UK Covid infections have continued to climb over the festive season, breaking records on Wednesday 29 December with 183,037 cases – but infections could actually be even higher, according to the ZOE Covid Study.
The ZOE Covid Study has estimated that there were 194,451 daily cases of Covid in the UK on Tuesday December 28, working out to approximately one in 32 people.
This not-for-profit initiative was launched by the science company ZOE with analysis from King’s College London and has become a trusted resource throughout the pandemic, with more than four million people reporting to the app every day.
It is supported through a government grant, endorsed by NHS Wales and NHS Scotland and runs the world’s largest Covid study.
So why are these numbers different?
ZOE data is based on PCR and LFT test data submitted via the app.
The Government’s Office of National Statistics also releases estimates for the number of daily new cases, along with the lab confirmed number of cases.
These three estimates can often be different.
The ZOE data is able to record more positive cases and is able to look at data from all over the UK – while the ONS is restricted to England.
But ZOE data does not represent the entire country, as not every Briton is on the app. It also cannot account for asymptomatic cases, and it has a four day lag between infection and result.
Lab confirmed cases are just a fraction of the entire number of infections as many Covid cases are not recorded, although it is the most immediate form of data. It can be affected by test availability and testing pattern.
The ONS randomly invites between 8,000 and 9,000 households in England to participate in its testing programme and uses this to create an estimate for daily cases. This means it cannot always see hotspots. Its data is also not updated daily and it only accounts for private households.
Will Covid cases continue to rise?
Dr Claire Smith from the ZOE Covid Study said: “The number of daily new symptomatic COVID cases are more than double what they were this time last year and we are just a day or two away from hitting over 200,000.
“However, the exponential growth in cases appears to have stopped, and the rise is more steady.
“Hospitalisation rates are thankfully much lower than this time last year, but they are still high, especially in London.
“The ZOE data is showing that cases are still on the rise in 55-75 year olds so unfortunately it’s likely that this will translate into more hospital admissions in the New Year.
“It’s good news to see that fewer people are newly sick than a few weeks ago. However, the fact that 75% of new cold-like symptoms are COVID, and the classic symptoms are much less common, means the Government advice needs to be urgently updated.
“We want to see symptoms like sore throat, headache, and runny nose added to the list as soon as possible.”
She also encouraged vaccine equity and increasing global immunity, as well as increasing immunity across the generations.
Source: Huff Post