Covid fifth wave: UK is fighting fifth wave of coronavirus as cases reach 1.7 million

Covid-19 cases in hospitals have risen by 37% in one week as the UK battles its fifth wave of infection

Covid-19 cases across England have shot up after it was revealed that the rate people receieving hospital treatment for the virus has increased by 37%.

The NHS has released new data which shows that cases in hopsitals have jumped up by more than 2,000 in one week as Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 spread among the population.

It comes after rates across the four home nations have increased in recent weeks, with the country battling a fifth wave of infection according to experts.

Covid cases have begun surging once again in the UK, with the country fighting a fifth wave of infection. (Credit: Getty Images)

How many Covid-19 cases are there in the UK?

Around 1.7million people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus in the past week.

This marks a 23% increase from the week prior.

The NHS has said that 7,822 people are currently receiving hospital treatment for Covid-19 in England.

It was revealed that in Scotland, one in 20 people had the virus in the week beginning 20 June.

During the same time period, one in 30 had contracted the virus in Northern Ireland, while one in 45 had picked up Covid-19 in Wales.

The inital surge in cases came after major events, with experts pinpointing the Platinum Jubilee weekend as a contributor to rising rates.

Other major summer events, such as Glastonbury Festival, the Notting Hill Carnival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, are expected to push cases even higher.

Is the UK battling a fifth Covid wave?

Professor Tim Spector, from the ZOE Covid symptom study, has said that the surging rates means that the UK is currently in the midst of a fifth Covid wave.

Speaking to The Independtent, he said: “We’re in a wave at the moment heading towards a quarter of a million cases a day, that’s a wave already.

“Events like Glastonbury will drive up cases but the question is how much do they account for.

“We’ve relaxed everything most people don’t think there’s a Covid problem at the moment, most people don’t wear masks, or even worry about cold-like symptoms.”

Professor Spector warned that the country could soon be facing one million cases per day, adding that the summer wave likely came as a surprise to many people.

One of the main factors driving the surge is the new variants of Omicron, in particular the BA.5 variant.

What is the BA.5 Covid Omicron variant?

Despite cases rising, it is believed that the BA.5 Omricron variant is not any more severe than preivous variants, however data suggests that it is more transmissible.

However, transmissibility of the virus may also be affected by waning immunity

BA.5, alongside the BA.4 variant, is believed to be able to reinfect those who have recently been infected with Covid.

Alongside the common signs of infection - a fever, a loss of taste or smell, and a new and continuous cough - the NHS has updated their list of cold-like symptoms.

This includes:

  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick