Anyone with a cold or flu-like symptoms should avoid mixing with the elderly this Christmas, health leaders warn

Photo of author
Written By Rivera Claudia

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

  • New figures show rising numbers flu patients in hospital  are infected with Covid

Anyone nursing a cold or flu-like symptoms should avoid mixing with elderly relatives over Christmas, health leaders say.

The warning comes as new figures show rising numbers of hospital patients have flu and more people are infected with Covid-19 in the community.

Around one in 24 people in England and Scotland – 2.5million in total – are likely to have tested positive for coronavirus in mid-December.

This is more than double the number at the start of the month, when it was one in 50, according to the winter Covid-19 infection study.

The virus is estimated to be more prevalent among 18 to 44 year-olds than in older age groups, with London and the South East experiencing the highest regional rates.

Around one in 24 people in England and Scotland – 2.5million in total – are likely to have tested positive for coronavirus in mid-December

Meanwhile, the number of people in hospital in England with flu each day last week has increased by nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) in a week, from 402 to 648, including 30 in critical care.

Norovirus levels are also on the increase, with an average of 566 adult hospital beds filled last week by patients with diarrhoea and vomiting or norovirus-like symptoms.

This is up 12 per cent from 506 beds the previous week and is 56 per cent higher than at this stage last year, when the average stood at 363, NHS England said.

Professor Steven Riley, director-general for data and surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency, said: ‘At this time of year, the cold weather, shorter days and increased socialising mean that the potential for transmission of respiratory viruses like Covid-19 is particularly high.

‘This, as well as the possible impact of new variants, means it’s not unexpected to see cases increasing.

Anyone nursing a cold or flu-like symptoms should avoid mixing with elderly relatives over Christmas, health leaders say

Anyone nursing a cold or flu-like symptoms should avoid mixing with elderly relatives over Christmas, health leaders say

‘If you are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or other respiratory illnesses, you should try to limit your contact with other people as much as possible, especially those who are older or more vulnerable.’

The Covid-19 variant Omicron BA.2.86, first identified in August, is now the dominant variant in circulation in England, according to the UKHSA.

One of the subvariants of BA.2.86, called JN.1, was this week classified by the World Health Organisation as a separate ‘variant of interest’ due to its ‘rapidly increasingly spread’ around the world.

However, JN.1 has yet to become prevalent enough in the UK for the UKHSA to classify it as a variant here.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director at NHS England, said the latest figures show ‘winter is well and truly with us’.

He added: ‘We expect this to be the most challenging winter yet with strike action in the mix and high occupancy in our hospitals is deeply concerning as our hard-working staff juggle seasonal viruses and strikes going into Christmas.’

SOURCE

Leave a Comment