Coronavirus rates are around a third higher in men – likely to be related to the impact of Euro 2020, says Essex’s director of public health.

The average infection rate in Essex in men is 550 per 100,000 – compared to 420 per 100,000 in women.

The figures mirror a national picture where data suggests that the number of men aged in their 20s in England testing positive for Covid-19 increased during the football tournament.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) showed that 10,267 more young men than women caught the virus two weeks ago ahead of England’s finals clash with Italy.

A total of 55,679 men in the age category tested positive, compared to 45,412 women in the same group.

People aged between 20 to 29 are now leading Covid figures, as youngsters are among the last group to be vaccinated as the jabs extend to over-18s.

PHE figures for the week to July 11 showed that young men and women had been testing positive at roughly the same rates during the pandemic.

But the gap began widening in mid-June – when the Euros began – and scientists suggest that revelling in the streets, homes and pubs have contributed for a rise in the number of cases in recent weeks.

At a meeting of Essex County Council’s health board, director of public health Dr Mike Gogarty said: “Interestingly we are seeing a marked divergence in the rate between men and women – which is likely related to the impact from the Euro football tournament – with men having a rate of 550 against women who have rate of 420 in Essex.”

Dr Gogarty said that coronavirus rates in Essex are doubling every 10 days at the moment. The rate is 490 against a national average of 473, meaning that, for the first time since early spring, Essex has a rate above the national average.

Castle Point has the highest rate at 642.

“The rates in the over 60s – which is the age group I’m much more concerned ­— about are much lower,” added Dr Gogarty.

“They are at 90 which is a level of concern but is far less than in the younger groups. The 19 to 21 year-olds have a rate of 1,600 per 100,000.”