UK has ‘clearly passed the peak’ of second COVID wave, expert says

·3-min read
A couple wearing face masks keep on their side of the Golden Jubilee Bridge in London as the UK heads for another lockdown due to coronavirus.
Infection rates have reportedly been falling in most regions. (Getty)

The UK has “clearly passed the peak” of the second wave of coronavirus, an expert in tracking the pandemic has claimed.

Tim Spector, principal investigator at the independent coronavirus monitor ZOE, said that “in most areas” it was becoming apparent that infection rates had fallen.

Spector also said the R-rate, the rate at which the virus multiplies, had fallen below one across the board for the first time in months.

“According to ZOE app New cases down slightly to 36,000 daily across UK as R falls to 0.9 for the first time in 2nd wave,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

“Clear that peak has passed in most areas now – although the Midlands is bucking trend and going in wrong direction.”

Data collected by the ZOE app showed that the estimated number of active coronavirus cases in each region, based on people reporting symptoms, had started to fall everywhere except the Midlands.

The North West and North East have the highest number of estimated active cases, at over 100,000 each, but the figure appears to be gradually decreasing in both since last week, the ZOE analysis shows.

Read more: More than 600k had COVID in week before lockdown but rate of increase now slowing, ONS data shows

The falling infection rates will come as a boost to prime minister Boris Johnson who has previously insisted the current national lockdown restrictions will not be extended past 2 December.

Instead he told MPs last week the country would return to a tiered system after the national lockdown ends next month.

Making a statement in the Commons, the prime minister said: “Let me stress that these restrictions are time-limited.

Watch: Coronavirus infection rates ‘stabilising’ across the country

“After four weeks, on Wednesday 2nd December, they will expire and we intend to return to a tiered system on a local and regional basis.”

It comes as figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published on Tuesday showed the number of weekly registered deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales has exceeded a thousand for the first time since June.

There were 1,379 deaths mentioning 'novel coronavirus' registered in the week ending 30 October, accounting for 12.7% of all deaths in England and Wales, the ONS said.

This is the eighth consecutive weekly rise, up 401 deaths (41%) from the previous week, which saw 978 COVID-19 deaths registered.

It is the first time that the weekly figure has been above 1,000 since the week ending June 12, and it is the highest number since the week ending June 5, when 1,588 COVID-19 deaths were registered.

Watch: 8 exceptions to the new lockdown

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