Official data today revealed that Britain’s Covid cases fell for the fourth consecutive day. This was because a top scientist adviser to the Government claimed that children’s natural immunity is increasing.

The Department of Health bosses reported another 43,941 infections, down 10.6 percent from the total of 49,139 last Wednesday. After reaching a three-month peak last week, daily cases have been declining since Sunday.

However, the number of people who die from Covid continues to rise. Today, there were 207 new deaths. It was 15.6 percent higher than the 179 recorded last week.

According to the most recent data, there was a 2.9% increase in hospitalisations week-on–week on Saturday. They reached 894, a rise of 869 over the previous week. 

Because of the incubation time required for severe disease to take root and the virus to germinate, trends in hospitalisations and deaths are slower than in infections.

Separate data from today showed that infections were falling in children even before half term began. This is a sign of high immunity, which may have helped to stop the virus from spreading. 

Statistics from the Department of Health show that cases among 5- to 19-year olds in England peaked the Tuesday before schools closed for the week and have been dropping ever since.

Experts believed the drop was real, but warned that testing rates for children may have dropped slightly in the days leading up to the break. They said that although they don’t know the exact cause, they believe that the drop will continue.   

SAGE epidemiologist Professor John Edmunds, whose grim modelling in July predicted hospitalisations would have reached  3,500 a day by now, said the spike in infections over the last few months was driven by ‘huge numbers of cases’ in youngsters. According to health officials, one in twelve children in England was infected last week.

Professor Edmunds stated that the increase in infections will eventually lead to a high level of immunity in children, which will cause cases to plateau and then fall. He suggested that it may be possible that we are already achieving that.

The graph above shows Covid infection rates for 100,000 people in England, broken down by age group. It shows that cases among 5-19-year-olds may be at an all-time high and have begun to decline. However, they were still rising in all age groups.

Experts warn UK to avoid following the lead of the US and blaming healthy five year-olds for Covid. The reasons are’scientifically weak. 

After the US moved closer towards jabbing infants, British experts claim that arguments to vaccinate children as young at five against Covid are’scientifically poor’. 

Yesterday’s agreement by an advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), was almost unanimous. It affirmed that the benefits of Pfizer’s under-12s jab outweighed the risks.

The American health chiefs are expected within days to approve the plans, which will push the UK to follow their lead.

British scientists warn that the jabs should not be recommended to primary school-aged children without considering the risks. 

MailOnline was informed by Professor David Livermore, a medical-microbiologist at University of East Anglia: ‘Vaccinating children in order to protect adults via herd immunity seems ethically questionable and is scientifically weak.

Myocarditis is still a concern. This is a form of inflammation of the heart that can be detected in children, mostly in boys, and is found in approximately one in 10,000 cases.

Critics claim that children are better off getting protection from the natural world and catching Covid than being admitted for ICU.

There are already signs that the epidemic is slowing down because of natural immunity in British youth. Some studies suggest that myocarditis may be even more common than Covid infection, which further complicates matters.  

Professor Russell Viner, a child psychiatrist and member of the UK Government’s scientific advisory group SAGE said that it was vital that the UK doesn’t ‘rush to make a decision’ after the US announcement.


Other Covid developments 

  • Experts warn Britain against following the US lead in jabbing five-year olds. The reasoning behind the move is’scientifically weak’.
  • A subvariant of Covid Delta strain is currently on the rise in the UK. World Health Organization‘s radar
  • Government sources claimed the chance of ministers activating their winter Covid ‘Plan B’ is less than 20 per cent — but face masks might make a partial comeback in schools;
  • A top government adviser stated that the Covid booster vaccination program should be extended to young adults and middle-aged people.
  • NovavaxIt has formally applied for regulatory approval coronavirus vaccine in Britain.

According to Government figures, 49,8million Covid vaccine doses had been administered in the UK yesterday. This is an increase of 41 083 over the previous day.

There have been 45,605,922 second-doses, an increase in 23,031.

A total of 6,706,468 boosters, and third doses, have been delivered. This is a day-on, increase of 264.468.

It is not possible to calculate separate amounts for booster and third doses.

