Covid data latest: Are we looking at a third wave? Experts warn of ‘exponential growth’

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Covid cases are rising sharply and now new reports have surfaced claiming the lockdown easing on June 21 will be postponed to July 19 as the Government attempts to vaccinate more of the population and prevent a massive third wave surge. As the nation relaxes restrictions, cases rise – so does this mean a third wave is on the horizon?

A third wave of the coronavirus pandemic is now taking root across many countries including several in Africa.

The continent has seen a rise of infections of 26 percent over the past week.

In South Africa, COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in the last 24 hours while Uganda has recorded a 131 percent week-on-week rise in infections.

The Delta strain has been identified as the driver for this upsurge in new infections – with many European countries reporting cases of the variant, albeit at much lower levels.

Professor Neil Ferguson said there is a risk of a substantial third wave of Covid infections in the UK, driven by the Delta variant.

Speaking at the Science Media Centre briefing this week, he said: “There is a risk of a substantial third wave – we cannot be definitive about the scale of that, it could be substantially lower than the second wave, or it could be of the same order of magnitude.”

He added the size and scale of the wave will be contingent on the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines – particularly in light of the extent to which they quell the number of deaths and hospital admissions.

Professor Ferguson said: “Almost certainly I think deaths probably will be lower – the vaccines are having a highly protective effect, cases in hospital now are milder – but it still could be quite worrying.”

Professor Sir David King, a former chief scientific adviser to the government, told Sky News there is “evidence of another wave appearing”.

Sir David said: “There are 5,300 new cases of the disease per day in the United Kingdom and we’re up about 2,000 on last week.

“Now we’ve been discussing whether or not we’re going into a serious third wave and I don’t think we can possibly wait any longer.”

Microbiologist Professor Ravi Gupta also said cases were showing evidence of a third wave.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Yes, there has been exponential growth in the number of the new cases and at least three-quarters of them are the new variant.

“Of course the numbers of cases are relatively low at the moment – all waves start with low numbers of cases that grumble in the background and then become explosive, so the key here is that what we are seeing here is the signs of an early wave.”

He added: “It will probably take longer than earlier waves to emerge because of the fact that we do have quite high levels of vaccination in the population, so there may be a false sense of security for some time, and that’s our concern.”

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Coronavirus case rates have soared to their highest levels seen since late February according to new data.

Public Health England today warned cases of the Indian variant are doubling every 4.5 to 11.5 days across regions in England.

Infections rose by 30,000 in a week, with experts stating the Delta variant is believed to be 60 percent more infectious than the Kent strain.

The highest level of new Covid cases was confirmed on Friday since February 26 at 8,125 new cases – equating to confirmed infections rising by 58.1 percent week-on-week.

Data from the Zoe Covid Symptom Study platform on June 11 showed there were 13,621 new cases of Covid confirmed – most of which were in the north west and Scotland.

Cases dropped in mid to late April and are beginning to rise according to the app.

The chart reveals two previous waves during the coronavirus pandemic: the first in early November and the second in mid-January.

Now the chart appears to show the beginning of a pattern of an upward turn.

Speculation about a third wave has prompted further rumours about the Government potentially postponing the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions on June 21.

To proceed with the lifting of lockdown – four tests must be met.

These tests include the continued success of the vaccination programme, reduced hospitalisations and deaths, infection rates not threatening the NHS and no risk change due to variants of concern.

Now unconfirmed reports have emerged claiming lockdown easing has officially been moved to July 19.

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