How Covid is spreading as 1 in 50 people in England now have it

  • Video report by ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke

An estimated 1 in 50 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between December 27 and January 2, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This means more than 1,000,000 people in England are infected with coronavirus - which is equivalent to more than 2% of the population.

  • Covid cases have risen by 70% in the last two weeks of December, ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan explains

It represents a rise from 800,900 people, or one in 70, who were estimated to have Covid-19 in the period December 17 to 23.

The figures do not include people staying in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings.

The figures from the ONS came as the UK recorded 60,916 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases as of 9am on Tuesday – the highest daily total reported so far since the pandemic began.

The ratio of estimated number of people testing positive for Covid-19 for the rest of England, according to the ONS are:

  • North East - 1 in 55

  • North West - 1 in 40

  • Yorkshire & Humber - 1 in 55

  • East Midlands - 1 in 40

  • West Midlands -  1 in 65

  • East of England - 1 in 45

  • London - 1 in 30

  • South East - 1 in 45

  • South West - 1 in 125

In the weeks leading up to 30 December the UK coronavirus case rate increased by 70%.

The UK case-rate increased by 70 per cent in the two weeks to 30 December. Credit: UK government

The amount of people testing positive for Covid-19 in England continues to rise.

The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, has said the combination of winter and the new Covid-19 variant have led to a significant increase in infection rates.

The estimated number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in England. Credit: UK government

Prof Whitty said the new Covid-19 variant is now "taking off" in other areas outside London and the South East.

The percentage of people testing positive for the new variant compared to other variants of Covid. Credit: UK government

The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital is at the highest level it's ever been since the start of the pandemic.

England’s chief medical officer told the Downing Street press conference, citing ONS estimates, said that the second lockdown brought down rates.

Prof Whitty said the "remarkable efforts" of the public led to the reduction in coronavirus patients during the summer, but warned the number is now growing "very rapidly".

"And we’re now into a situation where, across the country as a whole, roughly one in 50 people have got the virus," he continued.

Prof Whitty said Covid-19 hospitalisations across England are "rising very rapidly and, of course, we are still in the middle of winter".