Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, April 2: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

The number of US patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has fallen by more than 90%, bringing the total to the lowest its been since the beginning of the pandemic. Some hospitals across the country have reported going days without admitting a COVID-19 patient into their intensive care units.

A new study analyzing medical records of nearly 14 million US patients found that pregnant people vaccinated against COVID-19 are almost twice as likely to get the virus than vaccinated people who are not pregnant.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the US and the world. Click here to see the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

UK hits record COVID-19 levels; nearly 5 million infected

LONDON (AP) — The prevalence of COVID-19 in the UK has reached record levels, with about 1 in 13 people estimated to be infected with the virus in the past week, according to the latest figures from Britain’s official statistics agency.

Some 4.9 million people were estimated to have the coronavirus in the week ending March 26, up from 4.3 million recorded in the previous week, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. The latest surge is driven by the more transmissible omicron variant BA.2, which is the dominant variant across the UK

Hospitalizations and death rates are again rising, although the number of people dying with COVID-19 is still relatively low compared with earlier this year. Nevertheless, the latest estimates suggest that the steep climb in new infections since late February, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrapped all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England, has continued well into March.

The figures came on the same day the government ended free rapid COVID-19 tests for most people in England, under Johnson’s “living with COVID” plan. People who do not have health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus now need to pay for tests to find out if they are infected.

“The government’s ‘living with COVID’ strategy of removing any mitigations, isolation, free testing and a considerable slice of our surveillance amounts to nothing more than ignoring this virus going forwards,” said Stephen Griffin, associate professor at the University of Leeds’ medical school.

Read the full story here.

—SYLVIA HUI, The Associated Press

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