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Some 7,822 patients in England had the virus up to yesterday, up 37 percent on seven days previously, NHS figures show. It is the highest total for nearly two months but is some way below the peak of 16,600 patients during the Omicron BA.2 wave earlier this year.
The latest outburst is driven by newer variants BA.4 and BA.5, which now make up more than half of all new cases of the virus in England.
Research by the UK Health Security Agency suggests BA.5 is growing approximately 35 percent faster than BA.2 and will soon become the dominant variant.
But there is “no evidence” new variants cause more serious illness than previous ones. UKHSA’s Professor Susan Hopkins said: “Vaccinations continue to keep ICU admissions and deaths at low levels.”
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