Just 2,341 Britons are being struck down with the coronavirus every day, according to scientists behind an app that monitors people’s symptoms.
King’s College London‘s COVID Symptom Tracker app estimates that cases in the UK are shrinking by a third a week.
The researchers, working with health tech company ZOE, have been collecting reports of symptoms and test results from a million UK citizens.
Last week they used this data to estimate that there were 3,612 people catching the virus every day in Britain, 35 per cent more than today’s figure.
And the scientists predicted that roughly 4,942 people were being infected in the first week of June, 26.9 per cent higher than last week. Daily infections were above 11,000 a month ago.
Most new cases – 1,978 – are appearing in England, the team said, along with 241 per day in Wales and 122 in Scotland.
Their data suggests the virus is spreading most widely in the Midlands, which is experiencing 716 daily cases, above the 330 in the North East and Yorkshire and 319 in the East of England.
The scientist running the project said the steady decline showed the crisis was ‘tailing off’, but warned people need to be ‘cautious when heading back to normal life’.
King’s College London ‘s COVID Symptom Tracker app estimates that just 2,341 Britons are being struck down with the coronavirus every day. Last week they used this data to estimate that there were 3,612 people catching the virus every day in Britain and roughly 4,942 people the week before that. The figure was higher than 11,000 per day a month ago
Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s who set up the the COVID Symptom Tracker in March, said: ‘With lockdown being eased over the last few weeks and more changes soon to come it’s interesting to see that we are now seeing a tail off in the decline.
‘With COVID very much still in the population it’s really important that the UK continues to be cautious when it comes heading back to normal life.
‘If we want to make this lifting of lockdown a success everyone needs to educate themselves on COVID such as knowing all 19 symptoms that are associated with COVID.
WHICH REGIONS ARE SEEING THE MOST DAILY COVID-19 CASES?
The COVID Symptom Tracker app data has estimated the total number of new coronavirus cases each day in Britain to be 2,341, as on June 20.
This is how the daily cases break down in its estimate:
- England: 1,978 new cases per day
- Wales: 241
- Scotland: 122
- Midlands: 716 new cases per day
- North East and Yorkshire: 330
- East of England: 319
- North West: 290
- South East: 283
- London: 115
- South West: 54
‘Especially important is the first few days when cases are being missed when it is important to self isolate if unwell and getting tested rapidly.
‘Also using technology like our app will give us valuable data and help us build a clearer picture of how much COVID is in the population at any one given time, which will help us catch any potential second waves sooner rather than later.’
The team running the mobile app ‘COVID Symptom Tracker’ have been collecting data from people self-reporting symptoms and test results for months.
Data in this week’s update was taken from one million people’s self-reports on their own health, and the results of on 14,422 swab tests taken by app users.
People are asked to log on regularly to report whether they have any signs of illness or whether they feel healthy.
They are asked to get tested if they have symptoms that may be linked to Covid-19, and to report the results of the test.
Because of this, the app cannot reliably track the number of people who are catching the virus but not developing symptoms, which may be thousands more.
The Office for National Statistics, the governmental stats department, collects data differently and uses regular testing of a representative sample of the population.
ONS experts then estimate the levels of infection based on how the proportion of that group testing positive changes over time.
Last week the ONS suggested there were between 3,300 and 3,800 new infections per day in England per day – which was in line with the COVID Symptom Tracker’s estimates last week.
But the drawback of the ONS data is that it does not include people who are diagnosed in hospitals or care homes. The COVID Symptom Tracker does not rule them out.
Dr Paul Birrell a researcher at the University of Cambridge, who has been working with Public Health England on different predictions, said none of the estimates are perfect.
He explains: ‘The symptom tracker tracks only symptomatic infection. You would need to add the asymptomatic proportion onto this to get a number comparable with our estimate. Unfortunately, this proportion isn’t well known.
‘Analysis of data from the cruise ship outbreaks suggest this is about 50 per cent, whereas the ONS study says that as many as 70 per cent are asymptomatic.’