expert reaction to latest data from the ONS Infection Survey

expert reaction to latest data from the ONS Infection Survey


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released the latest data from their COVID-19 Infection Survey.


Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, The Norwich School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, said:

“Today’s report of the ONS Coronavirus Infection survey confirms what we have been seeing in the daily reports of new case numbers.  Taken together this is good evidence that case numbers are still in decline across all four countries within the UK.

“What makes this week’s results particularly important is that this would be the first week when there would be any evidence that the relaxation of the 12th April would have had a negative impact on the epidemic.  That there is in fact no evidence of an increased transmission risk is reassuring that for the time being at least it looks like the current Road map is still on target.”


Prof Rowland Kao, the Sir Timothy O’Shea Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Data Science, University of Edinburgh, said:

“The results of the ONS survey are consistent with other measures in saying that the numbers of randomly selected individuals testing positive for COVID-19 are declining.  This continued decline is good news and should be celebrated.  As it is a random survey, it is less subject to biases, but as it picks up a selection of all infections, rather than just newly reported cases (the way some other measures due) it will tend to more slowly reflect changes in trends.  As such it does not provide us with more information about what recent changes in restrictions are doing.  Thus we must continue to be aware of how those changes may be influencing the upcoming numbers of infections, including the possible spread of variants of concern and variants under investigation.  Key to those are the any impact that changes in longer distance travel may have on the rapidity of spread of any variants – should renewed measures be required (such as surge testing, or locally increased restrictions) longer distances would likely mean these would have to be broader, or more severe.”



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