According to data recorded by the Office for National Statistics, COVID infection levels continued to fall in the UK.
In the week ending Jan. 17, an estimated 1.1 million people in private households are likely to have COVID-19, down 39% from 1.8 million in the previous week.
This is the lowest total since the end of November.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus has also fallen by 40% since the start of the year, providing further evidence that the virus is less common, according to NHS data.
The ONS survey showed that an estimated one in 60 people in England tested positive, compared to one in 55 in Wales, one in 30 in Northern Ireland and 55 in Scotland.
After a spike in cases as Christmas approached, infections peaked at 3.0 million at the end of December 2022.
Most current COVID infections are due to the variant known as BQ.1, which is part of the Omicron family.
COVID-19 by region and age
Infections fell in all regions in the UK.
About one in 57 (1.3%) people in London had the virus, compared to one in 50 (2%) in the South West.
The analysis also showed that infection rates fell in all age groups, except for the two-10-year-olds, where the trend was uncertain.
Age 70 and over category had the highest rate with one in 48 (2.1%) in the previous weeks, followed by 50-69 with one in 62 (1.8%).
Michelle Bowen, head of ONS health surveillance, said the “picture is generally positive” with infections in the UK “returning to under a million and a seven-week low”.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID in the UK is currently 5,632. That figure peaked at 9,535 on Dec. 29 – still significantly below previous waves.
Booster vaccinations scheduled for autumn and spring
The latest survey is in line with data from the 2022 COVID fall support program launched in early September.
more than that 82% of people aged 75 and over have been vaccinated.. A total of 64.5% of those aged 50 and over also received the booster vaccine.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at the UK’s Office of Health Security, said although flu and COVID cases have fallen, “winter is not over yet and we need to counteract further increases”.
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He encouraged eligible individuals to receive a booster vaccine, which was echoed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) to “reduce serious diseases across the population” and “protect the NHS”.