England's coronavirus outbreak IS shrinking, official data shows

England’s coronavirus outbreak IS shrinking as official data shows new cases have HALVED with just 1,700 people getting infected each day – but separate figures suggest the curve is flat

  • Office for National Statistics has published its lowest estimates so far
  • Infection rate of 0.03% suggests just one in every 3,900 people has coronavirus
  • King’s College data claims outbreak is not shrinking but has lower estimates 

England’s coronavirus outbreak is shrinking but only slowly, according to official statistics published today.

Data from the Office for National Statistics has published its lowest estimates yet of the number of Covid-19 cases spreading in the general population.

It said around 1,700 people are catching the virus each day – not including patients in hospitals or care homes – and there are a total of just 14,000 currently sick with it.

This is just 0.03 per cent of the population of the whole country, or one in every 3,900 people – down from 0.04 per cent last week and 0.09 per cent a week before.

However, the estimates are based on a tiny sample of just eight people testing positive in the ONS’s group of 25,662 who get swabbed regularly.

Separate data, from King’s College London, suggests the outbreak in England has stopped shrinking – but its estimate is lower than the ONS’s at around 1,200 per day.

The Department of Health has announced an average of just 546 new positive test results per day for the past week, with 630 confirmed yesterday. 

Although the ONS’s data shows a downward trend, the organisation says the decline in cases of coronavirus – which was noticeable in May and June – has levelled off.

Today’s report said: ‘When analysing data for the most recent non-overlapping 14-day periods, these estimates suggest the percentage testing positive has decreased over time since April 27, and this downward trend appears to have now levelled off.

‘Over the last three 14-day periods, the variation in the percentage testing positive is consistent with random variation based on sampling.’

The ONS’s data appears close to hitting the bottom of the range where it can accurately predict the prevalence of Covid-19 in England without doing more tests.

It tested almost 26,000 people for this week’s data but only eight of them tested positive. As the numbers stay smaller the margins of error grow larger.

Separate data, collected by the COVID Symptom tracker app, run by King’s College London and the healthcare tech company ZOE, which suggests the curve of England’s outbreak is flat.

The app, which uses data from people self-reporting their symptoms and test results, predicts that 1,228 people per day are catching Covid-19 in England.

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