AROUND one in 30 school-aged kids are currently infected with Covid-19 as infections reach their highest rates since January, data has revealed.
One expert has warned that allowing the bug to 'run rampant' in children is a 'real gamble' and that we need to be less complacent as we move into winter.
Professor Tim Spector, of King's College London and lead scientist on the ZOE Covid Study app, said that while cases in the young are rising, hospitalisations have remained low.
One in 80 people in the UK are now thought to have Covid-19, the latest app data has revealed.
The number of daily cases is still rising in the under 19s and cases are now also rising in the 30-49 age group.
In his most recent YouTube video, Prof Spector said that the rise in the older age group could be the parents of the school age children who are catching Covid and bringing it home.
Data shows that cases remain low and stable in those over the age of 50, but revealed that one in 30 kids aged 10-19 are currently infected.
Prof Spector said: "While Covid may be less severe in children, allowing Covid to run rampant among them is a real gamble.
"With more than 1 in 30 older school-children now infected and as we predicted numbers rising, many will not escape long-term symptoms. These are the highest rates since January 2021.
"Without vaccination or restrictions in this group, we can only hope that some kind of herd immunity will kick in and cases will drop."
Last week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said prevalence in school aged kids could be even higher than estimates from the ZOE app.
Data up to September 25 found that one in 20 young people at secondary schools across England were infected with the bug.
Prof Spector added: "Kids are going to school without getting a test at home, they are going with these respiratory symptoms and infecting people before they later test and then get sent home.
“Because most of the cases in the young, that’s probably why hospitalisations are still down at the moment and haven’t yet broken through into those older age groups which I think is good news.”
The ONS data revealed data estimated 6.2 per cent of those in Year 7 to Year 11 would have tested positive for Covid .
The ONS said secondary school pupils had the highest number of cases of any age group, just weeks after kids went back to school.
Prof Kevin McConway, an emeritus professor of applied statistics, The Open University, said it was “an extraordinarily high rate”.
Kids can now get their Covid vaccine and Prof Spector said that more evidence is now pointing to the importance of vaccines.
He added: "Latest research shows having a natural Covid-19 infection before double vaccination means greater protection.
"This is really positive news for overall immunity levels in the UK and means that large numbers of people will have effective and long lasting protection from Covid-19.
"The evidence supports the need for vaccination, even for those who have already had Covid-19.
"We need to be less complacent and without restrictions much more focus needs to be put on getting everyone vaccinated before winter to keep up with other countries' efforts.”
In primary school children and younger (two years old), 2.5 per cent were estimated to have had Covid on September 25 – one in 40.
Parents were also previously warned to not allow their kids to mix with grandparents in order to protect them from the virus.
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