Infections of the CCP virus were already dropping in the second week of lockdown in England, according to estimates from a weekly swab-sample survey published today.
The previous weekly figures suggested the infection rate had already levelled off.
Infections were still rising in the East Midlands and the North East, according to the survey data, which was published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The rate of infection was highest in Yorkshire and the Humber, where the number of virus cases have changed little for the last month.
The ONS notes that there are still differences in age.
"Increases in the positivity rate can only be seen in secondary school-age children and positivity rates have decreased in adults aged 35 years and over," said a statement. "It appears that rates among the youngest age group as well as those aged school year 12 to age 24 years and 25 to 34 years are levelling off."
Rates are highest among secondary school-age children and young adults.
The survey provides a slightly 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.
It is a separate measure from simply counting the number of positive tests carried nationwide under the Test and Trace service—which is impacted by levels of testing.
According to the statement, some of the regional trends are difficult to explain. For example, "London, which was badly hit in the first wave, has not increased dramatically as feared, apparently peaking at the third week of October and now levelling off," they note.
By contrast, cases in the Midlands have risen steadily since the beginning of October and continued during lockdown, despite many areas being under tight restrictions for months.