Daily coronavirus cases pass 6,000 for first time since May

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Daily coronavirus cases pass 6,000 for first time since May

The number of daily coronavirus cases in the UK has risen to more than 6,000 for the first time since May, new figures show.

The Government said that as of 9am on September 23, there had been a further 6,178 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, taking the overall number of cases confirmed to 409,729.

It is the highest number of daily cases reported since May 1, when there were 6,201, and is also a 25 per cent increase on the 4,926 new cases reported on Tuesday.

But experts warned that describing the case numbers as “near record” was “misleading” because it is not clear how many people were actually infected during the height of the first wave due to a lack of community testing at the time.

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, said it seemed “certain” that more than 100,000 people a day were infected with coronavirus at the height of the pandemic.

The professor of structural biology at the University of Oxford added: “Today’s spike in positive Covid-19 cases is very unwelcome news.

“It is part of a trend and there is no doubt the virus is taking off again. However, there are some important things to note: one, the sudden jump is likely to reflect issues in the testing system reporting.

“Two, using ‘near record’ to describe Covid-19 case numbers is misleading. We can only guess how many people were actually infected with Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic, but it seems certain to have exceeded 100,000 per day.”

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said: “Given that testing capacity in the UK during March and April was poor it is likely that a rather greater proportion of cases were not being diagnosed then compared to now even with the current problems with testing.

“However, with the rapid increase in cases over the last few days, it is likely that the coming peak in cases will soon dwarf that in spring.”

The latest data also shows:

– There were 275 Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital in England on Monday, compared to 1,081 on May 1.

– The number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England on May 1 was 10,970, compared to 1,381 on Wednesday.

– There were 1,954 confirmed coronavirus patients in mechanical ventilation beds in England on May 1, compared to 192 on Wednesday.

Data is not reported by each nation every day, and is not always directly comparable – while the UK’s total can only be calculated when all the nations’ data is available.

Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle said: “New measures have been bought in to stop the spread of the virus and it is essential that you follow them.

“You should work from home if you can, must now wear a face covering in retail and hospitality settings, unless you are eating or drinking and not be in a group larger than six people.

“We are testing much more than we were earlier on in the outbreak and our local Health Protection teams are working with local councils and directors of public health to manage the increase.”

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