Some 1,009 people were admitted to UK hospitals with Covid-19 on 9 September, significantly higher than the 203 admitted on the same day in 2020.
Numerous restrictions on gatherings and activities were in place this time last year, but life in September 2021 is nearly back to pre-Covid norms.
The difference between now and then is that 70 per cent of the UK population are fully vaccinated. Although 35,000 people per day are testing positive for Covid-19, around 150 are dying per day rather than the 1,000-plus when cases were at the same level in January.
However, concerns are rising over fading vaccine efficacy, as well as the significant chunk of the population who remain unvaccinated.
The government’s Sage advisory committee has warned that new restrictions should be introduced to avoid a potentially catastrophic rise in Covid cases. The committee estimates that daily hospitalisations could peak somewhere between 2,000 and 7,000 in England next month, potentially surpassing the 2020-21 winter peak of around 4,000.
Boris Johnson yesterday said the government could introduce Covid passports, implement new face mask rules, and advise people to work from home if the NHS was once again at risk of being overwhelmed.