UK cases stop rising
July 29, 2021
This article has not been updated recently
According to ZOE COVID Study incidence figures, it is estimated that among unvaccinated people in the UK there are currently 36,102 new daily symptomatic cases of COVID on average, based on PCR and LFT test data from up to five days ago [*]. Virtually no change from 36,250 last week.
Comparatively there are currently 10,268 new daily cases in partly vaccinated (1 dose) people and 14,110 new daily cases in fully vaccinated people (2 doses). The overall number of estimated daily new symptomatic cases is 60,480. This figure has remained stable over the past six days, suggesting that new cases of COVID have stopped rising in the UK (Graph 1).
Whilst the data indicates there are more cases in the fully vaccinated group, this is because there are now significantly more people in the population who are fully vaccinated compared to those who are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated. According to the latest government figures, 37,549,060 people in the UK have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The UK’s official confirmed incident cases currently show that cases are plummeting, however, as shown in Graph 3, ZOE’s estimates are not following the same trend and are instead holding stable.
Graph 4 plots the ZOE prevalence figures alongside the other COVID-19 surveillance studies, which all lag the incidence data, but all studies are yet to reflect the drop in cases.
In terms of prevalence, on average 1 in 82 people in the UK currently have symptomatic COVID (Table 1).
The UK R value is estimated to be between 1.0-1.1 and regional R values are; England, 1.1, Wales, 1.0, Scotland, 0.8 (Table 1). Cases continue to fall in Scotland and the North East, and the trends in all other regions are either stable or trending slightly down.
The ZOE COVID Study incidence figures (new symptomatic cases) are based on reports from around one million weekly contributors and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have received positive swab tests. The latest survey figures were based on data from 29,973 recent swab tests done between 10 July and 24 July 2021.
Tim Spector OBE, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, comments on the latest data:
“ZOE data shows new COVID cases have stopped rising for the last week and are holding steady around the 60,000 mark. This is in stark contrast to the rapid decline in cases recorded by the government’s official confirmed cases data. The drop is much faster than we’ve ever seen in previous waves, even after full national lockdowns, leaving the accuracy of the official tally in doubt.
The ZOE app figures are calculated using symptom data and logged test results, whereas confirmed cases rely solely on test data. All the COVID surveillance surveys are showing higher rates than the confirmed cases and all differ slightly in their methodologies, and at times like these, we should be looking across all the sources to try to understand what is happening. The UK is still testing more than virtually any other country, although numbers have recently dropped, so it could be that we are now testing the wrong people. There is still a very strict and limited symptom list in place, and we’ve been calling on the government for months to expand the list to include cold-like symptoms which are currently the most common symptoms we are seeing in confirmed COVID cases. If we got into line with other countries, we could pick up cases that are currently going undetected.”
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Professor Tim Spector talks about the latest data in more detail in his weekly YouTube video.
Graph 1. The ZOE COVID Study UK Infection Survey results over time
Graph 2. UK incidence figures by vaccination status
Graph 3. ZOE COVID Study incidence figures compared to official confirmed cases
Graph 4. A comparison of prevalence figures; ZOE COVID Study, ONS and REACT-1
Table 1. Incidence (daily new symptomatic cases)[*], R values and prevalence regional breakdown table
Map of UK prevalence figures