THE THIRD Covid wave may have already peaked, according to a leading scientist.
Professor Tim Spector said it “looks like new cases have peaked at around 33,000 per day”.
At the same time, the number of infections in unvaccinated people is falling while rising in vaccinated people.
The trend is reflective of the fact more people are getting jabbed.
Prof Spector leads the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app, which tracks the size of the outbreak and symptoms with the help of millions of Brits.
Its daily report on Sunday said around 33,152 people are catching the virus each day based on swab tests up to July 7.
The figure is down from the 33,721 reported on July 8, based on swab tests to July 4.
These case estimations are symptomatic only and do not include people who may get the virus but show no symptoms.
For weeks the majority of new infections recorded by ZOE were clearly in unvaccinated young people.
But after millions of those aged 18 and over came forward for their vaccines from June onwards, new trends have emerged.
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More cases are now among people either partially or fully vaccinated, making up around half of all new daily infections.
And there are fewer cases overall, likely as a result of jabs cutting transmission.
Although vaccines are highly effective, they are not 100 per cent and people jabbed will still get the virus and possibly die from it.
The vaccines were also made against the original strain from China and so are less effective against the Delta variant – now dominant in the UK.
One study by scientists at the Institut Pasteur in Paris found one dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca only gives 10 per cent protection against catching the bug, while Public Health England say it’s 33 per cent.
But vaccinated people who get the virus tend to have a milder course of disease, with different symptoms to the classic cough, fever and loss of smell or taste.
The five most common symptoms in people fully vaccinated are a headache, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and loss of smell, ZOE data shows.
Graphs of infection rates by region show that the number of active cases is levelling off in some parts of the UK.
These are the North West, Midlands and Scotland – where the prevalence of the virus appears to be coming down.
But with all remaining restrictions set to be lifted next Monday, scientists say it’s likely the situation will worsen.
More freedoms, such as going to a nightclub, no social distancing or legal face mask-wearing, will give the virus more ability to spread.
A study last week said that Covid infections – both symptomatic and silent – could hit 120,000-a-day by July 19.
The REACT study found that with daily cases at around 29,000 currently, if it takes just under a week to double we will see around 120,000 daily cases by the day restrictions are lifted.
Whitehall officials have been told to prepare for between one and two million coronavirus cases over the next few weeks, The Guardian reported.
And SAGE – the scientific panel that advises the Government – has previously modelled a peak around August time.
Sage has suggested that cases will “plateau and then fall” as a result of vaccines and natural immunity.
A series of papers presented to the Government on Friday said: “At some point in the future, the number of cases in England will plateau and then start to fall as a result of vaccination, natural immunity, seasonality, and behaviour change.
“It’s very difficult to determine in advance the precise date at which this will occur.
“It’s likely it will happen at different times in different parts of the country, depending on local levels of immunity and behaviours.”
More modelling from the group on what will happen from July 19 onwards is to be published today.
Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician from the University of Cambridge, said it is “absolutely inevitable” there will be a “big wave” of coronavirus cases as restrictions are lifted.
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He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “Frankly, you know, unless tomorrow an immediate lockdown is announced – which I think is pretty unlikely – there’s bound to be a big wave of cases coming up, absolutely inevitable.
“It was predictable right from the start of the road map announcement back in February.
“Of course it’s been made worse by the Delta variant. And I would guess that, you know, 100,000 a day is quite possible, and relaxing everything at once on July 19 will only make that more likely.”