Infections Leveling Off as England Lockdown Started: Swab Survey

November 20, 2020 Updated: November 20, 2020

Infections of the CCP virus had all but leveled off in the first week of lockdown in England, according to estimates from a weekly swab-sample survey published today.

The results are consistent with other data that suggest the so-called second wave of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus was already fading before Nov. 5, when the lockdown was enforced.

According to the latest COVID-19 Infection Survey, 664,000 people in England had the CCP virus over the week ending Nov. 14—around 1 in 80 people. That figure is only a little higher than the 654,000 from the previous week.

The survey provides a delayed snapshot of the number of infections nationwide per week by using swab samples collected from a pool of volunteers to establish levels of infections from different regions—and then scales up with some modeling.

Epoch Times Photo
(ONS/Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey)

“The survey should give more reliable estimates of the number of infected people that can be obtained from Test and Trace data and the daily counts of new confirmed cases on the gov.uk dashboard,” said Dr. Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at The Open University. ” That’s because it tests a representative sample of the community population of England, and tests them only to estimate infection rates, not because they have symptoms and ask for a test, or work in certain jobs, or live in certain places.”

The survey also estimates new infections per day—calculated separately due to some people being tested more than once—at 38,900 new cases per day. Note that the figure is the average for that weekly period.

Epoch Times Photo
(ONS/Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey)

Recorded deaths from the CCP virus have continued to double roughly every fortnight, according to the latest weekly figures. That data, however, points to a week-long period two weeks ago. Death rates also lag behind infection rates by around two to three weeks.

Other data have suggested that daily infection rates have been falling, with the national R-rate dropping to 1 just as England headed into the second national lockdown. At the time, government scientists claimed the R-rate was higher.

The government’s official scientific advisors estimate the R-rate at 1–1.1 for this week.

There continues to be variation by regions.

Epoch Times Photo
(ONS/Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey)

“During the most recent week of the study (8 November to 14 November 2020), the highest rates continue to be seen in the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber where rates are similar,” said the ONS release.

“Positivity rates are continuing to rise in London, the East of England, and the South East. However, rates appear to be decreasing in the North West and the East Midlands.”

The survey chimes with the findings of the  COVID Symptom Study, which tracks the virus in real-time through modeling from people recording symptoms on a phone app.

It is the most up-to-the-minute method of tracking the spread of the CCP virus.

Principal investigator Tom Spector said on Friday that the survey predicts 34,000 new cases, with the infection rate, R, below the magic number one. “Falls in five areas,” he wrote on Twitter. “Rise in Midlands and East and London and South pretty flat over last week. Lockdown clearly not working in some areas and most drops occurred before lockdown—so regional view needed.”

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