The younger generations are still driving COVID cases

October 23, 2020

According to the COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey figures, there are currently, 36,251 daily new symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 18 October (excluding care homes) [*]. This compares to 27,762 daily new symptomatic cases a week ago. This figure is based on the number of newly symptomatic app users per day, and the proportion of these who give positive swab tests. The latest survey figures were based on the data from 13,361 recent swab tests done between 4 October to 18 October. [

The app’s data continues to show a widening gap between the North (North of England Scotland) and South of England. This week the North West (7,831 new cases per day) remains the region with most cases, but the cases in the North East and Yorkshire have risen sharply (7,058). Cases in the South of England, remain low but are rising. The East of England now has the lowest level of daily new cases in the UK, followed by the South West (1,743) and the South East (1,988).

When it comes to the different age groups, the data shows that the number of new symptomatic cases in those aged under 60 has been increasing sharply since the start of the second wave. However, the data shows a different story in the over 60s, with new symptomatic cases having a slower linear increase since mid September. The increase in the over 60’s appears slightly faster in the North-West compared to other areas.

According to this week’s Tier Prediction Model, Hartlepool, Warrington and Nottingham are the next regions most likely to be plunged into the tighter restrictions of Tier 3. The next regions on the list are; Bassetlaw, Sunderland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Bradford, Gateshead and County Durham.

The new Tier Prediction model takes the Tier 2 regions as defined by the Government (100,000 cases per million), uses the average  predicted symptomatic estimated cases over the last seven days and ranks the regions in descending order. The area with the largest weekly average prevalence is ranked the highest. Using predicted symptomatic cases means that predictions can be made up to ten days before confirmed tested cases are made public. 

The COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey has been running since early May when the COVID Symptom Study commenced the daily swab testing programme provided by the Test and Trace. The CSS has so far recorded over a million swab results from app users. The COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey estimates the number of current COVID-19 positive cases in the community based on the information logged by users in the app and the results from the swab testing programme. It identifies differences in numbers within the regions throughout the UK, and tracks the change in estimated cases over time. It is the largest survey of its kind in the UK.

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London, comments: 
“As we progress through this second wave of COVID-19, we are still seeing cases across the UK rise with an R value of 1.2, and the gap between the Northern regions of the UK and the South growing. Our data clearly shows that the number of cases is still being driven by the younger generations, which should mean less pressure on NHS admissions compared to earlier in the year. However, this week we launched the findings of our long-COVID research, which found that everyone is susceptible to this debilitating condition so it’s incredibly important we get control of this second wave to prevent thousands more suffering for months on end.”


To read more about the COVID Symptom Study’s latest findings into Long-COVID research: https://covid.joinzoe.com/post/long-covid

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