Nearly as many people in England have Covid-19 now as during second wave peak, figures reveal


round one in 60 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to October 9, up from one in 70 the previous week, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

One in 60 is the equivalent of about 890,000 people.

At the peak of the second wave in early January, around one in 50 were estimated to have coronavirus. The latest figures confirm the increasing prevalence of coronavirus across England. In the week to September 25, the figure was one in 85.

In Wales, around one in 45 people is estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to October 9, up from one in 55 the previous week and the highest since estimates began in July 2020.

In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is one in 120, up from 130 the previous week, but below the recent peak of one in 40 for the week to August 20.

For Scotland, the ONS estimates around one in 80 people had Covid-19 in the week to October 9, down from one in 60 the previous week.

All figures are for people in private households.

The percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in all regions of England except London, East Midlands and the North East, the ONS said on Friday.

In three regions – the North West, the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber – around one in 50 people was likely to test positive in the week to October 9.

This was the highest proportion in England.

London had the lowest proportion at around one in 100.

The prevalence of coronavirus in England is approaching the second wave peak in January

/ Press Association Images

When modelling the level of Covid-19 infections among different age ranges in England, the ONS said rates have increased for those in school years 7 to 11, people aged 50 to 69, and those aged 70 and over.

There were also early signs of a possible increase for people from school Year 12 to age 24.

The trend was uncertain for other age groups.

Around one in 10 children in school years 7 to 11 are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to October 9 – the highest rate for any age group.

NHS Test and Trace suspended testing operations provided by Immensa Health Clinic Ltd at its laboratory in Wolverhampton, following an investigation into reports of people receiving negative PCR test results after they have previously tested positive on a lateral flow.

The errors relate to test results given to people between September 8 and October 12, mainly in the South West of England, but with some cases in the South East and Wales.

England’s chief medical officer also warned this winter is going to be “exceptionally difficult” for the NHS.

Professor Chris Whitty told delegates at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs in Liverpool that the NHS faces tough months ahead as it battles Covid, flu, other viruses and the usual winter problems such as trips and falls.


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