Coronavirus cases rising fastest in under 25s with early optimism vaccines are “slowing the spread” of the virus in other age groups
Cases of coronavirus in Wales are increasing fastest in those under the age of 25, with the first minister today issuing a fresh plea for people to come forward for first and second vaccination doses.
The rise in cases has been put down to a higher level of socialising in the age group and the Delta variant, which is now “spreading freely in communities right across Wales.”
It is thought the variant is “between 40 and 80 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) variant”, which was responsible for the majority of cases during the winter peak.
So far 1100 cases of the variant have been identified across Wales as it has doubled in a week, with Delta making up 90% all new cases in North Wales.
The First Minister said 15 people have so far been hospitalised across Wales as a result of the variant. Wrexham.com asked the First Minister if there was, like there is in England, a breakdown of those people in terms of vaccination status however was told due to the low numbers involved that was not yet possible – but is known internally. That data from Public Health England (PHE) has been included in the most recent Technical Advisory Cell document from Welsh Government yesterday, however was superseded by the latest release earlier today (below).
North Wales has seen the largest rise of coronavirus cases over the last week, with Public Health Wales announcing yesterday than the seven day rolling average in nearly at 100 cases per 100,000.
This has been put down to the “porous border” between the region and the north west of England, which has seen the largest outbreak of coronavirus cases in England
In Wrexham cases have steadily increased over the last few weeks, with the seven day rolling benchmark now at 54.4 per 100,000 people.
Earlier today we reported how more than 1300 pupils across the county borough are now self-isolating.
In Flintshire, which has the highest case rate per 100,000 in Wales, cases amongst under-25s in are “seven times higher” than amongst those aged over 60.
Speaking a press conference this afternoon, First Minister Mark Drakeford said there are early indications that vaccines are protecting the most vulnerable age groups.
Mr Drakeford said: “As you can see in the red line, cases amongst people aged 60 and over are either static or rising very marginally.
“The rise in cases amongst people under 25 is accelerating much faster.
“And that tells us that here in Wales, some of the same patterns that we have seen elsewhere in the United Kingdom and which we saw in Wales, during the first two waves is emerging once again,
“The gap between the age groups in numerical terms looks like this, for people under 25 the rate is around 67 cases per 100,000, and just 9 cases for people aged over 60.
“What this may be telling us, and I must say it is suggestive, it’s what may be showing, rather than being sure about it, is that we’re seeing the positive impact of the vaccination program in slowing down the spread of the virus across the age ranges.
“That’s because more than nine out of 10 people aged over 65, with healthcare staff and people living in older people’s care homes in Wales, all of those people have already had two doses of the vaccine.
“More than 85% of people between the ages of 55 and 64 have been double vaccinated.
“And there is that positive research and evidence emerging that despite the speed at which the Delta variant spreading, vaccination is helping to prevent serious illnesses.
“That is why of course we are working so hard to focus our vaccination program on getting as many people as possible to have two doses of the vaccine.”
However the first minister noted that there has been a drop in health boards across Wales in the number of people aged 30-39 coming forward for vaccination in recent weeks.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board issued a fresh plea to those aged between 18-39 earlier this week after seeing a similar drop in numbers.
For the local health board to reach the 75% vaccine target for the two groups, it needs to target an additional 10,173 people aged 30-39 and 8,609 people aged 18-29 need to be vaccinated.
The first minister said: “Take up rates in Wales have been fantastic and overall people have been really enthusiastic about the vaccine,
“We’re seeing some small signs of hesitancy, lower numbers coming forward in people in the age 30-39.
“Health boards are working hard to make clinics and appointments as flexible as possible, as close to people’s homes and work as possible.
“It’s very important, I think, that employers give staff the time off, they need to go and be vaccinated when they are invited to be so.
“We also continue to work with particular communities and groups to maximise their protection, to make sure that nobody in Wales is left behind and that everybody in Wales is able to say yes to the vaccine.
“One dose we know is not enough to give you the protection which this vaccine can provide.
“We need everyone to complete the two dose course to make sure we all get the full protection the vaccine offer.
“So please keep on saying yes to vaccination and keep that appointment when it comes to you.”
You can view the full briefing from today on the below video:
Yn fyw nawr gyda’r Prif Weinidog Mark Drakeford | Live now with First Minister Mark Drakeford https://t.co/4tSCoYT0AH
— Welsh Government #KeepWalesSafe (@WelshGovernment) June 25, 2021
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