Omicron falling fast, but new uptick detected in children

January 20, 2022

This article has not been updated recently

According to ZOE COVID Study incidence figures, in total there are currently 144,527 new daily symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average, based on PCR and LF test data from up to three days ago [*]. A clear decrease of 21% from 183,364 reported last week (Graph 1). 

In the vaccinated population (at least two doses), there are currently 53,703 new daily symptomatic cases in the UK. An decrease of 36% from 83,699 new daily cases reported last week (Graph 2).

The UK R value is estimated to be around 0.9 and regional R values are; England, 0.9, Wales, 0.8, Scotland, 0.9. (Table 1). 

In terms of prevalence, on average 1 in 27 people in the UK currently have symptomatic COVID. In the regions, England, 1 in 26. Wales, 1 in 30. Scotland, 1 in 35. (Table 1).

New daily symptomatic cases are now dropping in all regions (Graph 3).

New daily symptomatic cases have seen a recent uptick in the age group 0-18. Cases in the over 75’s have fallen back to very low levels (Graph 4).

According to the data, ZOE estimates that 46% of people experiencing new “cold-like“ symptoms are likely to have symptomatic COVID-19, meaning any new ‘cold-like’ symptoms are now again more likely to be a cold than COVID. (Graph 5).

The ZOE COVID Study incidence figures (new symptomatic cases) are based on reports from around 840,000 weekly contributors and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have received positive swab tests. The latest survey figures were based on data from 46,284 recent swab tests done on symptomatic cases in the two weeks up to 17 January 2022. 

Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, comments on the latest data:
“It’s great to see cases falling rapidly. In just two weeks, the number of new cases per day has fallen around 31% from its peak of over 211,000 to under 145,000 and new cold-like symptoms are now again slightly more likely to just be a cold and not COVID. While it is easy to think the worst is over, our health service is still not functioning properly, and complacency will inevitably lead to trouble. The ZOE data is already showing an uptick in symptomatic cases in children due to the back to school effect. With cases still high and restrictions being lifted, we’ll just have to hope that people remain sensible, their households are triple vaccinated, and regardless of official advice, that everyone knows to isolate and self test when experiencing cold-like symptoms.” 

Graph 1. The ZOE COVID Study UK incidence figures total number of daily new cases over time.

Graph 2. The ZOE COVID Study UK incidence figures results over time; total number of new cases and new cases in fully vaccinated

Graph 3. Incidence rate by region

Graph 4. Incidence by age group 

Graph 5. Comparison of new onset of cold-like illness and new onset of COVID with respiratory symptoms

Table 1. Incidence (daily new symptomatic cases)[*], R values and prevalence regional breakdown table 

Map of UK prevalence figures

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