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16 April 2020

App data suggests predicted COVID cases have fallen by 71 percent

Data analysed from the COVID Symptom Tracker app, developed by ZOE, indicates a significant decrease in predicted COVID cases, but suggests a large number of people in the UK may still be infectious

Image of the novel coronavirus
An electron microscope image of SARS-Cov-2, taken from a patient in the US. Image courtesy of NIAID.

The number of cases of predicted symptomatic COVID has fallen from 2 million to 582,640 in just over two weeks (01 April to 15 April) according to the latest data from the COVID Symptom Tracker app. In Wales, the figures dropped by 70% from 98,025 cases to 29,157 cases. In Scotland, they fell by 73% from 137,583 to 36,723  (01 April to 15 April). However, the figures suggest there are still a large number of infectious people in the UK, which researchers say should be considered carefully before lifting the lockdown. 

Developed by researchers at King’s College London and healthcare science company, ZOE, the COVID Symptom Tracker has also shown that there is now no clear difference between cities and the countryside when it comes to predicted COVID cases. London is no longer a key hotspot for predicted cases, and the latest hotspots are all spread out across the UK. 

According to the latest figures from today, the two current hotspots or areas that have not reduced as fast are Corby (England) with 3.2% of people with symptomatic COVID (estimated) and Boston (Lincolnshire) with 3.1% of people with symptomatic COVID (estimated). All the latest figures are on the interactive map.

Lead researcher Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London said: 'It’s very reassuring to see that the number of predicted symptomatic COVID cases is continuing to fall day on day across the UK, but with deaths still high, this is definitely not the time for complacency. We believe our population’s symptoms are changing around two weeks before most people are admitted to hospital. The data from the app is giving us insight into just how common the virus is and how differently it affects people. We are learning something new each day, all of which is being shared directly with the NHS and health planners.'

'What the data tell us is that there is still a large number of infectious people in the UK with mild symptoms, so to quickly lift the lockdown would not be appropriate. We are working closely with NHS Wales and NHS Scotland to explore how the app can be used to speed up and guide the lockdown lift. It can work as an early alert, before hospital testing, flagging up any particular spikes in new symptom cases.'

We would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who is already participating, and would urge everyone else to download the app and check in every day, whether you are experiencing any symptoms or feeling fine. It takes us one minute a day for people to become part of the world’s largest stay at home science experiment and help the UK fight this virus.

Professor Tim Spector, Lead Researcher

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Tim Spector

Professor of Genetic Epidemiology