England’s Covid outbreak shrinks… AGAIN: 46,000 people had virus on any given day last week – HALF the rate at the start of April, as number of infected patients in NHS hospitals drop below 1,000 for the first time since September
- Office for National Statistics data suggested fewer than one in 1,180 people in England had Covid last week
- This was less than half the 112,600 cases predicted at the start of April, and 15 per cent down on previous data
- ONS figures are seen as the gold standard for monitoring the spread of the virus in the country
Just 46,000 people had coronavirus in England last week, official estimates suggested today, as the outbreak continues to shrink in the face of fewer restrictions.
Office for National Statistics figures indicated fewer than one in 1,180 people in England were infected in the week to May 2, based on random-swabbing of more than 100,000 Britons.
This was less than half the 112,600 people thought to have the virus in April, and a 15 per cent drop from the previous week.
Ministers watch the ONS study closely because its estimates also catch asymptomatic cases – which trigger no symptoms – and those in people who have the virus but don’t want to get tested for fear of having to self-isolate.
It comes as the number of Covid patients in England’s hospitals plunged below 1,000 for the first time since September, with 976 patients suffering from the virus on wards from May 6.
Separate estimates from the ZOE Symptom Study app predicted yesterday that fewer than 1,000 people were being infected every day, the first time their estimate has dropped this low since their study began a year ago.
And both Public Health England and NHS Test & Trace showed the number of cases being spotted is still falling.
Businesses and MPs have called for Boris Johnson to loosen lockdown rules sooner because the national shutdown and the mass Covid jabs roll-out have been a success, warning of another lost summer if there are further delays. But the Prime Minister is refusing to budge.
ONS figures showed Wales had the smallest Covid outbreak across the UK, with only 0.05 per cent of residents thought to have the virus, or one in 2,070. It was followed by England where 0.08 per cent were estimated to have the virus.
Scotland had the third-smallest outbreak at 0.13 per cent, or one in 760, and Northern Ireland had the largest at 0.13 per cent or one in 750.
Fewer Britons are getting ill with Covid every day than at any point since a symptom-tracking study began last year, with fewer than 1,000 cases now cropping up daily.
Published figures estimating 971 cases per day are now lower than in July and August last year when lockdown rules were almost completely lifted even though no-one was vaccinated.
Using reports from a million users of a mobile app, the study suggested the number of new cases per day had dropped another seven per cent in a week following a 10 per cent fall the week before. It adds to overwhelming evidence that coronavirus has all but disappeared in Britain.
‘Data continues to suggest Covid has stabilised at very low levels, similar to rates seen last summer,’ said Professor Tim Spector, the King’s College epidemiologist who runs the study.
In England the number of people developing symptoms each day remained the same as last week’s estimate at 756.
Department of Health figures today showed another 2,613 positive tests were recorded – a 7 per cent rise on last Thursday – along with 13 deaths, which were down 41 per cent on 22 last week. Another 404,226 people got their second vaccine doses yesterday, with another 139,097 being given the first jab. This means 16.3million people are now fully immunised and a further 34.9m half-protected.
And data from both Public Health England and NHS Test & Trace showed the number of cases being spotted is still falling.
PHE’s weekly surveillance report showed infection rates have dropped in every region except the North West, and in every age group except five to nine year olds. Outbreaks are still shrinking in three quarters of local authorities, data also showed.
And statistics from the official testing programme show cases fell by eight per cent in the most recent week, even though near-record numbers of tests are being carried out. Test and Trace spotted 15,593 positive results between April 22 and 28, down from 17,033 the week before.
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