According to estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the week of 30 October around one in 50 people in private households had the virus in England.
The ONS said, “In England, the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus has increased more slowly over a two-week period, but the trend was uncertain in the week ending 30 October 2021; we estimate that 1,103,300 people in England had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 1,042,700 to 1,163,400), equating to around 1 in 50 people.”
They ONS said that in Wales, the trend was uncertain for the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus for the same period, and estimate that around 1 in 40 people have the virus.
Speaking to the BBC Van Tam was asked how we can prevent another winter lockdown, he said, “I think the things that are really going to determine this are, first of all, human behaviours and caution over the winter months, but particularly in the next couple of months if you’re talking about Christmas, so it’s how cautious we are.”
The overall prevalence of covid was 1.72% across England, compared with 0.83% in September and the highest number of cases is 2.18% in the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber have the lowest.
This time last year scientists saw similar trends and cases started to soar once children started back at school after the half term.
Director of the React programme, Professor Paul Elliott, from Imperial College London said, “We do know that we saw a very, very similar pattern … at the same time last year, where over the half-term period the rates dropped and then actually they rebounded and went up again.
One viable hypothesis for the number of cases in the South West region could be down to mistakes at a private laboratory in Wolverhampton where thousands were wrongly told their test results were negative.
The Prime Minister said on Sunday that there is no evidence to suggest that England will see a Christmas lockdown this year, despite more than 1,000 cases per day are being recorded, which echoes what happened last year.