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Covid cases may have finally peaked in children, according to a raft of statistics that offer hope that herd immunity is taking effect in youngsters.

Infections exploded among children in England in the wake of classrooms reopening at the start of September – with up to one in 20 secondary school pupils thought to have been carrying the virus last week.

But Department of Health figures now show the number testing positive has fallen in the past week in primary and secondary-aged children. 

Experts told MailOnline the downturn could signal rising immunity from a combination of vaccination and infections among young people.  

The vaccine rollout only opened to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds last month but older teens have been getting jabbed since August. 

Data from the country’s biggest symptom-tracking app – which is watched closely by ministers – also suggested today that cases in children have peaked. But infection rates still remain extremely high – with around 1.5 per cent of youngsters aged 10 to 14 testing positive last week alone. 

Experts have warned, however, that infections are already starting to spill over into parents, which could eventually kickstart a bigger outbreak this winter.   

PHE data suggests case rates have finally peaked in children after exploding at the start of the new term

PHE data suggests case rates have finally peaked in children after exploding at the start of the new term

PHE data suggests case rates have finally peaked in children after exploding at the start of the new term

Department of Health figures show infections are still highest among 10 to 14-year-olds.

There were 1,540 positive tests per every 100,000 people in that age group during the week ending September 27 after soaring at the start of the new term.

But this has fallen consistently since then, dropping to just 1,461 per 100,000 in the seven-day spell ending October 2 – the most recent day figures are available for.

A similar trend is visible among 15 to 19-year-olds, which saw cases peak in the same seven-day window (651 per 100,000). It now stands at 635 per 100,000.

And cases among five to nine-year-olds have been falling for nine days in a row after peaking at 569 per 100,000 on September 23. Some 487 per 100,000 in the cohort are now infected.

School children are largely unvaccinated and not required to wear masks, although they are regularly tested for the virus.

UK’s daily Covid cases rise to another month-high 

Daily coronavirus cases have risen in the UK again and the number of patients being admitted to hospital with the virus has started to nudge up once more — but deaths are down.

The Department of Health recorded 40,701 infections across the country over the past 24 hours, up nearly 12 per cent on last week. It’s the first time in a month that cases have risen above 40,000 in a single day. 

There were another 122 Covid deaths registered today in an 11 per cent drop on the figure last Thursday. It’s the 11th day in a row that fatalities have fallen week-on-week.

Latest hospital data also shows there were 681 Covid admissions on October 3, a small 4 per cent rise compared to the number the previous week.

Both death and hospital numbers lag a few weeks behind cases due to the time it takes for infection to turn into serious illness. 

Yesterday saw a week-long spell of falling cases come to an end, with the trajectory of the epidemic becoming increasingly harder to predict.

Separate data from the country’s largest symptom-tracking study today suggested that the number of Britons falling ill with Covid every day has jumped to the highest level since January.

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Meanwhile, cases are rising among people in their 50s, with up to 286 per 100,000 infected. 

Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline some of the fall in the 10 to 14-year-old age group could be due to the start of immunisation in the age group.

Children aged 12 to 15 began getting Covid jabs from September 20. But he noted this cannot explain changes among those aged five to nine.  

Professor Sir Terence Stephenson, an expert in child health at the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, told MailOnline cases could be falling because immunity levels are rising among young people and parents due to vaccines and natural infection.

Young people could also be following social distancing and wearing face coverings in and outside of school, he said. 

‘These data are good news but do not alter my support for the four CMO’s [chief medical officers’] recommendation to offer Covid vaccines to teenagers across the UK’, Professor Stephenson added. 

Dr Stephen Griffin, a viral oncologist at the University of Leeds, told MailOnline he suspects vaccine uptake among 16 to 18-year-olds and children isolating now that schools are back is behind the decline in cases.

He said: ‘It is, and always has been, a shameful mistake to allow schools to return without mitigations.

‘Everyone wants children in school, it simply needs to be as safe for them as we can possibly make it for them to do so. 

‘To ignore Covid is a mistake. Current policy continues to ignore those without vaccines, including young children, as well as the clinically vulnerable. 

‘We need sensible mitigations and a wide ranging vaccination programme as the long term solution to controlling the pandemic.’  

It comes after King’s College London scientists estimated 66,033 people were getting infected daily in the week ending October 2, up 13.6 per cent from 58,126 the week before. 

Cases in children appear to be turning a corner but are still extremely high, with around one in 30 school pupils contracting the virus — nearly three times more than the next highest rate in 35 to 55-year-olds. 

Meanwhile, data from the Department of Health today revealed the UK recorded 40,701 infections over the past 24 hours, up nearly 12 per cent on last week. 

It’s the first time in a month that cases have risen above 40,000 in a single day. 

There were another 122 Covid deaths registered today in an 11 per cent drop on the figure last Thursday, marking the 11th day in a row that fatalities have fallen week-on-week.

Latest hospital data also shows there were 681 Covid admissions on October 3, a small 4 per cent rise compared to the number the previous week.

Both death and hospital numbers lag a few weeks behind cases due to the time it takes for infection to turn into serious illness.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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