An estimated 430,000 people in England were infected with COVID-19 during the course of last week according to the latest flagship survey for the government.
That’s one third up from the previous week’s figures. When compared with the last several weeks, however, it suggests that the recent surge in cases is losing momentum.
Between the first week and second week of October, estimated infections doubled. Over the following week, however, they increased by only two thirds, according to ONS data.
The official infection rate is also dropping, according to other figures released today.
“During the most recent week of the study, we estimate that 433,300 people in England had the coronavirus,” said the ONS statement on the latest figures, which cover the week ending Oct. 16. “This is based on statistical modelling of the trend in rates of positive nose and throat swab results.”
“There has been growth in COVID-19 infection rates in all age groups over the past two weeks including those aged over 70 years,” said ONS in a statement.
Rates are currently highest in older teenagers and young adults.
The areas with the highest infection rates are the North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, and the North East.
The data does not include people staying in hospitals, care homes, or other institutional settings.
These figures are based on scaling up from testing of a sample survey of the population.
Total positive COVID-19 cases picked up by Track and Trace was just over 101,000 in a week in the latest figures. That’s compared to the 336,000 estimated by the survey methodology for the same week.
Meanwhile, the government’s official scientific advisory body, SAGE, published their latest data showing that infections are still rising by between 3 and 6 percent a day.
The R number is currently estimated at 1.2–1.4, meaning that the virus is growing in the population, down from 1.3–1.6 in the last estimate.
Specifically, the R number refers to the average number of people infected by a carrier.
“An R number of 1 means that on average every person who is infected will infect 1 other person, meaning the total number of infections is stable,” according to the government website.
The latest figures come as the government comes under pressure over the Test and Trace system which is struggling to cope with higher demand pushed by rising cases.
Contact-tracing is reaching a lower percentage of people than at any point, according to the latest figures, and the turnaround times for tests have also reached record lows.
The prime minister yesterday said he shares “frustrations” over test and trace, but insisted that his centrepiece measure for tackling the CCP virus had made “colossal” achievements. He emphasized that the system would be more effective if people complied with requests to self-isolate.
He said that the UK has carried out 26 million tests in total—more than any other European nation—and was on track for a 500,000 per day capacity by the end of the month.