The response to COVID-19 intensifies as the number of infections increases: What’s going on, what’s the infection rate and should we be worried?

As new variants spread, COVID surveillance is returning, and the vaccination rollout has been increased. What exactly does all of that mean, and what should someone with COVID do? Here’s what you need to know.

Infections are up

ZOE Health Study predicts that more than 1 million people in the UK currently have symptomatic COVID. The ongoing project, conducted by King’s College London, forecasts infection rates across the nation using information from app users.

It demonstrates that numbers have been rising since a low in July. The anticipated number of COVID cases in the UK is 1,169,195; this is the highest figure since 17 April 2023, when 1,178,340 cases were reported.

In the UK, there were 93,432 new cases reported every day as of 2 September. In Edinburgh, where one in ten residents are infected, the infection rate is greatest. The UK population’s COVID-19 rates are no longer officially estimated, which makes it challenging to obtain an accurate and comprehensive picture of the virus’s spread.

The amount of COVID-19 testing has also been drastically reduced, including throughout the NHS, thus there are fewer data points available for analysis.

One approach to observe how the infection is progressing is through hospital admissions. According to the most recent statistics, there were 3.4 admissions per 100,000 individuals in the week ending August 27 in England, which is a three-month high for the number of patients with COVID-19.

What about COVID vaccines?

Due to worries about a new variant, the vaccination program was accelerated. Starting on September 11, high-risk groups will begin receiving a seasonal booster. But there are severe requirements for eligibility. The vaccination is available to persons over 65, front-line healthcare workers, those who are immunosuppressed, and those who are in clinical risk categories.

What are the latest variants circulating?

BA.2.86 is the most concerning variant since Omicron emerged, NHS officials have said. Nicknamed Pirola, it was first detected in the UK in mid-August, when the UKHSA said it could already be causing “significant community transmission”.