Rates of new COVID cases are no longer declining in the UK according to new COVID Symptom Study data

According to the latest COVID Symptom Study data, rates of new COVID cases have stopped declining with over 23,000 suspected cases in the UK.

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According to the latest COVID Symptom Study data, rates of new COVID cases have stopped declining with over 23,000 suspected cases in the UK.

According to the latest COVID Symptom Study app figures, there are currently 1,472 daily new cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 04 July 2020 (excluding care homes) [*]. The data suggests no decline from last week (1,445 cases). The latest figures were based on the data from almost 3 million users, 11,639 swab tests done between 21 June to 04 July (a full regional breakdown can be found here).

The latest prevalence figures estimate that 23,459 people in the UK currently have symptomatic COVID and highlights a big regional difference across the UK. While nations like Northern Ireland have almost no active cases, the rates for other English regions, like the Midlands are showing high numbers. The Midlands has 6,556 predicted symptomatic COVID cases compared to 2,254 in the North West.

This estimate is in line with the most recent ONS Infection survey in which 25,000 people in England were estimated to be infected with COVID-19 during the two week period that goes from the 14th to the 27th of June. The latest prevalence map  also indicates that parts of Wales currently have high numbers of predicted symptomatic COVID. This new prevalence data based on large numbers allows the COVID Symptom Study to look at the country in a much more detailed way than other current data sources.

The data science team at ZOE and King’s College London have this week updated the way it calculates prevalence figures. Due to the increasing number of longer-term sufferers of COVID and the influx of new data from swab tests the model has been adjusted to remove the long term sufferers who will be studied separately. This means the new prevalence figures are easier to interpret and reflect the change.

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, comments: 

“It is disappointing to see that the number of daily new cases is no longer falling as they have been in previous weeks, this could be a temporary blip or due to the easing of lockdown and the amount of social contact slowly increasing. Importantly our updated analysis of the prevalence is still continuing to show that The Midlands and Wales are key areas in the country where the amount of COVID is remaining relatively high. It is important that we keep a close eye on these areas.

With the growing number of people suffering for extended periods of time, we are going to be focusing on these long term sufferers to help us research causes and potential treatments. But in order for this to be possible, we need all our users to continue to log in, if they have been ill and have got better.”

Additional notes

[*] This analysis requires swab testing, which was kindly provided by the Department of Health and Social Care for England. As Scotland and Wales are not yet offering tests to app users, we provided indirect estimates using countrywide averages and wide confidence limits.  Testing is happening in Northern Ireland, but the number of participants is too few to generate an accurate estimate. These figures exclude care homes as there is not enough data from the app to estimate this population.