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One in FIVE people might have had coronavirus, modelling suggests – Daily Mail

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9127059/One-FIVE-people-coronavirus-modelling-suggests.html

One in five people in England may have already had Covid, according to modelling which estimates the true number of infections is five times higher than the official toll.

The Government’s Covid-19 dashboard says there has been 2.4million cases of the disease since the outbreak began to sweep the UK in January, or four per cent of the country’s population. And Public Health England estimates through its random blood testing that 6.9 per cent of the population has had the disease – around 3.8million people.

But figures produced by data analysis firm Edge Health suggest that the actual number of infections may be as high as 12.4million, the equivalent of 22 per cent of people. 

This could mean that Britain is closer to some degree of herd immunity than previously thought. Scientists believe that once a significant proportion of the population has been infected with Covid already, the virus won’t be able to spread as fast because most of them won’t get re-infected. But this isn’t expected to last forever. 

The model used to arrive at the figure compares Covid-19 deaths in each area of England against an estimated infection fatality rate (IFR) – the proportion of people who catch the virus who die – and the age breakdown of each borough.

Experts worked backwards from the death count for local areas around the country, calculating how many people must have had the virus to cause that many deaths using fatality rates of between 0.00045 and 13 per cent, depending on age.

It revealed that estimated cases are more than five times the official count in 77 places in England, just over half the 149 local authorities analysed.

In some parts of London and Essex — which were the initial hotspots in spring and are now struggling again with the highly infectious new strain — the true infection toll could be eight times higher than the official count, with up to one in two people estimated to have contracted the virus. 

In Manchester and Liverpool, which became the epicentres during autumn as the epidemic shifted north, the actual case number is thought to be six times higher than the Government’s count, with four in 10 having had Covid.  

George Batchelor, co-founder and director of Edge Health, said it was ‘incredible’ how out of whack the official testing regime was with the country’s epidemic, saying it was only painting ‘a fraction of the picture of total infections’.

It’s widely accepted that the actual number of Britons who’ve had the disease is far higher than the official toll because of asymptomatic cases and a lack of testing or people not coming forward for tests. This was particularly true at the start of the pandemic when Britain’s lacklustre testing scheme meant swabs were reserved for the sickest Covid patients in hospital. 

Scroll down to see the true number of infections in YOUR area 

The Government's Covid-19 dashboard says there has been 2.4million cases of the disease since the outbreak swept the UK in February, or four per cent of the country's population. But analysis by Edge Health suggests that the actual number of infections could be as high as 12.4million, the equivalent of 22 per cent of people

The Government's Covid-19 dashboard says there has been 2.4million cases of the disease since the outbreak swept the UK in February, or four per cent of the country's population. But analysis by Edge Health suggests that the actual number of infections could be as high as 12.4million, the equivalent of 22 per cent of people

The Government’s Covid-19 dashboard says there has been 2.4million cases of the disease since the outbreak swept the UK in February, or four per cent of the country’s population. But analysis by Edge Health suggests that the actual number of infections could be as high as 12.4million, the equivalent of 22 per cent of people

HOW DID THEY WORK OUT THE ‘TRUE’ INFECTION RATES? 

Edge Health calculated its estimates of the real number of people to have been infected with Covid-19 by looking at death numbers and the populations of local areas.

By counting the number of people who have died in a local authority, then comparing the age breakdown of its population with fatality rates for different age groups, the analysts estimated true case counts.

University of Cambridge and Public Health England researchers estimate death rates from coronavirus vary from 0.00045 per cent in under-fives to 13 per cent in over-75s.

To give a simple example, in a community made up entirely of over-75s, with a death rate of 13 per cent, if there were 130 Covid deaths, you would expect there to have been 1,000 cases of the virus, because 130 is 13 per cent of 1,000.

The true calculations are more complex because areas have a much broader mix of age groups, but would follow the same rules.

The team’s estimate took into account the lag it takes for patients to become seriously ill, with deaths occurring from cases that happened up to three weeks before. 

Edge’s data suggests the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham Newham and Redbridge, and Thurrock in Essex, have had the highest proportion of Covid cases of anywhere in England. 

The model found 54.2 per cent of the population had caught the virus since the pandemic began in Barking, 49 per cent in Newham, 45.4 per cent in Thurrock and 42.9 per cent in Redbridge.

The raw infection data highlights the disparity between the official tally by Public Health England — which is uploaded to the Department of Health dashboard every day — and the true number of cases.

In Barking, Edge Health estimates 115,460 people have previous had Covid, compared to just 14,665 confirmed PHE cases. 

