On Thursday, June 17, the British government's Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) reported 11,007 new COVID-19 cases and 19 deaths. At the same time last week, the country had 7,393 new COVID-19 cases and seven fatalities.
The new infections on Thursday represent the highest reported number of cases since Feb. 19, when 12,027 new COVID-19 cases were recorded.
Public Health England (PHE), an agency in the DHSC, reported that infections are increasing across all age groups but are most prevalent among people aged 20 to 29.
The government announced the 11,000 new cases at the same time it said that eight out of every 10 adults in the country have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. (Related: The MOST VACCINATED NATION in the world reintroduces restrictions as coronavirus cases surge.)
British epidemiologist and COVID-19 researcher Tim Spector believes the current surge will peak at around 15,000 new cases a day. This will occur by the last week of June or the first week of July.
After this, Spector believes the cases in the U.K. will start to fall. "By four weeks [after the surge] we are much below the level we are now, and at something much more manageable," he said.
"That's if all goes well," he added.
Chief Medical Officer for England Dr. Chris Whitty said the current surge in new COVID-19 cases will "definitely" lead to more hospital admissions and deaths in the coming days and weeks.
"The height of that surge is still uncertain and we'll have to see how this goes over the next several weeks," said Whitty. He added that the National Health Service, the U.K.'s publicly funded healthcare system, needs to prepare for another wave of new COVID-19 cases in the coming winter.
The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is blaming the rise of new COVID-19 cases on two factors: the delta variant of the coronavirus and unvaccinated individuals.
The emergence of the delta variant, first identified in India, has supposedly upended all of the government's plans concerning the pandemic.
Johnson was set to lift England's remaining pandemic restrictions this month, but ultimately decided against it. He instead extended lockdown for another four weeks. He wants to give adults in the country more time to get the second dose of the vaccine. Data supposedly shows that getting fully vaccinated significantly increases protection against the delta variant.
"It is important to take up the offer of the vaccine to protect yourself and others," claimed PHE Medical Director and Director of Health Protection Dr. Yvonne Doyle. "Case rates have increased across all age groups and regions around England, and we are seeing further increases in hospitalizations."
Government and public health officials have also blamed the rise of COVID-19 cases on vaccine hesitancy, particularly among the younger population.
Research from Imperial College London supposedly found that the increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in England is being driven by younger age groups who have so far refused to get vaccinated.
One report from the Office for National Statistics found that around 13 percent of British people aged between 16 and 29 are still hesitant about getting vaccinated.
Experts are blaming the vaccine hesitancy on public messaging during the height of the pandemic that emphasized the threat COVID-19 posed to older people. Others are blaming dependence on social media on the rise of vaccine skepticism.
Learn more about the coronavirus vaccines and the surge in cases in heavily vaccinated populations by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.