The 16 Covid variants spreading across England NOW as hospitalisations reach highest since FEBRUARY

ALMOST two months on from Freedom Day and coronavirus cases are once again on the up.

UK infections today grew by 37,622 as the number of patients admitted to hospital reached its highest level since February.

But while 1,063 Covid patients were admitted to hospital on Monday 6 September – the highest the figure has been since February 24 – hospitalisations are still far lower than when the virus peaked.

The UK has also dished out a stonking 48,370,340 first doses of the Covid vaccine, understood to protect against the bug's numerous variants.

Government data up to September 1 shows there are 16 different Covid variants spreading across England – with the majority of these in the rest of the UK too.

There is no evidence to suggest the Delta variant for example, the most common of the 16, makes vaccines less effective or causes more serious illness.

Here is the full list of variants being kept under a close watch and how many cases the UK has seen so far.

ALPHA

The Alpha variant was first detected in the UK and was first sequenced in the UK in September 2020.

So far, the UK has recorded 277,951 cases of the Alpha variant – 227,217 of which are in England.

Scotland has seen29,123 Alpha cases, while Wales and Northern Ireland have seen 12,466 and 9,145 respectively.

The variant has so far spread over 50 countries. The N501Y mutation, seen in the Alpha variant may help the virus spread more easily.

BETA

This variant was first detected in South Africa and was first sequenced in the UK in December 2020.

There have been only 1,110 cases of it confirmed in the UK so far.

Of these, 996 were found in England, 62 in Scotland, 43 in Wales and nine in Northern Ireland.

Beta also shares the N501Y mutation, like the Alpha variant, meaning the virus spreads more easily.

Beta also has a key mutation, called E484K that could help the virus sidestep some of the body's immune defences.

DELTA

A total of 669,401 Delta cases have been recorded in the UK so far.

These have been found in England (556,542), Scotland (58,022), Northern Ireland (33,552) and Wales (21,285).

Delta has undergone some changes to its spike protein, the part of the virus that attaches to human cells.

It means it could spread more easily, although there is no evidence to show it makes vaccines less effective or causes more serious illness.

Analysis by Public Health England found two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines was more than 90 per cent more effective against hospitalisations for Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant.

A single dose was less effective at preventing illness from Delta, compared to how well it worked against Alpha.

VOC-21FEB-02

Just 46 VOC-21FEB-02 have been recorded in the UK. 45 of these were in England and just one was in Northern Ireland.

No cases of the variant have been recorded in Wales or Scotland so far.

The variant was first detected in the UK in December 2020.

GAMMA

Gamma was first detected in Japan in travellers from Brazil in January 2021 and was first detected in the UK in February 2021.

A total of 178 cases have been confirmed of the variant in the UK. Of these, 253 were found in England, 23 in Scotland and two in Wales.

The Gamma variant also shares the mutation, N501Y which makes the virus better at infecting cells and spreading.

It also has the E484K mutation that could help the virus sidestep some of the body's immune defences.

KAPPA

This variant was first detected in India.

The UK has so far recorded 517 cases of the variant with 471 in England.

Scotland has had 27 cases, Wales 15 and Northern Ireland four.

VUI – 21APR-03

This variant was also first detected in India. It is responsible for 18 total cases in the UK, 15 of which were recorded in England and three in Wales.

Little is known about this rare variant.

VUI-21FEB-01

This variant was first detected in the UK in December 2020.

The UK has so far recorded 79 cases of it – all of which have been found in England.

ETA

The Eta variant was first deteced in the UK in December 2020.

It has been logged 512 times across the UK with 460 of those cases in England.

Scotland has logged 40 Eta cases, Wales 10 and Northern Ireland two.

It has been found in 23 countries overall.

VUI-21FEB-04

This variant was first detected in England, with 314 cases confirmed in the country so far.

Another 43 have been detected in Northern Ireland along with 11 in Scotland.

ZETA

This variant was first detected in Brazil and was first sequenced in the UK in November 2020.

60 Zeta cases have been detected in the UK, including 54 in England.

THETA

This variant was first detected in the Philippines.

There have been seven cases detected in England so far and three in Scotland.

VUI-21MAY-01

A total of 185 cases of this variant have been recorded in the UK so far.

All of these cases were in England apart from one found in Wales.

VUI-21MAY-02

This variant was first detected in Thailand (in travellers from Egypt).

158 cases of this variant have been detected in the UK.

Of these, 147 were in England, four in Scotland, four in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.

LAMBDA

This variant was first detected in Peru in August 2020.

Just nine cases of it have been found in the UK – with eight of those cases in England and one in Northern Ireland.

MU

There have been 53 MU cases found in the UK.

A total of 47 have been found in England, three in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.


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