For the first time since late last March, yesterday June 3, Britain recorded upwards of 5,000 new COVID cases marking a 49% increase compared to last Thursday in addition to an 80% rise in deaths.
More than 5,000 new cases
England's reproductive rate—or R rate—has now soared to 1.1 following suit with all but three regions in the UK that have surpassed the one mark. The R rate is essential in measuring how many people each infected person with the virus will, in turn, pass it on and it must stay at one or lower for an outbreak to stop spreading or diminish.
Studies have shown that although cases have been rising, it is now targeting younger audiences more than the elderly, which could prove to be much less problematic than it was during the beginning of the pandemic. Professor Tim Spector explains that:
The UK picture is changing quickly now. Cases are rising, but not nationwide, it's very much a regional issue.
The North West of England and Scotland are the two regions with the highest prevalence, with rates higher than in some parts of Europe. However, the data highlights that the increase is happening in the younger age groups, suggesting the start of an epidemic in the young.
Will phase four be pushed back?
Despite the success of the UK's vaccine rollout—one of the most effective in the world currently—cases have unfortunately been rising steadily as a result of the highly infectious Delta strain. The rise in COVID cases have now led many to question whether freedom day on 21 June will actually take place or not. Health secretary Matt Hancock said:
It's too early to say what the decision will be about step four of the road map, which is scheduled to be no earlier than June 21.
Of course I look at those data every day, we publish them every day, the case numbers matter but what really matters is how that translates into the number of people going to hospital, the number of people sadly dying.