Covid cases continue to rise due to new FLiRT variant

Covid cases continue to rise in the UK as the new highly contagious FLiRT variant spreads rapidly across the UK.

After remaining at a three-year low for nearly four months, Covid cases have increased for the third consecutive week, driven by new variants along with waning immunity among the public built up from vaccines and prior infections.

The latest data showed that the “positivity rate” from the virus through the monitoring system of the UK health protection agency UKHSA rose to 8.6 per cent, compared with 6.8 per cent last week – a rise of 26 per cent in a week.

These figures relate to the proportion of people getting a Covid test, not the total population, but scientists said they generally give a good rough indication of infection rates.

The new UKHSA data also showed that Covid hospital admissions rose to 3.28 per 100,000 compared with 2.50 per 100,000 the previous week – an increase of 31 per cent.

The FLiRT variants, known individually as KP.2 and KP.3, saw their combined share of UK Covid cases reach 42 per cent on May 1, the latest day for which data is available – scientists estimate. That's since they've increased by more than 50 percent. To become the new major variant.

Dr. Mary Ramsay, director of public health programs in the UK, said: “Once again this week, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has increased, so if you are eligible and have not yet taken “Spring is the time to get vaccinated.” Health Protection Agency (UKHSA).

“Try to stay home if you have COVID-19 or flu symptoms as this helps protect others, especially those who are more vulnerable to these viruses. If you are unable to stay home if you are unwell, consider wearing a mask.

The latest surge has raised concerns that the UK could be at the start of a new Covid wave – although it is not expected to be as large as that seen before Christmas – when 2.5 million, or 4.6 per cent of the UK population, will have Covid. Was – partly because we're headed into summer.

Also, new subvariants are not as different from their “parents” as some previous subvariants were from their “parents”.

They contain only two key mutations from the JN.1 variant – which was first detected in September and quickly became the dominant variant – meaning it can spread more easily.

Additionally, mutations have existed before, even before the pandemic, in some previous variants – but not since JN.1 became the dominant variant.

Thus, there may be some permanent immunity to those mutations in the population, but it is hard to know for sure, scientists say — because the effect of any given mutation varies according to the type found in it and is difficult to predict.

“These new figures are a reminder that Covid is not 'over' – it is not a thing of the past and is still causing serious illness and even hospitalisation,” said Simon Williams of Swansea University. Is being created and will continue to create.” I,

“Thankfully the worst of Covid is behind us, and fortunately we are unlikely to see a significant acute wave of deaths and hospitalizations anywhere near the first few years of the pandemic,” he said.

Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, said: “The latest data indicates that infections are increasing. “Of particular concern is the slight increase in the number of COVID-related hospitalizations.”

“The spread of new virus variants and declining immunity is of particular concern to the most vulnerable – the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. “Although the currently available vaccines are not a perfect fit for these new variants, the spring booster jab should provide some protection,” he said.

A FLiRT variant consists of one mutation, known as F, replaced by another, known as L. In the second the mutation R is replaced by the mutation T – which gives the key letter for the term FLiRT.

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