Covid levels in the UK are estimated to have hit a new record high for the pandemic.
According to the latest incidence figures from the ZOE-Covid study, an average of 351,000 people contract the virus every day – a 13 percent increase since the beginning of the month.
The previous record of 350,000 daily infections was set at the end of March 2022.
Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist behind the research, said 1 in 15 people in the UK currently have the virus. He added that cases are still rising across England but are flattening out in Scotland and Wales.
Infection rates also continue to rise across all age groups, but are beginning to level off in children, research shows.
The recent spike in cases has been largely caused by the Omicron subvariant BA.5, which is spreading better than previous strains of the Covid virus.
“This variant is particularly good at immune escape and, despite vaccines and natural immunity, is causing an increase in reinfections in humans, particularly in recent weeks,” Prof Spector said earlier this month.
The record-breaking numbers come as school principals warned of rising student absenteeism. The latest government data released on Tuesday showed that overall enrollment in state schools, adjusted for 11th and 13th grade exams, fell to 86.9 percent on July 7, compared with 89.4 percent on July 7 23rd June.
The secondary school enrollment rate was just 81.2 percent, down from 86.9 percent on June 23, meaning nearly one in five students is out of school.
The data represents the lowest level since Jan. 28, when 85.3 percent of students were in school during the Omicron infection wave.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, called the data “extremely worrying”.
“It is impossible to know how many of these absences are directly related to Covid as the government has decided to stop collecting this information,” he said.