The 50,000 barrier was breached by Daily Covid infections in the UK last week. It prompted medical unions, some scientists and Labour to call for Plan B — mandatory face masks, work from home guidance and vaccine passports — to be implemented immediately in a bid to control infections.

SAGE’s optimistic modeling suggests that infections could even plummet to the 5,000 mark in the coming months, even if No10 is willing to compromise and resort to virus-controlling measures.

Scientists believe that a combination of booster vaccinations, natural immunity growing in children, and a decrease in classroom mixing during the October half term break would bring down cases. 

According to data from the Department of Health, Covid cases in schoolchildren have risen to a peak. This is a positive sign that they may soon fall in other age categories that they are passing on the virus.

Experts believe that it is more reliable since it accounts for reporting errors. 

Cases among 10 to 14-year-olds — the age group with the highest infection rate — may have peaked on October 19 at 1,925.2 positive tests per 100,000 people. 

The rate for 15- to 19-year olds and five- to nine-year-olds also reached a peak on October 19, when it was 861.3 and 7760.7, respectively.

Official figures showed that the infection rate declined in these age groups over the next two-days. The infection rate for 10-14-year olds had fallen to 1,868.9 at the end of October 21.

Whitehall sources tell us that there is less than 20% chance that No10 will activate plan B. The ‘right direction’ is going for Plan B cases. 

The chance of ministers activating their winter Covid ‘Plan B’ is less than 20 per cent, Government sources claimed today — but face masks might make a partial comeback in schools.

Despite warning last week that daily cases may rise to 100,000 this winter, Downing Street is thought to have taken confidence from the fall in national infections in recent days and optimistic forecasts by SAGE.

The Government has been advised by scientists that the epidemic could recede naturally over the next month, without any curbs, due to a combination vaccine rollouts and natural immunity growing in children.

According to a Whitehall source, today’s Financial Times report stated that the situation was moving in the right direction. He also said that there’s less than 20% chance that Plan B will be activated. 

Another senior Government official warned against being complacent as it is too early to read too many into the data. They did concede that there is no reason to activate Plan B at the moment.

It was 843.4 among 15- to 19-years-olds, while it was 746.2 among five to nine year-olds.

While the figures are still higher than the week before, the increase in cases week-on-week is a sign that the cases have reached their peak in certain age groups.

The vast majority of schools were closed for half-term on Monday.

But a small number — including those in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire among other areas — started the holiday the Monday before for a two-week break. Experts warned that this could have affected the infection rate. 

MailOnline was informed by Professor Hunter that there is a sign cases are decreasing. The average seven-day moving average shows that they are still increasing, but they are growing much slower than they were a few weeks ago.

“This is about a week before half-term started, so there might have been some reduction in testing for children who were visiting the school holiday period. 

“So, you have to be cautious about that, however, the basic figures seem to indicate that case numbers have begun to decline among all children under 20.”

Although there is no age breakdown in testing data, the figures suggest that there was not a significant decrease in the number of lateral flows performed over the past two weeks with approximately 550,000 completed each day. Secondary school children in England are asked twice a week to test for the virus. 

Professor Hunter replied that although it was not certain whether the drop will continue, he believed it would. 

[But]It is not something I would bet on.

He suggested that the numbers may be yet another proof that the virus is now endemic in Britain, with Britain no longer being in a fragile position where cases could explode at any moment. Instead, he suggested that cases will begin to fluctuate as immunity diminishes.

Under-16s cannot have their covid antibody levels estimated. However, for 16-24-year-olds, which is the youngest age group, 95.6% are predicted to have antibodies, even though only 81.4% received at least one dose. 

Professor Hunter said, “So, of 18.6% of individuals not having the vaccine, 76% also have antibodies, presumably due to an infection.”

“Given our knowledge about the disappearance antibodies with time, this means that a large number of people in this age range have already been infected and will have similar protection than if they were immunized.”

The above graph shows the number of lateral flow tests carried out daily. It reveals that over the two weeks before half term the number completed remained similar, at around 550,000 a day

The graph below shows daily lateral flow testing. It is evident that the number of completed lateral flow tests per day was roughly 550,000 in the week before the half-term. 

