New maps reveal how coronavirus infections are 'heating up across England'
THESE new maps reveal how coronavirus cases are spreading from "coast to coast" and North to South.
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer, warned that Covid-19 infections are now "heating up" across England.
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Sharing the latest data at a Downing Street briefing today, he compared the map from the week September 30 to October 6 with the newest from October 8 to October 14.
The purple map on the left shows the weekly case rates per 100,000 people, while the brown one on the right shows the rate of change – all by local authority level.
Darker colours indicate higher rates of disease or higher rates of changed, he explained.
Prof Van-Tam said: "If you look at those shadings… you can clearly see that dark purple problem area has extended from coast to coast now and extends quite a long way down the country.
"In contrast, the rate of change is more variable and there are more patches of green – indicating a negative rate of change – as there are new patches of dark brown, such as in places like Lincolnshire."
NHS UNDER PRESSURE
He also warned coronavirus cases among the over-60s are rising – putting pressure on the NHS.
"Heat maps" showing the spread of the disease showed "very significant areas of heat" across all ages in Greater Manchester, he said.
"The infections that have seeded in the younger age groups are now penetrating the older age groups," he added.
"This is most concerning because it is the penetration of the disease into the older age groups that gives the NHS significant problems."
Prof Van-Tam also said that he expects the trend in Covid deaths to continue to rise upwards, adding that "we may have to push the brake pedal a little harder to get the virus under control".
Asked whether Tier 3 measures would be enough to bring infection rates down, Prof Van-Tam said: "The nationally published Tier 3 measures are the minimum national standard for hard measures but there are other things that local authorities can consider on top and I hope some do.
"What is really important is compliance.
"Everybody needs to accept that this is not a good place to be if you're in Tier 3, but to get behind it and try and get the rate of disease falling so that R in that area is falling so that the pressure comes off the health service."
MANCHESTER IN TIER 3
The Prime Minister used to the briefing today to confirm that Greater Manchester will move to the "very high" coronavirus alert level.
It comes after negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement with Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, broke down.
Burnham said talks collapsed after the Government refused to meet his demand for £65 million to support the livelihoods of people in the region as they face the closure of pubs, bars, bookmakers and other premises.
But Whitehall insiders accused the Labour mayor of "intransigence" and claimed his "pride" had scuppered a deal.
Amid the bitter recriminations between politicians in Westminster and Manchester, the lives of 2.8 million people will be placed under tougher curbs, possibly as soon as Saturday.
Addressing reporters in Manchester, Mr Burnham said leaders of the authorities in Greater Manchester had originally wanted £90 million – £15 million a month until the end of the financial year – to protect incomes for people forced out of work.
They reduced that sum eventually to £65 million, but ministers would only offer £60 million.
Mr Burnham said £65 million was the "bare minimum to prevent a winter of real hardship" over a "punishing" winter.
Meanwhile, Downing Street said talks are continuing with local leaders in the North East and Yorkshire and Humber about further Covid restrictions.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called for the 10pm curfew in the capital to be scrapped now the city is under Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions.
It comes as official figures showed the number of weekly registered coronavirus deaths has risen beyond 400 and increased by a third in the space of seven days.
The Government said that, as of Tuesday, there had been a further 21,330 lab-confirmed cases, while a further 241 people had died within 28 days of testing positive – the highest daily figure reported since June 5 and taking the UK total to 43,967.
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