Britain records 33,470 new Covid-19 cases as infections jump 38.6% in a week – even though several different estimates say outbreak has slowed
Britain today announced another 33,470 positive coronavirus cases – 39 per cent more than last Thursday – despite indicators showing the outbreak is slowing down.
The case count is the highest since the Covid-19 outbreak began and comes a week after England’s second national lockdown started.
Unofficial statistics, however, suggest that the country’s outbreak had already started to slow down and shrink before the lockdown began on November 5, and it is expected to continue shrinking throughout November during the stringent rules.
Department of Health case counts do not pin to a particular day – the 33,000 infections announced today will have come from tests done on numerous days over the past week or more. It does not mean that many people tested positive today.
The testing system is also known to not pick up everyone infected with Covid-19 because many never get symptoms. This means the number of people testing positive can fluctuate without a fundamental change in the size of the outbreak.
Data from the Government-run REACT mass-testing study today said it had seen a ‘slowdown’ in the spread of the virus at the start of this month, while scientists behind the Covid Symptom Study estimate the R number to now be below one.
But experts agree that the number of people currently infected with the virus is very high – the best estimates put it higher than half a million – which was part of Boris Johnson’s rationale for imposing lockdown 2.0.
Office for National Statistics data last Friday suggested this might have been starting to level off before the lockdown began under the three-tier local rules.
Scientists on the Covid Symptom Study claimed today the R rate of the coronavirus across all of Britain is now 0.9 meaning the outbreak has started shrinking and the ‘end is in sight’ for the second wave
The Covid Symptom Study now suggests that some 35,963 people are catching symptomatic Covid-19 each day in Britain, down from 44,000 per day at the end of October. The graph shows how the total number of people with symptomatic Covid-19 each day has also started to drop
The REACT-1 project — which has been swabbing tens of thousands of people every week — found there had been a significant slowdown in infections heading into November following a wave of new cases in the two months prior
Imperial College London experts behind the research said the drop was observed ‘right across the country, both North and South, and was not being driven by any one region’ — suggesting the three-tiered system of curbs was just starting to take effect before ministers caved and hit the lockdown panic button
Professor Spector said new coronavirus infections are declining across England, and now sit – for the whole UK – at around 36,000 per day