds for tests should the country be moved to the 'amber-plus' list; SAGE adviser warned Covid crisis hasn't ended 'quite yet' and says seven days of falling cases could be down to people being unwilling to get tested ahead of their summer holidays.
Covid cases are falling in every age group, data shows. Above is the percentage change in Covid cases by seven-day averages published daily by the Department of Health
Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The above graph shows the seven-day rolling infection rate by age group for the past month. It reveals Covid cases are dipping in all age groups. This is not clear for older age groups pictured because the axis has been tightened to fit all ages
Boris Johnson (pictured at a police memorial today) has said it is still 'too early' to tell whether the fall in Covid cases is permanent. SAGE expert Professor Mike Tildesley warned the impact of Freedom Day is yet to be seen in the data
Scotland's Covid hospital admissions (blue) have begun to fall around 10 days after cases fell, data revealed, after cases also dipped (red). Experts say it is 'reasonable' to expect the same to occur in England, with the nation's downturn in infections delayed compared to Scotland because of Euro 2020
England has seen Covid infections (red) fall for the last seven days but has yet to see the trend in its hospital admissions, which usually follow by around 10 days. Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline while England may not see admissions (blue) fall on the 'exact same day' after their Euros exit as Scotland did, hospitalisations have already begun slowing
Scientists say temporary factors like schools closing, last week's hot weather and people not wanting to get tested before going on holiday may be behind England's declining cases.
Others believe one of the major reasons for the drop — especially in younger people — is because groups are no longer meeting up indoors to watch the Euros.
Experts suggest the downturn in older adults could also be linked to warmer weather, allowing people to spend more time outdoors where the virus finds it harder to spread.
Scotland's Covid hospitalisations are now falling in line with cases, according to official data which raises hopes that England could soon follow suit.
Scientists say admissions in England are likely to start dropping by the end of the week following its seven-day fall in cases — with infections now half the level seen a week ago. One senior Government minister last night claimed the coronavirus's grip on the UK is 'all over bar the shouting'.
Experts say one of the factors behind the drop in England is that people are no longer meeting up in large groups to watch the national team's games in Euro 2020 tournament.
Cases rose quickest in men and young people during and following the tournament but began to drop in Scotland around eight days after the team were knocked out in the group stages by Croatia.
And likewise, England's declining cases began on July 19 — eight days after the Three Lions lost on penalties in an historic final against Italy.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, claimed it was 'reasonable' to expect England to follow a similar