Fewer than 900 people in England are now getting ill with Covid every day


Fewer than 900 people in England are now catching coronavirus every day, according to a symptom-tracking app, the lowest level ever and below estimates for August when there were next to no restrictions.

King’s College London scientists estimated only 870 people suffered a symptomatic infection with the virus every day last week, based on reports from more than a million Britons.

This was the lowest number since estimates began in June, and below the previous low point in mid-August before the burdensome ‘rule of six’ and a flurry of other restrictions came into force.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist who leads the app, said the dropping cases signalled troublesome variants had not gained a foothold, which was likely down to the successful vaccination programme – already jabbed three in five Britons – social distancing, and warmer weather allowing people to spend more time outdoors.

And in yet more promising statistics published today, Test and Trace found Covid cases fell by nine per cent in the seven days to April 14, in yet another sign England’s outbreak is still shrinking.   

Boris Johnson had promised to stick to ‘data, not dates’ when it comes to easing curbs but has so far refused to move quicker, despite vanishingly low Covid deaths and fewer than 2,000 virus patients being treated by the NHS.

The ZOE Covid Symptom study app estimated 870 people in England were suffering a symptomatic infection with the virus every day last week. This is down to the same levels as in August, before the burdensome rule of six came into force

The ZOE Covid Symptom study app estimated 870 people in England were suffering a symptomatic infection with the virus every day last week. This is down to the same levels as in August, before the burdensome rule of six came into force

Separate statistics from Test and Trace also showed England's Covid cases fell by 10 per cent in the week to April 14, after there were 18,050 people transferred to the system for contact tracing

Separate statistics from Test and Trace also showed England’s Covid cases fell by 10 per cent in the week to April 14, after there were 18,050 people transferred to the system for contact tracing

The drop in cases came despite an extra 600,000 swabs being carried out last week, in a further sign the outbreak is falling

The drop in cases came despite an extra 600,000 swabs being carried out last week, in a further sign the outbreak is falling

There are 192 daily coronavirus hospital admissions across the entire UK, according to the most recent figures, down from a peak of 4,500 in January

There are 192 daily coronavirus hospital admissions across the entire UK, according to the most recent figures, down from a peak of 4,500 in January

Professor Spector said he was ‘encouraged’ by the promising figures, which suggested the troublesome variants that could make vaccines less effective were yet to gain a foothold.

‘Rates are down 28 per cent again this week and hopefully we’ll drop below the milestone of 1,000 cases in the next few days towards our record low last year in August. The ONS survey is also now showing downward trends.

‘I am encouraged to see no impact from the South African variant in the areas of Southwark and Lambeth where some expected it to get out of control. 

‘This is likely due to the vaccination programme, the continuation of social distancing measures and the improving weather making it harder now for any new variant to take hold.’

The ZOE Covid Symptom study app relies on more than a million Britons reporting symptoms and whether they have tested positive for Covid to estimate the spread of the disease across the country.

But they miss asymptomatic cases – which trigger no tell-tale signs – that make up about a third of all infections according to official estimates. 

England’s Covid cases dropped 30 per cent last week, they said, down from 1,271 people who were catching the virus every day in the previous seven-day spell.

This was well below the darkest days of January, when they estimated around 50,000 people were being infected by the virus daily.

Across the UK, the ZOE app estimated there were 1,271 daily Covid infections last week, a dip of more than 30 per cent as the country’s outbreak continues to shrink.

Test and Trace data also suggested Covid cases were heading in the right direction, falling by almost a tenth in England compared to the previous week.

The Covid surveillance system said 18,050 people who had tested positive for the virus were transferred to them in the week ending April 14, down nine per cent on the 19,767 from the week before.

Tracers recorded a drop despite an extra 600,000 swabs being carried out in the latest week, showing infections were still falling despite a huge boost to testing.

The test positivity rate – one of the best measures of Covid’s spread – was around 0.41 per cent in the latest week, down from 0.52 per cent in the previous seven-day period. It stood at 15 per cent at the height of the second wave. 

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