COVID rates are not surging

October 29, 2020

This article has not been updated recently

According to the ZOE COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey figures, the number of daily new COVID-19 cases in the UK are continuing to steadily increase and not surging as other sources have suggested this week.

Key findings from ZOE COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey this week: 

  • There are currently 43,569 daily new symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 25 October (excluding care homes) 
  • This compares to 36,251 daily new symptomatic cases a week ago
  • Rates in the North of England are still around four times higher than the South of England although the gap is narrowing
  • In Scotland cases are potentially levelling off
  • London rates continue to climb in a steady linear fashion (see full table of regional results below)
  • The doubling rate for cases is currently 28 days 
  • The UK R value is 1.1 
  • Regional R values are: England 1.1, Wales 1.2 and Scotland 1.1
  • Infections nationally have stopped increasing in children and are still rising fastest in 30-59 year olds with only gradual increases in the over 60s (see graph below)

According to this week’s Tier Prediction Model, Bradford, Leeds and Sunderland are the next regions most likely to be moved into the tighter restrictions of Tier 3.

The ZOE COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey figures are based on around a million weekly reporters and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have positive swab tests. The latest survey figures were based on the data from 12,390 recent swab tests done between 11 October to 25 October. 

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London, comments: 
“While cases are still rising across the UK, we want to reassure people that cases have not spiralled out of control, as has been recently reported from other surveys. We are still seeing a steady rise nationally, doubling every four weeks, with the possible exception of Scotland which may be showing signs of a slow down. With a million people reporting weekly, we have the largest national survey and our estimates are in line with the ONS survey. 
“Data on covid-19 can be confusing for the public and we can't rely simply on confirmed cases or daily deaths, without putting them into context. Hospital admissions are rising as expected, but deaths are still average for the season. As we become citizen scientists it’s important to look at multiple sources to get a broader view. Trends can be different at the local level and our app allows users to monitor this themselves.” 

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