Getting ahead of the curve: see COVID-19 rates in your area

October 27, 2020

Cases of COVID-19 are rising rapidly across many parts of the UK, but there are big regional variations.

We want to help you understand what’s going on in your local area so you can make the right decisions for your health and the people you care about.

To do this, we’re rolling out a new interactive trend lines feature to users of the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app, allowing you to see how COVID-19 rates in your area are changing over time.

Our trend lines analysis provides insights into how the pandemic is changing up to five days faster than the official government figures, allowing you to get ahead of the curve and help your family and friends do the same by sharing this important information with them. 

How we calculate local COVID-19 trends

Our local COVID-19 trends are estimates based on predicted cases of COVID-19 derived from symptom data provided by over a million weekly users of the COVID Symptom Study app across the UK, combined with the number of local confirmed cases according to positive COVID-19 PCR swab tests. 

Although our numbers broadly track with official government COVID-19 figures, we calculate these rates using predictions based on reported symptoms rather than testing alone. This means that we are including people who are highly likely to have COVID-19 but haven’t been tested or are waiting for results. 

As a result, our trends are ahead of the curve, providing an indication of where things are heading around four or five days sooner than the official figures. 

We’ve also introduced a new Tier Prediction Model, which is helping to reveal which regions in England are most likely to move into the next tier of restrictions in the near future.

We’ll be developing and improving the trend lines and adding further features over the coming months. If you have any ideas or suggestions for things you’d like to see or ways we can improve the app, please email us covid@joinzoe.com.

How can I see COVID-19 rates near me?

You can find information about how rates of COVID-19 are changing in your local area from the homescreen of the COVID Symptom Study app. And you can easily share your local COVID-19 trend information through social media, instant messaging, email and more by hitting the ‘Share your graph’ button.

Because it’s personalised to your location, the local trend lines feature is available for users who have provided their full postcode in their profile. 

Around one in 10 users haven’t entered their location data, so now is a great time to make sure that you’ve put your full postcode into the app by following these simple steps:

  • From the menu in the app (three lines at the top right of the homescreen), select ‘Edit profile’
  • Tap ‘Edit profile’ on the button for your profile
  • Select ‘Your location’ and enter your full permanent home postcode
  • You can also add a temporary location if you’re away from home 

Alternatively, just hit ‘Edit profile’ on your profile next time you’re logging your daily health report and update your location in the same way.

The COVID Symptom Study app cannot access your phone’s GPS or track your location, so please remember to add a temporary location if you’re away from home to make sure your data is as accurate and useful as possible. 

Just so you know, anonymised location data is used by researchers, the NHS and the government for mapping the spread of COVID-19 across the UK. You can find out more about how your data is used by taking a look at our FAQs and Privacy Policy.

Sharing is caring

The more people we have using the COVID Symptom app, the more accurate our data will be about how COVID-19 rates are changing across the UK. 

If you can’t see the trends for your area after adding your postcode, this means that there aren’t enough people in your area using the app to make our predictions statistically robust. If that’s the case, please encourage your family, friends and neighbours to download and use the app daily

Together we’ll get through this - thank you.

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