Next Indian variant hotspots identified by Covid symptom app – as strain now dominant

Next Indian variant hotspots identified by Covid symptom app – as strain now dominant

May 28, 2021

THREE new coronavirus hotspots have been identified in England as experts warn the Indian variant is now the dominant strain.

New data shows that infections have increased in Leicester, Bury and Bradford with cases still climbing in areas such as Bolton – where the Indian variant is also prominent.

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There are currently around 2,550 new symptomatic cases of Covid each day in the UK, data from the ZOE Symptom Tracker app states.

This, the experts say, suggests that new variants are yet to have an impact on the number of new symptomatic cases as this week's figure is a seven per cent decrease on last week's and is similar to rates seen two weeks ago.

On average one in 1,530 people in the UK currently have symptomatic Covid, but the experts warned that this risk increases depending on what region of the UK you are based in.

Prof Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE Covid Study app and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London said: "The Indian Variant is now probably becoming the dominant strain in the UK but the national figures remain unaffected, despite fears the variant might start a 3rd wave.

"The hotspots we’ve detected this week include Leicester, Bury and Bradford and we are still seeing higher numbers in Aberdeen, Kirklees and Bolton."

Both data from the team at ZOE and Public Health England (PHE) states that Bolton is currently one of the most infected areas.

Blackburn with Darwen is the most infected area in the country and has seen a rise from 145 cases per 100,000 to 313.3.

Bolton has seen cases rise from 321.7 to 447.2 and currently has the highest infection rate in the country, PHE data shows.

Data from PHE states that infections in Leicester have climbed from 50 cases per 100,000 to 63.2, in Bury they are up from 38.2 to 65.4 and in Bradford they are also up from 37.6 to 57.6.

Luckily, Prof Spector said he hasn't see a rise in numbers in surrounding areas.


However, data from PHE revealed a Northern cluster and showed that areas such as Manchester and Bury also have high infection rates – all of which are classed as Greater Manchester

In areas where the Indian variant has been found to be dominant, such as Bolton, extra measures have been rolled out such as surge tests.

Vaccine centres have also been given greater capacity, with centres extending opening hours in order to get as many people jabbed as possible.

So far in the UK 38.3 million Brits have received a first dose of a jab, with over 23.6 now having had a second.

There are three jabs being rolled out, the Oxford/AstraZenenca, the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna jab.

The experts at the Zoe Symptom Tracker App stated that its data "also indicates vaccines are still effective against the Indian Variant and this is likely the reason why cases haven’t increased and hospitalisation and deaths remain low".

Data from the government's coronavirus dashboard states that in the UK on average, 115 a day are being admitted to hospital with the virus and that at present there are 954 people in hospital with the virus.

This figure has remained relatively steady throughout May.


The data does however show that the North West has the highest amount of daily admission in the UK with 22 patients being admitted each day with the virus and the data shows that at present North West hospitals have 174 Covid patients.

The Midlands, which is home to hotspot area Leicester, has the second highest daily admittance with 18 Covid patients a day being admitted, hospitals in the regions currently have 134 patients.

This is in comparison to the East of England where just two patients a day are being admitted.

While cases remain relatively stable across the UK, Prof Spector added: "Also important to remind ourselves that our national rates are still amongst the lowest in Europe, despite other countries travel restrictions ”

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