Covid: 1.7 million people infected in the week before Christmas, data reveals

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Samantha Haynes

By Samantha Haynes

Published: 24/12/2021

- 12:20

Updated: 24/12/2021

- 12:22

Office for National Statistics research shows that this was the highest number since comparable figures began in autumn 2020

Around one in 35 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to December 19, according to estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is up from one in 45 in the week to December 16.

One in 35 is the equivalent of about 1.5 million people and is the highest number since the ONS began estimating infection levels for England in May 2020.

In London, around one in 20 people was likely to test positive for Covid-19 in the week to December 19, the highest proportion for any region in England, the ONS said.

North-east England had the lowest proportion, at around one in 55.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chief executive Dr Jenny Harries warned that it is too early to downgrade the threat from the new strain, which is still spreading rapidly across the UK.

In Wales, around one in 45 people is estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to December 19, slightly below the record of one in 40 in October.

In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is one in 40, equalling the record from mid-August.

For Scotland, the latest estimate is one in 65, below September’s peak of one in 45.

All figures are for people in private households.

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