On Wednesday, June 23, the Department of Health and Social Care recorded 16,135 new infections, up by almost 80 percent from last week’s figure and nearly 5,000 cases more than were recorded the day before. (Related: Coronavirus cases in surge across the UK, even though 8 in 10 adults have received the “vaccine.”)
This is the highest reported daily toll since Feb. 6 earlier this year, when 18,262 people tested positive for COVID-19. Another 19 deaths supposedly from the coronavirus have also been registered, up from nine last week. The number of hospitalizations has also risen by 20 percent.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there are over 153,000 deaths registered in the U.K. that mention COVID-19 on the death certificate.
Officials within Public Health England (PHE) are partially blaming the rise in COVID-19 cases on the new delta variant. A spokesperson for the prime minister said PHE has already put extra lockdown measures in place in locations in the U.K. where the delta variant has been detected.
Some of these measures include “enhanced” contact tracing protocols, mass testing programs and mandated quarantines.
The spokesperson added that at least 41 cases of the variant have already been identified in the country.
Officials have emphasized the need for people in the U.K. to get vaccinated to avoid infections. This is despite the fact that COVID-19 cases are still rising even though much of the country has already received at least one dose of the vaccine.
As of press time, the U.K. has reported vaccinating 60.3 percent of all people in the U.K. aged 18-years-old and over. In Wales, 61.6 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. In England, it’s 60.4 percent of adults. They are followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland, where 59 and 56.7 percent of all adults are fully vaccinated.
Health officials in the U.K. spinning rise in cases as a positive
Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at PHE, said during a press conference on Wednesday that the surge in cases is actually a good thing because it means the mass testing program in Scotland is working.
In the previous 24 hours before the latest COVID-19 tally was announced, Scotland tested over 42,000 people for the coronavirus. This is the highest number of tests Scotland has carried out in a single day since the pandemic began. Around seven percent of the tests came back positive.
She added that, even though every coronavirus death is a terrible tragedy, the data shows that the country’s mass vaccination program is working.
To prove this, Ramsay pointed to a chart allegedly showing COVID-19-related deaths in the U.K. and said that the numbers “are so small on this graph that you can’t even see any increase.”
Top scientists and government ministers believe the data regarding cases is “encouraging” because it supposedly shows that the speed of the post-vaccine infection wave is decelerating. They also believe this wave is more like a “bump” and the worst of the coronavirus crisis is actually over.
Statistics from the National Health Service, the U.K.’s publicly funded healthcare system, even allegedly show pressure on hospitals with COVID-19 patients is decreasing even though the actual number of infected patients requiring treatment is still on the rise.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. might still have a “rough winter” ahead of it. He said this even though his ministers and health experts said the rise in coronavirus cases is supposedly a good thing.
Johnson has also not ruled out putting more lockdown measures in place if COVID-19 cases surged again. His government’s current plan is to loosen all restrictions by July 19 and he said “it’s looking good” that the lockdown rollback will proceed as planned.
Learn more about how the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting countries like the U.K. with high vaccination rates by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.