Growth of Covid cases slows for under-60s as country gears up for ‘Freedom Day’

The growth of Covid-19 cases appears to be slowing in all age groups under 60, analysis showed.

Cases are still rising but the rate at which they are increasing is now slower than it was a week or so ago.

The preliminary figures offer hope that cases will begin to flatten out over the next few days, arresting an alarming increase in infections in the last few weeks.

And with vaccines significantly weakening the link between new cases, hospitalisations and deaths, it may mean case numbers stabilise ahead of the July 19 “Freedom Day” lifting of the remaining lockdown restrictions.

Government ministers have revealed face masks will no longer be legally mandated after July 19 and their use will instead be a voluntary decision made by the individual.

Crunching the numbers

James Ward, a mathematician, produced a series of graphs looking at how quickly Covid-19 was spreading in five year-year age groups.

The data goes up to July 1 and indicates the current wave of infections may be building to a head and starting to show signs of reaching a peak.

On July 4, there were 24,248 new cases of Covid, but just 358 people were admitted to hospital and 15 people died.

The number of people currently in hospital with Covid nationwide is 1,905 patients. Just 300 are on ventilators.

Growth rates by age group

When cases were this high on November 12 2020, before the vaccine was approved, there were 1,916 new hospital admissions in one day alone and 421 deaths.

The current, and far lower, figures for hospitalisations and deaths is being attributed to the vaccine, with 86 per cent of adults now jabbed, and 63.8 per cent having two doses.

Mr Ward has created his own model to make sense of the coronavirus pandemic and the deluge of data available.

He posted a picture of the data on Twitter showing the growth rate in cases for people aged under 30. It shows a universal slowing of the growth rate.

“The age-group growth rate charts continue to show a declining trend in short-term growth,” he said.

‘A clear declining trend’

A similar looking graph followed with data for people between 30 and 60. “Also with a clear declining trend,” Mr Ward said.

“I think the question is no longer: is growth falling?” he added. “But rather: what will it do next? Does it keep going down (great news), stabilise at a new level (less good, but still better than it was), or bounce back up (bad news)?”

The growth rate appears to be increasing in older people, but with more than 95 per cent of over-60s now double-jabbed, the number of new cases is very low.

The analysis uses a five-day average of the growth rate for new cases, and it is believed to be broadly similar to the R rate. If it is above 1, the epidemic is growing.

The majority of the age groups are between 1.3 and 1.5, and none are below 1. This means that for every ten infected people, they will pass the virus on to between 13 or 15.

Sage documents published on Friday reveal that the Government scientific advisers believe the R rate is likely between 1.1 and 1.3.

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