UK cases hold steady

August 19, 2021

This article has not been updated recently

According to ZOE COVID Study incidence figures, there are currently 43,693 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 only a slight fall from 45,911 new cases from last week, this is the second week case data has remained stable (Graph 1). 

According to the latest government figures, 40,841,971 people in the UK have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, 77% of the population. It’s estimated there are currently 13,604 new daily symptomatic cases in fully vaccinated people in the UK, cases in this group are currently slightly increasing after a few weeks of decreases (Graph 2). 

Graph 3 plots the ZOE prevalence figures alongside confirmed cases. This also shows COVID prevalence in the UK has remained stable for the past few weeks. 

In terms of prevalence, on average 1 in 105 people in the UK currently have symptomatic COVID (Table 1). 

The UK R value is estimated to be 1.0 and regional R values are; England, 1.0, Wales, 1.0, Scotland, 1.1 (Table 1). New cases are lowest in Scotland and Wales. 

In order to compare the number of new cases, the number of hospitalisations and the number of COVID deaths from 2nd wave and 3rd wave, ZOE has created Graph 4, 5 and 6. The graphs show how the number of the hospitalisations and number of deaths in this 3rd wave (starting 1st May 2021) are much lower than they were in the 2nd wave. This is encouraging to see and suggests that the vaccine roll out is helping to keep hospitalisations and death low even when daily new case numbers are high.

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 25,326 recent swab tests done between 31st July and 14th August 2021. 

Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, comments on the latest data:
“Daily cases of COVID remain stubbornly high but it’s reassuring to see that unlike in previous waves, these rates aren’t yet translating into high numbers of hospitalisations and deaths. However, seeing what is happening with increasing deaths in Israel we need to be vigilant. Whilst vaccines have helped to reduce the severity of the disease, this stalling in cases suggests that we’re starting to see the protection provided by vaccines waning, meaning more fully vaccinated people could be infected in the future.
With children in Scotland heading back to the classrooms this week, and cases starting to rise again there, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the numbers. As in the past, steep rises in cases have been closely associated with the return to school. Now many more young people have been infected by COVID-19. We’re hoping this immunity will lead to a lower spike in cases following the summer holidays than in the past. If there is another big wave of infections, it will raise the hotly debated topic of whether we vaccinate more children to try and achieve herd immunity or re-vaccinate older adults whose immunity is waning.” 

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, and confirmed cases


Graph 4. New cases (incidence) data from 2nd wave compared to 3rd wave.

Graph 5. Hospitalisation data from 2nd wave compared to 3rd wave.

Graph 6. Number of COVID deaths from 2nd wave compared to 3rd wave.

Table 1. Incidence (daily new symptomatic cases)[*], R values and prevalence regional breakdown table 

Map of UK prevalence figures

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