Health

Chris Whitty warns of ‘very sick’ young patients in hospital with Covid

Professor Chris Whitty has urged Britons to get jabbed

Professor Chris Whitty has begged young Britons not to delay getting the Covid vaccine, warning there are some ‘very sick’ young adults in hospital with the virus.

England’s chief medical officer — who has spent the past four weeks working on a Covid ward — said it was ‘stark’ that the majority of patients have not had their jabs.

He revealed that many of patients told him they ‘regret delaying’ their inoculation.

Almost three-quarters of under-50s hospitalised with the Delta Covid variant up to August 15 had not been vaccinated, according to official figures from Public Health England. 

Professor Whitty tweeted today: ‘The great majority of adults have been vaccinated.

‘Four weeks working on a Covid ward makes stark the reality that the majority of our hospitalised Covid patients are unvaccinated and regret delaying. Some are very sick including young adults. Please don’t delay your vaccine.’

It came as Britain today recorded another 37,314 Covid cases — up by 14 per cent in seven days and the fifth day in a row that infections have risen week-on-week.

Hospitalisations also ticked upwards by 14 per cent in a week after 858 admissions were recorded on August 16, the latest available, and deaths rose to 114.

SAGE today estimated the R rate has risen to between 0.9 and 1.2, up from a range of 0.8 to 1.0 last week. The R — or reproduction — rate represents the average number of people each Covid patient will infect and keeping it below one is critical for infections to fall.

There are growing fears that Britain’s stubbornly high case number could turn into deadly outbreak this winter when the cold weather hits and schools go back. 

In one positive sign, however, the Office for National Statistics found England’s Covid cases fell very slightly last week (4 per cent) but it noted that the drop-off could be down to the school holidays.

The ONS estimated that 698,100 people were infected with the virus on any given day in the week to August 14 — or one in 80 people — compared to 726,700 in the week prior.

The figure is based on random swabbing of more than 100,000 Britons, which helps account for asymptomatic cases who would not have come forward for a test. 

Public Health England data published today showed three-quarters of under-50s hospitalised with the Indian 'Delta' variant up to August 15 were un-vaccinated. The Delta variant is now behind almost every case in the country

Public Health England data published today showed three-quarters of under-50s hospitalised with the Indian ‘Delta’ variant up to August 15 were un-vaccinated. The Delta variant is now behind almost every case in the country

Data from Public Health England shows that most admissions are still in the unvaccinated (shown middle) of which people under-50 make up the vast majority of cases. The same is true about admissions among people who've had a single dose (right). However it is more balanced in people who have been fully vaccinated. The reason under-50s are making up a higher proportion of the cases among unvaccinated and one dose admissions is because they are more likely to not have had a jab

Data from Public Health England shows that most admissions are still in the unvaccinated (shown middle) of which people under-50 make up the vast majority of cases. The same is true about admissions among people who’ve had a single dose (right). However it is more balanced in people who have been fully vaccinated. The reason under-50s are making up a higher proportion of the cases among unvaccinated and one dose admissions is because they are more likely to not have had a jab

Chris Whitty warns of 'very sick' young patients in hospital with Covid

Chris Whitty warns of 'very sick' young patients in hospital with Covid

Chris Whitty warns of 'very sick' young patients in hospital with Covid

Chris Whitty warns of 'very sick' young patients in hospital with Covid

Office for National Statistics figures suggested Covid cases fell by four per cent in England last week after estimating 698,100 people were infected with the virus

Office for National Statistics figures suggested Covid cases fell by four per cent in England last week after estimating 698,100 people were infected with the virus

But No10's top scientists said the R rate had risen compared to 0.8 to 1.0 the previous week, and was now between 0.9 and 1.2. This means every ten people who catch the virus are thought to be passing it on to up to 12 others. The R rate is a lagging indicator, and can only reflect the situation on the ground up to two weeks ago.

But No10’s top scientists said the R rate had risen compared to 0.8 to 1.0 the previous week, and was now between 0.9 and 1.2. This means every ten people who catch the virus are thought to be passing it on to up to 12 others. The R rate is a lagging indicator, and can only reflect the situation on the ground up to two weeks ago.

Separate figures from No10's top scientists published today estimated the R rate has risen to between 0.9 and 1.2, up from a range of 0.8 and 1.0 last week. The R - or reproduction - rate represents the average number of people each Covid patient will infect and keeping it below one is critical for infections to fall

Separate figures from No10’s top scientists published today estimated the R rate has risen to between 0.9 and 1.2, up from a range of 0.8 and 1.0 last week. The R – or reproduction – rate represents the average number of people each Covid patient will infect and keeping it below one is critical for infections to fall

UK approves Regeneron’s Covid antibody drug 

A Covid antibody cocktail drug used to treat former US President Donald Trump has been approved for UK patients.

Britain’s medical regulator gave Ronapreve the green light after finding it could prevent infection and treat patients who were already sick.

Trials showed that among patients with at least one risk factor for severe Covid, it slashed their risk of death or hospitalisation by 70 per cent.

A separate study found it dramatically reduced the risk of catching Covid, but protection only lasts for a month. Health officials will now decide who should get the drug. 

