Map shows Covid rates where you live with part of North Staffordshire among highest in UK

Scientists have raised the alarm over a new Covid variant driving up hospital admissions across the UK - as our map shows rates are higher in part of North Staffordshire than most other areas of the country.

The variant KP.3 emerged in early April and belongs to a new group of Covid-19 variants, known collectively as FLiRT, which now make up a large proportion of cases. Latest figures from the UKHSA show hospital admissions rose by 24% in the week to Sunday, from a rate of 2.67 people per 100,000 to 3.31 per 100,000.

The highest hospital admission rate for confirmed Covid-19 continues to be in those aged over 85 years, increasing to 34.70 per 100,000 following a short interval of decreases. However, increases also occurred for those aged between 65 and 74 years, those aged between 75 and 84 years, and most of the younger age groups.

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Figures show that the Staffordshire Moorlands currently has among the highest rate of Covid infections in the country coming in at number 11 on a list of 317 local authority areas. During the week ending June 19 there were 11.46 infections for every 100,000 of the population.

That figure has rocketed since the previous week when there were just 2.69 cases per 100,000.

Only Carlisle in Cumbria (16.33 per 100,000), Newcastle-upon-Tyne (14.08 per 100,000), Guildford in Surrey (13.9 per 100,000), Eden in Cumbria (12.74 per 100,000), Allerdale in Cumbria (12.45 per 100,000) have higher rates. Castle Point, Essex (12.26 per 100,000), Southend-on-Sea, Essex (11.63 per 100,000), Fareham, Hampshire (12.17 per 100.000), East Hampshire (11.89 per 100,000) and Salford in Greater Manchester (11.45 per 100,000) have a higher rate of infections.

Meanwhile, Newcastle-under-Lyme has a rate of 8.94 per 100,000 and Stoke-on-Trent has a rate of 6/98 per 100,000.

You can see the rates where you live using our interactive map below:

The diminishing immunity of the general population has been considered a reason for the spread of the variant, and a top scientist told the i that a summer wave of Covid could be on the horizon. Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University, told the i: “This is a wake-up call. The virus hasn’t gone away and is certainly not a seasonal infection.”

The virologist also warned that Covid hasn’t gone away and said it’s “certainly not a season infection.”

Whilst the recorded infections are lower than the previous spring, winter, and autumn, the UKHSA figures show the proportion of positive test results among people suspected of having Covid rose by 19% in a week, from 8.4% to 10%.

Professor Steve Griffin, of Leeds University, said: “Another wave [of Covid] is building.” He labelled the rise in hospitalisations worrying, especially as the uptake for the spring booster for those who are vulnerable was lower than in 2023. He added: “There is a considerable difference between the current vaccines and circulating viruses."

Alarms are also ringing in the US. Since the beginning of June, KP.3 has overtaken KP.2 and now accounts for 25% of Covid-19 cases in the US, although its parent is snapping at its heels with 22.5% of cases.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at UKHSA said: “We are seeing an increase in Covid-19 across all indicators, including hospitalisations. Those eligible only have until Sunday to take up the offer of a vaccine, which helps boosts your protection against serious illness. So, make sure you book your vaccine as soon as possible, either online at nhs.uk/get-vaccine or call 119 if you don’t have access to the internet.

“If you are 75 years or older, reside in a care home, or have a weakened immune system, you are eligible for your Covid-19 vaccine.

“If you are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or flu, help protect others by staying at home and avoiding contact with other people, especially those who are more vulnerable. If you do need to leave home, consider wearing a mask.”

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