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One in TWENTY children had Covid on any day last week

Covid’s now in every classroom: One in TWENTY children were infected on any day last week as official statistics show England’s outbreak grew 6% in the wake of schools reopening… so how prevalent is the virus in YOUR area?

One in 20 children in England were infected with Covid on any given day last week, official data revealed today amid fears a fourth wave may be just around the corner.

The Office for National Statistics today estimated 658,800 people in England had the virus on September 25, up 6.2 per cent on the previous weekly figure. 

Analysis showed the virus was most prevalent among children aged 11 to 16, with 4.6 per cent of them estimated to have been infected – the equivalent of around one infected pupil in every classroom.  

With the outbreak having exploded among pupils since they went back at the start of September, some scientists have urged secondary schools to reintroduce face masks immediately to prevent infections tricking into the rest of the population.  

Meanwhile, bosses at Staffordshire County Council today urged 500 schools to be ‘proactive’ and reimplement infection control measures that were scrapped by No10 in mid-May, including bubbles and contact-tracing. 

The ONS data, which is closely watched by ministers, barely changed in any other age groups last week, despite a flurry of other official statistics suggesting the outbreak has already started to spill over. 

One scientist behind one of the country’s largest Covid surveillance studies yesterday warned infections were now spreading up the ‘generational ladder’. 

The estimated infection rates among 11 to 16-year-olds in England marks a rise from the 2.8 per cent who were thought to be infected one week earlier.

Children aged two to 10 have the next-highest infection rate, with around one in 40 (2.6 per cent) of them thought to have the virus on any given day last week, up from 2.3 per cent one week earlier.

Cases are also rising among the over-70s, with an estimated 0.5 per cent of them infected, compared to 0.4 per cent last week.

But cases are falling or flat in all other age groups.

Among 17 to 24-year-olds, 1.1 per cent are thought to have Covid, down from 1.5 per cent last week, while 0.6 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds had the virus last week, a drop from 0.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, 0.8 per cent of people aged 35 to 49 had the coronavirus and 0.7 per cent of those aged 50 to 69 – the same as the previous week.

But infections across the UK are a mixed picture. Cases are rising in England and Wales, where one in 85 (1.21 per cent) and one in 55 (1.76 per cent) people were estimated to have Covid last week, respectively.

Meanwhile, caes are dropping in Scotland, where one in 65 people (1.85 per cent) were infected last week, down from one in 45 (2.28 per cent) in the seven days up to September 18.

And the ONS estimated one in 65 people in Northern Ireland (1.53 pere cent) had the virus last week, a drop from one in 60 one week earlier.

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