Covid wave may have peaked in young people – but virus levels hit record high

Dame Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “These latest study results are another reminder that the pandemic is not over, and there is still a real risk to many of us of catching Covid with infection rates so high.”

Prof Elliott said: “These trends are concerning, since when a very high number of people are infected this may lead to more people becoming seriously ill and needing to go to hospital.”

With Covid in the community at unprecedented levels, pressure on health services is again beginning to mount.

Officials from six hospitals on Wednesday issued a joint warning to people to stay away from A&E except in “genuine, life-threatening situations” after some patients had to wait for more than 12 hours.

Hospital trusts across West Yorkshire and Harrogate in North Yorkshire – an area covering more than 2.5 million people – said pressures had left them with no choice but to prioritise patients presenting with acute illness or injuries.

West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts said its most recent emergency department figures showed a 14.2 per cent increase in attendance compared with the same week last year.

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