The UK has affected more than 100,000 cases of the Delta variant coronavirus after a huge increase of almost 50% in just one week.
Public Health England confirmed on Friday that the total number of confirmed Delta variant cases was 111,157, after Britain reported 35,204 new cases in the past week.
The health body said the variant now includes 96% of sequenced cases, but the vaccines were still effective in protecting against the risk of hospitalization, the Mirror reports.
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Northeast leaders are now considering measures, including targeted surge testing and the reintroduction of face covers in schools, as the Delta Covid-19 variant continues to “spread rapidly”.
Several schools in the county have been hit with positive Covid-19 test results, leading students to be told to stay home.
In England, a total of 1,320 people were admitted to hospital with the Delta variant of Covid-19 as of June 21, an increase of 514 from the previous week, the latest figures show.
Some 902 of the 1,320 people were under 50, while 418 were over 50.
Of the 902 under 50, 695 (77%) were not vaccinated, 79 (9%) within 21 days of their first dose of vaccine, 85 (9%) more than 21 days after their first dose of vaccine and 27 (3%) were fully vaccinated.
Of the 418 out of 50, 136 (33%) were not vaccinated, nine (2%) within 21 days of their first dose of vaccine, 104 (25%) more than 21 days after their first dose of vaccine, and 163 (39%) were fully vaccinated.
The Indian Ministry of Health said studies show that the Delta plus variant spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung cells and is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy, which can help neutralize the virus.
But while the Delta variant now accounts for around 95% of new cases sequenced in the UK, PHE said vaccines continued to have a “crucial effect on hospital admissions and deaths.”
Dr Jenny Harries, Managing Director of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Thanks to the success of our vaccination program, the data suggests that we have started to sever the link between cases and hospitalizations. This is extremely encouraging news, but we cannot get complacent.
“Two doses of the vaccine is much more effective against Covid-19 than a single dose, so be sure to show up for your second dose as soon as you are prompted.
“While vaccines offer great protection, they don’t offer total protection, so it’s still just as important that we continue to exercise caution.
“Protect yourself and those around you by working from home whenever possible and practicing ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times.”
A new variant, Lambda, has also been named with six cases detected between February 23 and June 7 – five of which had traveled abroad, PHE said.
The Lambda variant (C.37), was designated as a variant under investigation (VUI) due to an increase in international cases and several notable mutations.
PHE said testing is ongoing and there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more serious illness or makes vaccines less effective.
The body also said variant numbers this week are likely underestimated due to an operational issue being investigated by the Wellcome Sanger Institute into the potential cross-contamination of a number of positive samples of Covid-19.
PHE said these samples were tested by PCR before being sent to the Sanger Institute, meaning people received their correct test results and positive cases were asked to isolate.