More than a dozen areas in south Essex are still recording more than 50 new Covid cases a week.

It comes as new data shows overall rates of Covid-19 in England are higher than they have ever been.

Researchers suggest the increase is being driven by infection in children aged five to 12, and those aged 13 to 17.

The prevalence observed among the younger age group was 5.85%, while in the older bracket it was 5.75%.

Across England it was 1.72%, compared with 0.83% in September 2021.

In January this year, after the Delta variant took hold, the prevalence was estimated to be 1.57%.

However, the study did not run in December last year when the peak of the second wave occurred.

In south Essex, Covid rates remain high, despite the region seeing a week-on-week drop in cases.

Here are all the areas still recording 50 or more cases a week, and their localised rates of infection per 100,000 people in brackets:

  • Blenheim Park – 77 cases (690)
  • Thundersley Glen – 70 cases (858)
  • Benfleet North – 67 cases (846)
  • Hockley and Hawkwell West – 67 cases (418)
  • St Lukes – 53 cases (471)
  • Rayleigh South East – 55 cases (678)
  • Rayleigh South West – 53 cases (596)
  • St Lukes – 53 cases (471)
  • Rochford Outer and Hawkwell West – 52 cases (624)
  • Prittlewell – 52 cases (484)
  • Wickford West – 50 cases (683)
  • Laindon East and Lee Chapel North – 50 cases (585)
  • Rayleigh North West – 50 cases (543)
  • Leigh – 50 cases (486)

The study which has shown Covid rates may be at their highest ever in England also also found there was a higher rate of the virus among those who had been in contact with a confirmed Covid case, those who lived in larger households, and those who live in households with one or more children.

While 12 to 15-year-olds in England are eligible for Covid-19 vaccines, data suggests the uptake has been slow.

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Prof Elliott said: “This does coincide with half-term. We do know that we saw a very, very similar pattern in round six at the same time last year, where over the half-term period the rates dropped.

“And then actually they rebounded and went up again. So I think watching what happens in the next week, 10 days, is going to be really critical.”