One in 50 people in private households in England – more than 1.1 million – are estimated to have had the coronavirus in the week ending 2 January.
The Office for National Statistics figures were released on Tuesday, as the number of new cases of people in the UK testing positive for Covid-19 topped 60,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The latest ONS infection survey suggests 1,122,000 people in private households in England had the coronavirus between 27 December and 2 January. The total does not include people staying in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings.
The latest figure was up from an estimated 800,900 in the week ending 23 December – the previous period for which figures were collated – equivalent to 1 in 70 people.
The number of new coronavirus cases has hit a new high. There were 60,916 new infections recorded and 830 more deaths of people within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, up 3.6% and 103.9% respectively on the previous 24 hours. Until last week, the daily number of people testing positive for Covid had never passed 50,000.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, the medical director for Public Health England, said: “The rapid rise in cases is highly concerning and will sadly mean yet more pressure on our health services in the depths of winter.
“That is why if we can, we must stay at home, reduce contacts and do everything possible to break the spread of this virus.
“It is by no means easy, but now more than ever we must all do our part to protect the NHS and save lives.”
The daily deaths figure was the highest since New Year’s Eve, when 964 deaths were recorded, although the number is often higher on a Tuesday due to delays in reporting over the weekend.
Nevertheless, the latest weekly comparisons show the number of coronavirus deaths up 45.3%. There were also large weekly increases in the number of people testing positive – up 45.3% – and patients admitted to hospital – up 18.6%.
The figures show the total number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test now stands at 76,305. But separate statistics published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 92,000 deaths involving Covid.
The ONS infection survey estimates that one in 30 people in private households in London had Covid-19 in the week ending 2 January. The figure was one in 45 for south-east England, eastern England and north-west England. For the east Midlands it was one in 50, for north-east England one in six, and for the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber one in 65. The lowest incidence was in south-west England, where the estimate was one in 135.