There was a similar theme in Newham, where there were an estimated 173,058 infections to PHE’s 21,683. In Thurrock the figure was 79,223 versus 12,007 and in Redbridge it was 130,806 compared to 22,125. 

The model estimates 39 per cent of the populations in Liverpool and Manchester have had Covid at some point, with 193,428 and 213,389 infections, respectively. Those estimates are six times higher than the official tolls.

The four areas with the lowest infections are all in the South West — in Devon (5.9 per cent), Dorset (5.8 per cent), Cornwall (4.8 per cent) and Torbay (7.5 per cent). Because Covid relies on dense populations and lots of social interactions to spread, rural areas have been spared the worst of its effects.

Edge Health estimated the total cases by looking at the total number of Covid-19-attributed deaths, published by the Office for National Statistics, in each local authority area.

The team then worked backwards to estimate the number of cases that must have occurred in order to lead to the deaths. They did this using modelling which took into account the age demographic in each area.

Chris Whitty warns ‘next few weeks will be worst’ yet as ministers may ‘only allow people to leave home ONCE a week, ban chat in supermarkets and bring in curfews’ amid fears of 2,000 deaths a DAY 

Chris Whitty today warned the next few weeks are set to be the worst yet for the NHS as the government begs people not to ‘push the boundaries’ of the lockdown – and threatens to make it even tougher.

The chief medical officer took to the airwaves to highlight the scale of the threat, saying that there are 30,000 people in hospital compared to the peak of 18,000 in April.

Amid a crackdown on stopping to chat in the street and in shops, Prof Whitty urged people to remember that ‘every unnecessary contact’ was an opportunity for the virus to spread.

He insisted that although the the NHS was in the ‘most dangerous situation anyone can remember’ vaccines mean the UK can be back to normal in ‘months not years’ – but he cautioned that the situation is a long way from that currently.

The intervention came amid fears that the number of daily deaths is on track to rise to 2,000, with Boris Johnson looking at tightening the national lockdown rules even more dramatically if cases keep surging.

A Whitehall source told MailOnline ministers have discussed going as far as saying people can only leave the house once a week – although No10 today denied this was on the cards. Other ideas include compulsory mask-wearing outdoors and a ban on extended bubbles.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi this morning suggested that shops are in the firing line, stressing the need for everyone to wear masks and follow one-way systems in supermarkets. He appealed for people not to stop and chat to friends they bump into while outside their homes.

Limits on individuals from different households exercising together also look to be in the pipeline as the government scrambles for ways of lowering transmission.

Prof Whitty told BBC Breakfast: ‘We have a very significant problem. The next few weeks are going to be the worst weeks of this pandemic in terms of the numbers into the NHS.’

He added: ‘This is everybody’s problem.’

Prof Whitty said: ‘This is the most dangerous time we have really had in terms of numbers into the NHS at this particular time.’

The UK announced a further 573 coronavirus deaths yesterday in the highest Sunday rise since April, and the third-deadliest Sunday of the entire pandemic as it emerged as many as one in five of all people in England may have had coronavirus. It could be as high as one in two people in some areas of east London and Essex, the modelling by Edge Health claims.

Infections also continue to be high, with 54,940 announced yesterday – the thirteenth day in a row they have been above the 50,000 mark.

 

George Batchelor, the co-founder and director of Edge Health, told the Guardian: ‘Reported tests are only a fraction of the picture of total infections, which show how badly hit London and the north-west have been during the pandemic. 

‘It is incredible that the level of understanding of where and how infections are occurring is not greater at this stage, since it would allow control measures to be more targeted.

‘Even with imminent vaccinations, it is crucial to develop this understanding so that future variants of the virus can be effectively controlled and managed.’

The greater the number of people who have been infected with Covid-19, the more likely it is that some communities have a level of natural protection from the illness.

People generally do not get Covid-19 a second time within at least a year of their first infection, scientists have found, which means previously-infected people act as roadblocks for the virus as it tries to spread between people.

If enough people are immune in this way, or immune through vaccination, the spread of the virus is slower because its pool of potential victims is smaller.

When this applies to a significant section of the population, communities can start to develop what’s called herd immunity. For Covid, however, it’s likely that more than 60 per cent of people would need to be infected for this to take effect.  

It comes as Chris Whitty today warned the next few weeks are set to be the worst yet for the NHS as the government threatened to make lockdown even tougher.

The chief medical officer took to the airwaves to highlight the scale of the threat, saying that there are 30,000 people in hospital compared to the peak of 18,000 in April.

