A HUGE spike in Covid cases is expected next week when health chiefs start counting reinfections for the first time.
From Monday, the UK Health Security Agency will include people testing positive for a second time in its daily cases count, a move set to blow up the numbers.
Virus chiefs in the UK will include people’s second Covid infections in daily case counts from Monday[/caption]
Top scientists estimate as many as seven in 10 people now catching Covid have had it before.
Imperial College London’s React study found 72 per cent of people infected with Omicron in January had caught earlier variants as well.
Professor Christl Donnelly, who runs the study, said: “There appear to be people who are at higher risk, because they’ve been infected again.”
Prof Paul Elliott added: “Clearly the type of people who got infected previously are the type of people who are getting infected currently.”
UKHSA’s official estimate suggests only 10 to 15 per cent of cases are reinfections, but including them will still bump up the daily figures.
Another 94,326 cases were announced yesterday, with the numbers flattening off because a fall in adults is being cancelled out by rises in children.
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There were 439 more deaths and 17,162 people in hospitals across the UK.
The React study said there is now a plateau in infections in England after the wave hit a record high in the first week of January.
Prof Donnelly added: “Even if it is going up in children, it won’t do that indefinitely.
“Obviously, having a child that goes to school living at home is a potential risk factor for the rest of the family.
“But there has been a lot of transmission already among adults, and there’s been a lot of vaccination as well – so these things are trading off each other.”
The new system will see any positive tests that are at least 90 days apart counted as separate cases.
UKHSA officials said: “As the pandemic continues and more variants emerge, it is more likely that people will be reinfected with Covid-19.”