COVID cases are falling

August 5, 2021

This article has not been updated recently

According to ZOE COVID Study incidence figures, there are currently 46,905 new daily symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average, based on PCR and LFT test data from up to five days ago [*]. This is a fall from 60,271 new cases from last week, suggesting that we are now past the peak of the third wave (Graph 1). 

When divided by vaccination status it is estimated that among unvaccinated people in the UK there are currently 29,620 new daily symptomatic cases of COVID on average, this is a drop of 17% compared to last week (36,000). Comparatively there are currently 6,534 new daily symptomatic cases in partly vaccinated (1 dose) people and 10,751 new daily symptomatic cases in fully vaccinated people (2 doses) (Graph 2). 

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, 38,733,334  people in the UK have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Graph 3 plots the ZOE prevalence figures alongside the other COVID-19 surveillance studies, which all lag the incidence data. This shows COVID prevalence in the UK peaked around July 29th and has since been falling. 

In terms of prevalence, on average 1 in 87 people in the UK currently have symptomatic COVID (Table 1). 

The UK R value is estimated to be between 0.8-1.0 and regional R values are; England, 0.9, Wales, 1.0, Scotland, 0.8 (Table 1). Cases have begun to fall in almost all areas of the UK. 

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 25,511 recent swab tests done between 10 July and 24 July 2021. 

Dr Claire Steves, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app and Reader at King’s College London, comments on the latest data:
According to the latest ZOE incidence figures, the number of new daily cases in the UK has finally begun to fall, with a UK R value around 0.9. This is the good news the UK has been waiting for but, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves, this pandemic definitely isn’t over yet as cases remain very high. 
Take the example of Scotland, where cases have been falling for weeks. Scotland’s schools broke up for summer much earlier than in England and the holidays provide a much-needed break from the daily mixing of children and parents. This could suggest that vaccinating children over 12 years old this summer could help to prevent another wave and stop the spread of the virus in autumn. We’ll be keeping a close eye on what happens later this year when all schools go back again.” 

Graph 1. The ZOE COVID Study UK Infection Survey results over time 

Graph 2. UK incidence figures by vaccination status

Graph 3. 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

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