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One in 7 now thought to have had Covid in England - with London most infected region

Issuing time:2021-02-06 15:44Source:BBC NEWSLink:https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/breaking-one-7-now-thought-23434000

More than 15% of people in England are thought to have had Covid - with London the most infected region.


Around one in seven people in private households in England are estimated to have had coronavirus by mid-January 2021, according to data on levels of Covid antibodies from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


This is up from an estimated one in nine people in December 2020 and one in 11 people in November.


The figures are the proportion of the population who are likely to have tested positive for antibodies to Covid-19, based on blood test results from a sample of people aged 16 and over.


London was estimated to have the highest level of antibody positivity by mid-January (21.0% of people in private households), followed by the West Midlands (18.8%) and Yorkshire & the Humber (18.7%), according to ONS figures.


South-west England was estimated to have the lowest level (8.3%), followed by south-east England (10.2%) and eastern England (10.8%).


Estimates for the other regions are north-west England 18.1%, north-east England 16.2% and the East Midlands 15.7%.


An estimated one in nine people in Wales had been infected by mid-January, up from one in 14 in December.


For Scotland, the estimate was one in 10, up from one in 13, and for Northern Ireland it was one in 11, up from one in 14.


The latest figures from a surge in cases following Christmas.


Last month it was revealed that on December 29 and 30 alone, 130,000 new cases were identified following the government's decision to allow Christmas bubbles in some parts of the country.


Dr Hopkins said the "maximum impact" of mixing over Christmas was seen on December 29 and 30 - with more than 70,000 cases reported on the 29th and 60,000 on the 30th in England alone.


Today's figures follow news that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine appears to cut transmission rates by two thirds.


This could lead to lockdown measures being lifted sooner than many dared to hope, according to Dr Gillies O'Bryan-Tear, former chair at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine.


It comes as preliminary results of a study by researchers at the University of Oxford found the efficacy from two standard doses of the vaccine administered three months apart is 82.4 per cent.


But it is the fact it also seems to dramatically cut transmission after just one dose that will mean lockdown measures can be lifted sooner, Dr O'Bryan-Tear said.


The scientist said the results, which have yet to be peer reviewed, were the first definitive estimate of the impact of vaccination on transmission rates.