Coronavirus cases have risen again in England, government statisticians admitted today, saying 4,200 people now contract a potentially fatal infection every day.
The National Statistics Office (ONS) estimate – based on swab tests carried out on thousands of people – is the highest in seven weeks and more than double the 1,700 recorded a fortnight ago.
One in 1,500 people currently have the coronavirus – 0.07% of the population. The figure does not include nursing homes and hospitals.
The government-run body said today there is now enough evidence to show a slight increase in cases, after weeks of warning there was not enough evidence to show that the infections were on the rise.
It comes amid growing fears of a second wave of Covid-19 in Britain, with Boris Johnson reportedly concerned about a spike in cases in Europe and the UK.
Matt Hancock last night introduced tough new lockdown restrictions on 4.5 million people in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire to control the spiral of cases, prohibiting them from mingling with any other household in inside.
Top scientists insist Britain must learn to live with the virus and control flare-ups through measures No 10 already has in its record. Businesses fear another blanket foreclosure – which the Prime Minister admitted he did not want to use – would cause even more catastrophic damage to an already crumbling economy.
ONS data is considered to be among the most accurate available. It estimates the number of people infected with the coronavirus in the community, not hospitals and nursing homes.
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE THE VIRUS IN EACH REGION?
The percentage of people in the population who have the coronavirus:
Yorkshire et Humber: 0,06%
East Midlands: 0.07%
West Midlands: 0.05%
East of England: 0.06%
The numbers are much higher than those reported by the Department of Health each day, as these data only report cases of Covid-19 confirmed by a lab reading test.
The ONS collects data from swab tests sent to people’s homes on a regular basis to check if they are infected with the virus at that time. People are chosen to be representative of the British population.
The organization tracks trends over a six week period. This week’s update was based on the results of 116,026 swab tests collected over six weeks. During those weeks, 59 people from 58 households tested positive.
Only a very small number of people test positive in any given time period, which creates a wide range of possible estimates from which the ONS can choose the number of people in the community infected with the virus.
In the most recent week (July 20-26), the ONS estimates that around 4,200 people were newly infected with Covid-19 per day. It could be as low as 2,200 or as high as 8,100 based on their calculations.
The possible range in this week’s estimate is between 23,700 and 53,200 – up from 18,500 to 39,900 reported last week and between 15,000 and 34,000 a fortnight ago. This does not include inpatients or residents of nursing homes, which cannot be tested at home.
“There is now evidence to suggest a slight increase in the number of people in England who have tested positive on a nasal and throat swab in recent weeks,” the report says today.
It follows a low point in cases in June, when 0.06% of the population became infected during the week ending June 18, a drastic drop from the 0.25% measured in mid-May. .
The statement came after several weeks of saying the evidence was not strong enough to confirm the outbreak was developing.
Fears that the coronavirus crisis has worsened for several days based on the results of the Covid-19 test, leaving ministers to admit they were concerned about a second wave.
Health chiefs reported yesterday that another 846 people across the UK had tested positive for the potentially fatal virus, which was up from 763 recorded on Wednesday.
The figures, which bring the total number of UK coronavirus cases by the government to 302,301, reveal that daily infections have increased 12% in one week, with the moving average hitting a four-week high.
The ONS reported today “that there is not enough evidence to say for sure whether the rates of COVID-19 infection differ from region to region in England, nor whether the rates infections have increased in different regions over the past six weeks ”.
He added that there was limited evidence that rates in London may have increased in recent weeks. But again, the team is not sure because the numbers are so small that the degree of uncertainty is high.
Around 0.13% of people in London are believed to be currently infected, up from 0.09% reported last week.
The government counts new cases daily. This only includes those confirmed by a lab test