Statistics experts are now in agreement that the number of people catching the coronavirus in Britain is rising.
The Office for National Statistics today admitted that there is now evidence more and more people are catching the virus in England and Wales.
It now estimates that at least 3,200 people are getting infected each day, with almost 40,000 people carrying the disease at any given time. This is a surge of 1,000 per day from the 2,200 it predicted last week.
This is echoed by data from the Covid Symptom Tracker app, run by King’s College London scientists, which predicts there are 3,610 new cases each day across the whole UK.
The King’s team estimate that the reproduction rate of the virus – the R rate – is now above one in every nation of the UK, meaning the epidemic is growing.
Both sets of data back up concerns raised by a growing number of people testing positive for the virus each day.
NHS Test & Trace figures showed yesterday that the weekly total of positive tests was up by 43 per cent in a week as at September 2.
Officials have warned that cases are surging among people in their teens and 20s and this is driving infections up across the country. Social distancing rules are being tightened from Monday as ministers fear hospitalisations and deaths will rise next.
The ONS has been steadfast in recent weeks, with its statistics not showing any change in the infection rate of the virus.
But the optimistic run has broken today as the official statistics body admitted: ‘The most recent modelled estimate suggests the number of infections has increased in recent weeks.’
It put this down to an increase in the number of people between the ages of 17 and 34 testing positive, which reflects what official Government data has shown.
Meanwhile the King’s College app team found a similar increase in the likely number of cases being contracted each day. Their model showed cases have risen to 3,610 per day in the UK and 2,693 daily in England.
The chief of the programme, Professor Tim Spector, said: ‘This week has been the first time that we have seen the numbers start to climb backup to worrying levels.
‘As the Watch List shows many of the areas of concern are previously where levels were low such as Northern Ireland, and Scotland as well as those with previous high rates such as the North of England and some parts of Wales.
‘We need to be focusing on these areas by bringing in more local restrictions to help reduce the rate of new cases.
‘The more people that use our app the more precise and smaller the areas of concern will be. While fatigue has definitely set in, we cannot be complacent.
‘We need to work hard as a nation to get our R value back down to avoid another national lockdown.’