The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals and intensive care is increasing, especially in hotspot areas of the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the west Midlands, data by Public Health England shows.
Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty told the Downing Street press conference there was a "rapid" and "significant rise" in parts of England but said the figures remain "in a much lower level than at the beginning of April".
He said: "The NHS is absolutely open for business and it is absolutely there not just for emergencies but for cancer care and all kinds of care.
"We are just pointing out that the direction of travel for both hospitals and intensive care is going in the wrong direction, particularly in these areas that have seen rapid increases in cases."
'Rates remain flat' for school age children
Professor Whitty said that infection rates for infants and school age children remain flat throughout the country.
However, infection rates for young adults aged between 17 and 21 were rising rapidly.
He said: "This is important to remember, when people worry about schooling , schools areone of the areas where the rates are not going up."
Using data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), Professor Whitty revealed that there was a spike in both Covid-related deaths and all-cause deaths (deaths not linked to Covid) between March and July in all areas of England during the first wave of the virus.
Professor Whitty said that all-cause deaths also rose due to factors associated with the pandemic.
He said: "As we know, you can have people who die because the health service is overwhelmed or because the health service is less able to operate effectively or in the long run because of the economic impacts of the interventions we have so all-cause mortality is critical."
Geographical spread of Covid-19
Maps showing the total rate of infection and the change of rate of infection were also shared during the press conference.
It showed that while total rates of positive Covid-19 were particularly high in the North East and North West, the rate of infection was increasing quickly throughout England.
“There is a general increase in whole of England," said Professor Whitty. "And the same is true in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but there is a very rapid increase in particular areas of the North West, North East and areas of the Midlands.”
Rate of cases by age group
New cases per 100,000 population figures showed a spike in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber.
The age groups that showed the highest number of positive tests in those areas were between 20 to 39 with some areas including Yorkshire showing a high number of positive cases for young people aged 10 to 19.
Professor Whitty said: “You can see a significant rise particularly in younger people but increasingly also in people who are older and have a greater risk of having a bad outcome, remembering of course that you can also have a bad outcome in terms of prolonged symptoms."
Percentage of individuals testing positive by age group
In most areas of England, younger age groups and people in their 50s appeared to be the highest proportion of positive tests in weekly figures.
However, Professor Whitty said that the test positivity rates in hotspots may be variable across the country with some age group having less than 5% testing positive while others are at 15%.Hospitalisation is rising but mainly among those in the older age brackets with more people aged 74 and over being admitted into ICU.
Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: “It is very clear that rates are still going up.
“And, so, we don’t have this under control at the moment.
“And the increases that Chris (Whitty) has described in some areas are of concern, will lead to further problems.”