An interactive map today revealed where the Indian Covid variant is spreading fastest after data showed it was dominant in more than 100 local authorities in England.
The mutant strain had overtaken the Kent variant in 102 out of 315 areas in the country (34 per cent) by May 22, the most recent date for which data is available.
MailOnline’s analysis shows it was also spotted in a total of 206 authorities (65 per cent) by that date and is likely to have spread even further in the past week.
UK Government scientists believe the Indian variant is at least 20 per cent more infectious than the Kent variant that sparked the devastating second wave, which itself was much more virulent than the original virus that emerged in China.
Just 29 local authorities were detecting cases of the mutant strain in the middle of April, the Sanger data shows. But over the following five weeks this spiralled seven-fold, as it advanced from strongholds in London and the North West into the South East, South West and parts of the Midlands.
The Indian strain – which was titled ‘Covid Delta’ by the World Health Organization today in an effort to remove geographical stigmas – is now behind at least three in five infections in Britain and now nationally makes up more cases than the Kent one.
Boris Johnson today faced mounting pressure over June 21 Freedom Day with some scientists warning he would have to ‘carry the can’ for a ‘bad decision’ — comparing the Indian variant to a ‘volcano’ that could engulf the country.
But other scientists say vaccines — which studies show protect against mutant strains — are providing strong protection to the most vulnerable. They added Covid is only a mild disease among young people, who are making up the bulk of new infections and are yet to be offered their first dose.
MailOnline analysis shows Covid hospital admissions are slowly creeping up across England but nearly half of all trusts are still completely empty despite fears about the Indian strain.