Amid a crackdown on stopping to chat in the street and in shops, Prof Whitty urged people to remember that ‘every unnecessary contact’ was an opportunity for the virus to spread.

He insisted that although the the NHS was in the ‘most dangerous situation anyone can remember’ vaccines mean the UK can be back to normal in ‘months not years’ – but he cautioned that the situation is a long way from that currently.

The intervention came amid fears that the number of daily deaths is on track to rise to 2,000, with Boris Johnson looking at tightening the national lockdown rules even more dramatically if cases keep surging.

There are claims ministers have discussed going as far as saying people can only leave the house once a week – although No10 today denied this was on the cards – as well as compulsory mask-wearing outdoors and a ban on extended bubbles.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi this morning suggested that shops are in the firing line, stressing the need for everyone to wear masks and follow one-way systems in supermarkets. He appealed for people not to stop and chat to friends they bump into while outside their homes.

Limits on individuals from different households exercising together also look to be in the pipeline as the government scrambles for ways of lowering transmission.

Prof Whitty told BBC Breakfast: ‘We have a very significant problem. The next few weeks are going to be the worst weeks of this pandemic in terms of the numbers into the NHS.’ He added: ‘This is everybody’s problem.’

Prof Whitty said: ‘This is the most dangerous time we have really had in terms of numbers into the NHS at this particular time.’

The UK announced a further 573 coronavirus deaths yesterday in the highest Sunday rise since April, and the third-deadliest Sunday of the entire pandemic as it emerged as many as one in five of all people in England may have had coronavirus. It could be as high as one in two people in some areas of east London and Essex, the modelling by Edge Health claims.

Infections also continue to be high, with 54,940 announced yesterday – the thirteenth day in a row they have been above the 50,000 mark.

