The number of people with
Mass testing by the Office for National Statistics suggests 633,000 people – 1.16 per cent of the population, or one in every 85 people – is carrying the virus.
Estimated using tests done up until last Saturday, November 21, the number takes into account the effects of two weeks of
The last time the country’s outbreak shrank was at the end of summer, in the week that ended August 25, when the predicted number of infections fell from 28,200 to 27,100 – it has risen constantly since then during the second wave and is now 23 times higher than it was before schools and universities went back.
A lab error, however, means the ONS cannot estimate how many people are catching the virus each day.
The statisticians usually publish the number weekly and last Friday said there were 38,900 daily cases in the week to November 14. This had fallen by 10,000 a day from 47,700 a week earlier, and another decline was expected this week as the effects of the second lockdown filter through into statistics.
ONS data, considered to be the most accurate picture of England’s outbreak, were published a day early as the Department of Health prepares to announce which areas will face tough local lockdowns when the national rules are lifted next week.
The East Midlands, which includes Leicester, Derby, Peterborough and Nottingham, was the only part of England to see its outbreak grow in the most recent week. Infection rates fell in every other region.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will speak in the House of Commons this morning as the country holds its breath in hopes of extra freedom in the run-up to Christmas. Which areas will face which levels of social distancing rules from next Thursday will be confirmed within hours.