National COVID-19 figures remain low despite local outbreaks

August 21, 2020

This article has not been updated recently

According to the latest COVID Symptom Study app figures, there are currently 1,265 daily new cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 15 August 2020 (excluding care homes).

The numbers have fallen to the low levels that were reported back in early July, suggesting that the recent situation has improved but that there is a persistent level of COVID within the population that is hard to eradicate. 

The latest figures were based on the data from 8,798 swab tests done between 2nd August to 15th August (a full regional breakdown can be found here).

The latest prevalence figures estimate that 20,299 people currently have symptomatic COVID in the UK. The prevalence data again highlights that the amount of symptomatic COVID nationally has remained stable. This figure does not include long-term COVID sufferers. 

The COVID Symptom Study app’s prevalence estimate is lower, but still within the confidence bounds of the most recent and smaller ONS Infection survey last week with an estimated 28,300 people (95% credible interval: 19,000 to 40,700) in England during the one week period from the 3 to 9 August 2020. The reason that the COVID Symptom Study app estimate is consistently lower than the ONS is the data doesn't include asymptomatic cases.

COVID Symptom Study Watch List

The COVID Symptom Study app’s Watch List this week sees Blackpool, Halton and Manchester take the top three places with the rates roughly 10 times than the national average. To put these in context, these rates were 100 times higher in April and May so these figures aren't concerning at present. 

The aim of the COVID Symptom Study app Watch List is to highlight key areas of concern so that attention can be focused on those areas. When an area of concern is highlighted, increased testing should take place there to help confirm if the situation needs further action such as a localised lockdown. 

The full Watch List table follows below.

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

“The trends are flat which is reassuring despite the multiple small outbreaks we have been seeing across the UK in places like Manchester. Our survey data is consistent with the ONS household survey, which estimates slightly higher numbers due to the inclusion of asymptomatic cases. 
This week is the first report under our new funding from the Department of Health. The £2million grant will guarantee the continuation of the app over the winter period. The government has been using our daily reports since April and this is further confirmation of the enormous value of this work and the contribution from all the millions of app users.” 
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