Press release April 16th, 2020
London, UK - The number of cases of predicted symptomatic COVID has fallen from 2 million to 582,640 in just over two weeks (01 April to 15 April) according to the latest data from the new COVID Symptom Tracker app. In Wales the figures dropped by 70% from 98,025 cases to 29,157 cases. In Scotland it fell by 73% from 137,583 to 36,723 (01 April to 15 April). However, the figures suggest there are still a large number of infectious people in the UK, which should be considered carefully before lifting the lockdown in the coming weeks.
Developed by researchers at King’s College London and healthcare science company, ZOE, the COVID Symptom Tracker has also uncovered that there is now no clear difference between cities and the countryside when it comes to predicted COVID cases. London is no longer a key hotspot for predicted cases, and the latest hotspots are all spread out across the UK.
The two current hotspots or areas that have not reduced as fast, as of today, are Corby (England) with 3.2% of people with symptomatic COVID (estimated) and Boston (Lincolnshire) with 3.1% of people with symptomatic COVID (estimated). All the latest figures are on the interactive map.
The research team at King’s College London and ZOE are working around the clock to analyse the data to generate new insights about the disease and its progression. For example, they have discovered that loss of smell or taste is common and an even stronger predictor of being tested positive for COVID-19 than fever.
Lead researcher Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London, says,
“It’s very reassuring to see that the number of predicted symptomatic COVID cases is continuing to fall day on day across the UK, but with deaths still high, this is definitely not the time for complacency. We believe our population symptoms are changing around two weeks before most people are admitted to hospital. The data from the app is giving us insight into just how common the virus is and how differently it affects people. We are learning something new each day, all of which is being shared directly with the NHS and health planners.”
“With the Government today announcing that it is extending the lockdown by three weeks, we urge the UK government to make sure it is using all the information it has to hand to prevent avoidable errors when the lift down does happen. What the data tell us is that there is still a large number of infectious people in the UK with mild symptoms, so to quickly lift the lockdown would not be appropriate. We are working closely with NHS Wales and NHS Scotland to explore how the app can be used to speed up and guide the lockdown lift. It can work as an early alert, before hospital testing, flagging up any particular spikes in new symptom cases.”
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who is already participating, and would urge everyone else to download the app and check in every day, whether you are experiencing any symptoms or feeling fine. It takes us one minute a day for people to become part of the world’s largest stay at home science experiment and help the UK fight this virus.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
For more information about the app or to request an interview with Professor Spector, please contact Eleanor Griffiths: +44 (0)7950 335916 [email protected]
The app is available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play from the links at covid.joinzoe.com. Daily symptom maps and other content are available via https://covid.joinzoe.com/blog.
The app is supported by The Welsh Government, NHS Wales, The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland, all of which have been activity appealing to the public to download a new COVID Symptom Tracker app to help fight COVID-19.
Research methodology available here.
ZOE was founded by Professor Tim Spector and data science experts Jonathan Wolf and George Hadjigeorgiou as a spin-out from King’s College London. Based in Boston, US, and London, UK, ZOE is harnessing the power of data science and large-scale research studies to bring precision health and nutrition to everyone. joinZOE.com