Officials do not collect data on antibody levels among under-16s. But for those aged 16 to 24-years-old they found 95.6 per cent had antibodies against the virus (top left, green line) despite only 81.4 per cent (top left, blue line) having been vaccinated. Vaccines are now available for 12 to 15-year-olds, but it is likely many already have immunity from past infection

Officials do not collect data regarding antibody levels among children under 16 years old. However, 95.6 percent of those aged 16-24 years old had antibodies against the virus (top right, green line), despite only 81.4 percent (top left blue line) having been vaccinated. Although vaccines are now available for children aged 12-15 years, it is possible that many people have immunity from previous infections.

Why has the number of Covid infections in schoolchildren risen so much? 

Data from the Department of Health suggests that Covid infections among schoolchildren peaked just before half term.

Scientists suggest that this could be due to rising immunity in the age group or a decrease in Covid testing.

Antibody levels 

SAGE scientists suggested that rising antibody levels in children could have contributed to the decline in cases. 

Children were not given a vaccine before returning to school. This meant that only those who had been infected previously had protection.

After a massive back to school surge, the number children with Covid-fighting antibodies has been increased. This means more children are protected from the virus.

To ensure that more people are protected, the Covid vaccine was also offered to children aged 12-15 years old starting September 20.

However, the vaccine drive has been slow and uptake has been slow. 

According to the UK Health Security Agency, 12 percent of children aged 12-15 years have been vaccinated.

Covid testing

Scientists have also suggested that the drop in Covid testing may be responsible for the reported fall in infections in schoolchildren.

Children must report to Test and Trace the results of their lateral flow tests and two times per week that they have been swabbed for the virus.

Some suggest that the number tested may have decreased before the holidays, as people were more relaxed about taking them.

However, data from the Department of Health suggests that similar numbers of lateral flow tests were performed in the two weeks preceding half term. They averaged about 550,000 per day.

The majority of English schools closed for the holidays on Monday.

But there is a small group — such as schools in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire — which broke up the previous Monday for two weeks. This could have affected the data. 

It is possible that immunity levels are high in under-16s, even though the vaccine was not made available to 12-15-year-olds after September 20. 

Many people have already been infected with the virus. The infection rates for the age group are at an all-time high, even though schools have been closed since then. 

Professor Edmunds said that the consensus among modelers was that the cases would either level off, or begin to drop in the next weeks.

He said, “That’s because the epidemic over the last few months is really driven by huge amounts of cases among children.” I mean a lot of children. That will eventually lead to high levels immunity in children, and it may be that this is what we are achieving now.

‘Achieving, I think, is the wrong term. But it could be that we’re reaching high levels of immunity among children due to these high rates of infection. It may begin to level off.

Professor Edmunds cautioned that models presented to ministers could also suggest that cases could rise in spring due to waning immunity, and a return of normality.

He said booster doses — currently given to over-50s, healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions — should be dished out as fast as possible to address waning immunity and rising infections.

Professor Edmunds suggested that they should be made available to younger people “in the time” 

The pandemic triggered an increase in infections among schoolchildren, which reached its peak in September after schools returned from summer vacations.

Some local authorities and head teachers have implemented restrictions in their schools in a bid to stop cases spiralling — such as requiring face masks in corridors and siblings of infected pupils to self-isolate.

England officially lifted almost all Covid restrictions from schools in July, with only two weekly testing and a ten-day isolation for PCR positive children.

There have been calls in the last week for the UK to implement its Plan B winter plan — which ministers said would only be brought if if the NHS faces unsustainable pressure.

Current measures show that the Government is focusing its efforts on the distribution of vaccines and booster jabs to children aged 12-15 years old to reduce rising cases. It will not switch to further curbs — face masks and work from home — unless the NHS comes under ‘unsustainable’ pressure.

The British Medical Association is a union of doctors and accused the Government of being “wilfully negligent” for not bringing back Covid restraints.

Labour leader Sir Keir starmer said Monday he was in favor of Plan B measures because it was “common sense” and protects “yourself and everyone else”.

Ministers have taken heart from SAGE modelling that was unusually optimistic, which showed that the epidemic will shrink or stay below previous waves this season, even without the Government’s Plan A of face masks and vaccine passports. They also expect the epidemic to remain under control.