BRITS have been urged to stay away from their grandparents if they feel unwell as hospital admissions from Covid continue to rise.
New data from the NHS shows that the number of people going in with the bug has doubled in the past two weeks.
While millions of Brits have been vaccinated against the bug, thanks to a huge vaccine drive, the elderly are still at risk from respiratory issues as the winter months draw in.
The current strain circulating, Omicron, is milder than those that came before it.
However, there are now 1,129 new patients per day – up from 574 per day in mid-September.
This has prompted fears of a fresh winter wave – with cases in care homes and hospitals also on the up.
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Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency, warned: "If you are unwell, it is particularly important to avoid contact with elderly people or those who are more likely to have severe disease.”
Across the whole population, cases are also rising and health chiefs say they are seeing the third wave of patients since April.
In total, 9,631 people were in hospital with the bug in England by Wednesday – the most since the first week of August.
Some hospitals are already bringing back face masks to curb the spread of the virus.
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Dr Hopkins added: "This week’s data shows concerning further increases in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisation rates, which are now at their highest level in months.
“Outbreaks in hospitals and care homes are also on the rise.
“Make sure you have any vaccinations you are eligible for and avoid contact with others if you feel unwell or have symptoms of an infection.”
The NHS is well into the autumn booster rollout and has given new Omicron top-up jabs to 5.4million out of around 30m eligible people.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said one million people were infected with the virus in the week up to September 20, the latest data.
Cases have been rising since the start of last month but experts hope this wave will be milder than last winter.
Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, said: “In my view, it’s unlikely that we will see pressures on the health service anywhere near as great as we saw last winter.”
A million people say they still have long Covid following an infection over a year ago.
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In total, 2.3m have suffered lingering effects for more than a month, according to the ONS.
Fatigue or tiredness is most common, affecting two out of three people, followed by brain fog, experienced by 45 per cent.
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