Experts predict increase in Covid hospital admissions and another wave

European public health experts warned in May a new Covid wave could hit

Rebecca Thomas
Health Correspondent
Thursday 09 June 2022 11:29 BST
Lord Moylan claims Boris Johnson couldn't have been expected to read his own Covid laws

Admissions of people to hospital with Covid in England have begun to grow again, new data from the NHS shows, as fears were raised over a new wave.

Analysis by John Roberts of the Covid Actuaries group, set up in response to the pandemic, showed hospital admissions had stopped falling after a period of decline.

Figures on Tuesday showed weekly admissions increased by 4 per cent across England as of 5 June and were up by 33 per cent in the North East and Yorkshire.

When asked if the UK was heading into another wave, Mr Roberts told The Independent: “Yes we could be big that wave and how serious it will be in terms of admissions and deaths is very, very difficult to judge at this stage.”

His comments come after experts in Europe warned there will be a new wave driven by the growth of the BA.5 and BA.4 Covid variants.

The figures, which cover hospitals in England only, show the weekly average of admissions for patients in hospital with Covid stood at 531 as of 5 June.

Mr Roberts said that England was likely moving back to a “growth scenario.”

Speaking with The Independent he said it was “significant” that the fall in admissions had stopped and was consistent with data on infections. However, he added: “Its significance really will depend on how big the wave is.”

Mr Roberts also warned “the spring booster campaign, is only for people over 75, unless they have very specific health conditions. With people now been maybe six months since they had their first booster, there is a large population under 75, who don’t have the benefit of a second booster. If we are going to go into another wave, maybe that’s something that ought to be reconsidered.”

The figures do not differentiate between patients who have been admitted for Covid, as opposed to those who have tested positive for Covid following admission. This data will be published on Thursday.

Hospitals are no longer required to test non-symptomatic patients upon admission, following a relaxation in hospital infection control requirements.

In a letter on 1 June NHS England told all hospitals they should be returning to pre-pandemic visiting arrangements after most providers restricted visiting in response to the pandemic.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control predicted on 12 May there could be a new wave in the weeks following driven by the increase in the BA.5 and BA. Covid variants.

In its paper, the European public health authority said there was no indication the variants were more severe but that they could cause a “significant increase” in Covid-19 cases in Europe “in the coming weeks and months.”

It added: “Based on the limited data currently available, no significant increase in infection severity compared to the circulating lineages BA.1 and BA.2 is expected. However, as in previous waves, if Covid case numbers increase substantially, some level of increased hospital and ICU admissions is likely to follow.”

Later this week the Office for National Statistics will publish its weekly data on Covid deaths, which was delayed due to the bank holiday.

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