The drug is a combination of two cloned antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab (pictured)

The drug is a combination of two cloned antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab (pictured)

However, at a cost of £2,000 per patient, it is unlikely to be rolled out widely as a preventative. Experts today called for it to be targeted at the most vulnerable Britons. 

The approved treatment is the first developed specifically to target Covid, after steroids and anti-inflammatories were repurposed to treat the virus. 

Boris Johnson said the drug will be an ‘important weapon in fighting Covid, particularly for those who are immunocompromised’. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it would be rolled out on the NHS ‘as soon as possible’.  

The treatment is not a substitute for vaccination because the protection against Covid it sparks only lasts for up to four weeks, far less time than that from jabs.

The drug — which uses two different man-made antibodies to fight the virus — is administered by injection or intravenously.  It is made by US biotech firm Regeneron and Swiss company Roche.  

 

The UK’s vaccination programme has so far inoculated more than three-quarters of all adults — 41.3million people — with two doses of the vaccine.

And nearly nine in ten — 87.4 per cent or 47.5million — have received both doses.

But nearly three million young adults have not had a first dose, according to figures published earlier this week by the four health agencies.

There has been a concerted effort to get as many people vaccinated as possible, with 16 and 17-year-olds getting letters and text reminders this week inviting them for a jab.

PHE data published today showed of the 4,112 under-50s hospitalised with the Indian ‘Delta’ variant — which is behind almost every Covid case in the UK — by August 15, as many as 3,044 (74 per cent) had not been inoculated.

It also revealed that of the 113 under-50s who have sadly died from the Indian ‘Delta’ variant, two thirds — or 72 — were unvaccinated. 

There have been 1,189 deaths in people who were either confirmed or likely to have had the Delta variant since it was first spotted in the country.

The ONS report showed that across England Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest proportion of people infected with the virus, or around one in 60 (89,600 estimated cases). 

It was followed by the North West where one in 60 were thought to be infected (117,700), and the East of England at one in 70 (85,900) and London also at one in 70 (123,700). 

The West Midlands was estimated to have the smallest outbreak with one in 150 residents having Covid (38,900), behind the South East at one in 100 (85,900) and the South West at one in 95 (58,300).

When modelling the level of Covid infections among different age groups, the ONS said rates have increased for people aged between 35 to 49 years old.

But they had decreased for those in school years seven to 11, for 25 to 34-year-olds and for people aged 70 and over.

Britain is now gearing up to dish out Covid booster jabs at the start of September, in hopes of keeping immunity high in the face of future flare-ups this autumn and winter. 

One SAGE expert today warned the high case numbers were ‘very worrying’ and warned ‘we just don’t really know what’s going to happen’ in the coming months.

The US yesterday confirmed all over-18s would be eligible for top-up doses, and Israel — which is currently being battered by a third wave — is already offering over-60s a third jab. There are fears that the vaccines lose potency over time, which some experts have said is part of the reason why Israel is being battered currently.

But No10’s top advisers — who met yesterday to discuss the controversial topic — have yet to make a final decision on who should get the jabs.

Mr Javid today insisted the UK was going to have a programme and it will focus on vulnerable people and ‘start sometime in September’. 

That would seem to rule out a mass booster programme, which was originally slated to include more than 30million Britons. 

One member of the expert panel the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) told The Guardian: ‘The jury is still very much out on what happens.’ Another today hinted the programme would only be open to the most vulnerable adults, and said the inoculation drive could still be expanded to all over-12s.

The East of England was estimated to have seen its Covid cases rise last week, while they levelled off in London and the South East. Only three regions — East Midlands, West Midlands and North East — saw their infections fall

The East of England was estimated to have seen its Covid cases rise last week, while they levelled off in London and the South East. Only three regions — East Midlands, West Midlands and North East — saw their infections fall

Adults aged 35 to 49 years old saw their Covid infection rate rise in the latest week, estimates suggested, but among school-age children, 25 to 34-year-olds and the over-70s it fell compared to the previous seven-day spell

Adults aged 35 to 49 years old saw their Covid infection rate rise in the latest week, estimates suggested, but among school-age children, 25 to 34-year-olds and the over-70s it fell compared to the previous seven-day spell

Chris Whitty warns of 'very sick' young patients in hospital with Covid

Wales was the only nation to see its outbreak grow in the latest week. Cases levelled off in Northern Ireland, and decreased in England and Scotland

Wales was the only nation to see its outbreak grow in the latest week. Cases levelled off in Northern Ireland, and decreased in England and Scotland

It came as the UK today approved a Covid antibody cocktail drug used to treat former US president Donald Trump for its patients.

Britain’s medical regulator gave Ronapreve the green light after finding it could prevent infection and treat patients who were already sick. 

Trials showed that among patients with at least one risk factor for severe Covid, it slashed their risk of death or hospitalisation by 70 per cent.

A separate study found it dramatically reduced the risk of catching Covid, but protection only lasts for a month. Health officials will now decide who should get the drug. 

However, at a cost of £2,000 per patient, it is unlikely to be rolled out widely as a preventative. Experts today called for it to be targeted at the most vulnerable Britons. 

The approved treatment is the first developed specifically to target Covid, after steroids and anti-inflammatories were repurposed to treat the virus. 

Boris Johnson said the drug will be an ‘important weapon in fighting Covid, particularly for those who are immunocompromised’.

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