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE REALLY HAD COVID IN YOUR AREA?
Local authority % population estimated infected Estimated cases Confirmed cases (PHE)
Barking and Dagenham 54.20% 115,460 14,665
Newham 49.00% 173,058 21,683
Thurrock 45.40% 79,223 12,007
Redbridge 42.90% 130,806 22,125
Havering 42.40% 110,063 19,316
Tower Hamlets 39.80% 129,314 19,387
Liverpool 38.80% 193,428 30,672
Manchester 38.60% 213,389 37,471
Rochdale 38.00% 84,493 15,409
Salford 37.80% 97,742 16,117
Oldham 37.60% 89,129 17,385
Tameside 36.50% 82,572 12,438
Blackburn with Darwen 36.00% 53,925 12,475
Sandwell 35.20% 115,735 18,752
Hackney and City of London 35.10% 101,995 14,108
Brent 34.90% 115,101 15,744
Nottingham 33.70% 112,247 21,021
Wigan 33.30% 109,489 20,441
Birmingham 33.20% 378,806 60,046
Waltham Forest 33.20% 91,847 16,164
Stoke-on-Trent 32.80% 84,114 13,594
Kingston upon Hull, City of 32.70% 84,885 13,577
Bury 32.60% 62,311 12,286
Medway 32.20% 89,815 19,063
Slough 32.00% 47,803 8,501
Leicester 31.90% 113,164 23,517
Barnsley 31.40% 77,599 12,957
Luton 31.40% 66,946 11,346
Doncaster 31.40% 97,827 15,664
Rotherham 30.80% 81,667 14,209
Sunderland 30.60% 85,069 14,641
Bradford 30.50% 164,446 34,511
Walsall 30.20% 86,316 14,379
Croydon 30.10% 116,257 18,388
Haringey 29.90% 80,282 13,076
Southend-on-Sea 29.40% 53,842 9,659
Reading 29.30% 47,482 5,974
South Tyneside 29.00% 43,805 8,207
Derby 28.90% 74,468 11,632
Merton 28.80% 59,510 9,995
Bedford 28.70% 49,818 7,631
Bolton 28.70% 82,649 17,909
Ealing 28.40% 97,129 17,087
Hounslow 28.30% 76,796 13,701
Lewisham 28.30% 86,459 13,104
Harrow 28.10% 70,521 12,461
Wolverhampton 27.60% 72,674 14,136
Lambeth 27.40% 89,184 14,552
Knowsley 27.30% 41,214 10,115
Leeds 27.20% 215,749 43,454
Stockton-on-Tees 27.10% 53,457 10,207
Blackpool 27.00% 37,686 6,573
Middlesbrough 27.00% 38,033 7,636
County Durham 26.90% 142,369 26,227
Hartlepool 26.60% 24,883 5,984
Warrington 26.30% 55,294 11,550
Milton Keynes 26.30% 70,884 12,163
Hillingdon 26.30% 80,698 15,273
Barnet 26.20% 103,847 18,752
Greenwich 26.10% 75,289 13,427
Enfield 26.10% 87,062 19,504
Bexley 25.70% 63,719 15,059
Wakefield 25.60% 89,208 16,985
Sheffield 25.30% 147,939 30,848
Sutton 25.00% 51,601 9,847
Trafford 24.80% 58,791 11,290
Darlington 24.80% 26,446 4,760
Gateshead 24.60% 49,619 9,990
Hammersmith and Fulham 24.30% 45,075 8,005
Newcastle upon Tyne 24.20% 73,269 18,203
Southwark 24.00% 76,670 13,716
Kirklees 23.90% 104,995 23,476
Wandsworth 23.80% 78,317 14,008
Lancashire 23.80% 289,723 64,245
Staffordshire 23.10% 202,870 38,051
Kent 23.00% 364,427 79,903
Sefton 23.00% 63,568 14,018
Wirral 22.50% 72,839 14,364
Northamptonshire 22.10% 166,641 25,970
Solihull 22.10% 47,834 8,827
Halton 21.90% 28,375 6,875
Islington 21.80% 52,907 9,644
Cheshire West and Chester 21.70% 74,613 13,665
Essex 21.60% 321,858 72,513
Stockport 21.60% 63,236 13,561
Kingston upon Thames 21.40% 38,052 8,050
St. Helens 21.20% 38,251 9,826
Wokingham 21.00% 35,961 5,155
Dudley 20.60% 66,239 15,865
Central Bedfordshire 20.60% 59,422 9,402
Hertfordshire 20.10% 238,870 46,668
Derbyshire 19.90% 159,935 29,981
Coventry 19.90% 73,802 13,562
Cheshire East 19.60% 75,417 13,604
Nottinghamshire 19.60% 162,482 33,527
Redcar and Cleveland 19.20% 26,265 5,864
North East Lincolnshire 18.80% 29,964 6,256
Cumbria 18.60% 93,237 16,412
Peterborough 18.50% 37,378 8,155
North Tyneside 17.90% 37,221 8,603
Lincolnshire 17.80% 135,665 27,109
Bromley 17.40% 57,938 16,379
Warwickshire 17.20% 99,552 19,417
Surrey 17.20% 205,177 43,581
North Lincolnshire 17.10% 29,496 6,421
Bristol, City of 16.90% 78,424 20,274
Richmond upon Thames 16.90% 33,466 7,123
Portsmouth 16.80% 36,209 8,412
Windsor and Maidenhead 16.80% 25,425 5,341
Leicestershire 16.60% 117,469 28,219
Northumberland 16.60% 53,417 12,108
Westminster 16.50% 43,090 8,807
East Riding of Yorkshire 16.30% 55,759 12,779
Brighton and Hove 16.10% 46,829 8,462
Gloucestershire 15.70% 99,881 14,410
Kensington and Chelsea 15.50% 24,224 5,632
Calderdale 15.40% 32,585 10,186
Buckinghamshire 14.90% 80,890 18,581
Bracknell Forest 14.90% 18,203 4,332
Southampton 14.80% 37,360 7,685
York 14.60% 30,787 8,101
Swindon 14.50% 32,264 6,966
Worcestershire 14.40% 85,506 17,629
East Sussex 14.30% 79,531 17,892
Camden 14.20% 38,244 8,970
North Yorkshire 13.70% 84,458 19,359
Suffolk 13.60% 103,854 16,373
West Berkshire 13.40% 21,262 3,804
South Gloucestershire 13.00% 37,056 9,458
Telford and Wrekin 12.80% 23,010 6,055
Oxfordshire 12.30% 85,410 20,640
Hampshire 12.20% 169,120 35,806
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 11.70% 46,358 12,276
Shropshire 11.70% 37,653 8,248
West Sussex 11.50% 99,337 22,086
Wiltshire 11.40% 57,040 9,037
North Somerset 11.30% 24,300 6,371
Cambridgeshire 10.10% 65,992 14,886
Norfolk 9.80% 88,646 22,066
Herefordshire, County of 9.50% 18,407 3,987
Isle of Wight 9.40% 13,332 2,851
Rutland 8.90% 3,550 812
Bath and North East Somerset 8.90% 17,154 5,260
Somerset 8.30% 46,768 11,148
Plymouth 7.60% 19,973 5,745
Torbay 7.50% 10,257 2,436
Devon 5.90% 47,548 13,268
Dorset 5.80% 21,856 5,737
Cornwall 4.80% 27,617 7,325