A report from the country’s largest study on Coronavirus rates of infection has been published, showing that cases are increasing steadily across the country.
It found prevalence of infection was the highest in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West, followed by the North East.
The study has tested more than 150,000 volunteers and examines levels of infection in the general population in England. The latest findings for the period 22 August and 7 September indicate cases were doubling every seven to eight days.
It is estimated 13 people per 10,000 were infected in England, compared to four people per 10,000 between 24 July and 11 August 2020, Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI findings show.
In Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West rates of infection were at 0.17%, or 17 people per 10,000, followed by an infection rate or 0.16%, or 16 people per 10,000 in the North East.
17 people per 10,000 estimated to have Covid-19 in the Yorkshire and the Humber
16 people per 10,000 estimated to have Covid-19 in the North East
The study also found Infections are increasing across all adult age groups below the age of 65 years and across all areas of the country, with higher rates seen in young people aged 18 to 24 years.
The data was published at the same time as the Government's weekly official R number, which in the UK was estimated to be as high as 1.2, which indicates infections are rising.
Professor Paul Elliott, Director of the programme at Imperial from the School of Public Health, said:
Our large and robust dataset clearly shows a concerning trend in coronavirus infections, where cases are growing quickly across England and are no longer concentrated in key workers. What we are seeing is evidence of an epidemic in the community and not a result of increased testing capacity.
He added: "This is a critical time and it’s vital that the public, our health system and policy-makers are aware of the situation as we cannot afford complacency."
The study has been carried out by scientists, clinicians and researchers at Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Ipsos MORI.
Kelly Beaver, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos MORI said:
Each and every participant in our study has contributed immensely to the national effort in tracking COVID-19 across England. I would like to thank all those who have taken part for their invaluable contribution. By participating in the study they have helped to provide timely data to Government on the rise in case numbers and allowed Ministers to adopt measures to combat that rise.
More than 300,000 volunteers in total were tested across England between July 24 and September 7 as part of the new report carried out by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI.