New COVID cases continue to drop across the UK, but extra vigilance is needed in London and the South East

June 18, 2020

This article has not been updated recently

While new daily COVID cases continue to fall across the UK, extra vigilance is needed in London and the South East where these figures have dropped the least.

Our latest incidence figures suggest that there are currently 3,612 daily new cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 13 June 2020 (excluding care homes). These incidence figures were based on 17,984 swab tests from 31 May to 13 June. This suggests that daily new infection rates across the UK have dropped by over a quarter (26%) from last week’s figure

This is good news, as it suggests a positive downward trend of new COVID cases in the UK. 

Professor Tim Spector shares an update

Has the rate of new daily COVID cases changed across the UK?

The number of daily new cases across continues to fall in all regions of the UK. After weeks being higher than the rest of the country, new cases in the North have now dropped below new cases in London. These figures have dropped the least in London and the South-East over the last two weeks. 

A full breakdown of daily new COVID cases in each region can be found here.

Estimating ‘R’

For the first time we have also included the latest R-value for the UK, which can be found on our data page along with a breakdown of R-values by region. The reproductive number (R) refers to the average number of secondary infections that result from one infected person. We need this value to stay below 1 for infection rates to continue to fall. Our data suggests that the R-value across all regions of the UK has remained stable.

We calculated these figures using approximately one million people in the community using the COVID Symptom Study app regularly combined with swab test results from around 18,000 of these individuals. This method of calculating R uses a wider community population and is more current than seen in models using deaths. We derive R by combining our incidence estimates with known values for the serial interval of the disease, which is the expected number of days between successive transmissions in a chain of infection.

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London, comments: 

“These latest figures are good news for the UK. We are seeing the R value holding stable below 1 and at the same time we are seeing the number of new cases continuing to fall across the UK. In most areas the rate of new population cases is less than 1 in a thousand.
With the changes in the regions, the gaps we were seeing just a few weeks ago are closing, particularly the North-South Divide. We still aren’t seeing the numbers coming down in the same way in London and the South East, where we need extra vigilance, especially with shoppers heading back to the high street and social interactions between wider family groups increasing.”

Additional notes

This analysis requires swab testing, which was kindly provided by the Department of Health and Social Care for England. As Scotland and Wales are not yet offering tests to app users, we provided indirect estimates using countrywide averages and wide confidence limits. Testing is happening in Northern Ireland, but the number of participants is too few to generate an accurate estimate. These figures also exclude care homes as there is not enough data from the app to estimate this population.

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