Original article from Kent Live
Kent's coronavirus infection rate has continued to rise across the county amidst a resurgence in the virus.
This comes amidst news that a sub-variant of the current main strain of the virus – known as the Delta variant – has emerged.
The 'Delta plus' variant isn't enough of a deviation from the Delta variant to be it's own variant of concern – though there has still been mounting concern over the continuing threat of new mutations adapting.
In the UK, the vast majority of infections are believed to be due to the Delta variant, potentially as many as 99 per cent, as the new strain eclipsed the 'Kent' Alpha variant that emerged in 2020.
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In Kent, coronavirus has picked up pace over the last few months – as steady relaxations to COVID countermeasures have seen people return to pubs, cinemas, shops and weddings – and where the national average once rested around 20 cases per 100,000 people in early spring, it is now well over 130.
Cases have reached as high as 203 over the past seven days in Maidstone, but Swale saw the fewest new cases, recording only 26.7 cases per 100,000 people.
However, infections are accelerating in Canterbury, Dover and Tonbridge and Malling, all of which saw cases double in the last seven days.
In contrast, Dartford and Sevenoaks remained relatively stable, hovering around 70 cases., working out to 63.9 and 61.3 cases per 100,000 people respectively.
In spite of sharp spikes in infection rates, concerns over the bigger picture have remained muted.
This is because initial fears that infection rates threatened to overwhelm hospitals have been mitigated by the vaccine, as the death and hospitalisation rates have remained relatively low – meaning a far larger spike would be needed to threaten to seriously overwhelm the NHS.
On May 1, there were 1,354 recorded cases in the UK, whilst 100 people were hospitalised, and 7 people died as a result of COVID-19.
On June 22, the most recent complete dataset, there were 16,964 recorded cases – more than 10 times as many – but just 227 hospitalisations and 27 deaths – an increase of just between twice and four times as many as were recorded on May 1.
By this, increasing rates of infection are no longer associated with as high fatality rates, making recent infection spikes less concerning – though any number of deaths is still a significant issue.
Kent's latest COVID infection rates.
Here is the Kent list in full.
From left to right, it reads: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to June 24; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to June 24; rate of new cases in the seven days to June 17; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to June 17.
Areas marked in bold have recorded an increase.
Maidstone, 118.1, (203), 58.8, (101)
Canterbury, 96.1, (159), 48.4, (80)
Tonbridge and Malling, 80.2, (106), 46.9, (62)
Gravesham, 79.5, (85), 55.2, (59)
Tunbridge Wells, 66.5, (79), 40.4, (48)
Dartford, 63.9, (72), 56.8, (64)
Sevenoaks, 61.3, (74), 52.2, (63)
Medway, 53.5, (149), 44.2, (123)
Ashford, 47.7, (62), 30.8, (40)
Dover, 41.5, (49), 16.9, (20)
Thanet, 37.3, (53), 19.7, (28)
Folkestone and Hythe, 29.2, (33), 19.5, (22)
Swale, 26.7, (40), 21.3, (32),