One in 62 people have coronavirus in the West Midlands, new Government-backed research reveals today.
And the number with the virus has more than doubled since mid-September.
The figures have been published by the Department of Health. They are the result of a Government-backed study by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI.
Nationwide, the findings show infections continued to rise across all regions between 16 and 25 October, with 128 people per 10,000 infected.
In the West Midlands, 162 people out of 10,000 are believed to be infected. This is just over one in 61 people.
The figures refer to the wider West Midlands region, including counties such as Shropshire and Staffordshire as well as the cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, and Black Country towns. It’s likely that the infection rate will actually be higher in urban areas and lower in rural areas with lower population density.
It’s based on tests carried out between October 16 and October 25. A previous study, based on testing from September 18 to October 5, found 60 out of every 10,000 people in the West Midlands were infected, which means the number has increased substantially.
More than 85,000 volunteers were tested in England, to examine the levels of infection in the general population. The findings show infections continue to rise across all age groups and all regions in England, with the biggest increase in those aged 55-64. The highest number of infections remain in the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber.
The main findings from the research, known as the REACT study, show that between 16 and 25 October:
- 128 people per 10,000 were infected in England, up from 60 per 10,000;
- The virus was doubling every 9 days;
- Prevalence was highest in Yorkshire and The Humber, meaning over 1 in 40 people were infected in Yorkshire and The Humber region as of Sunday 25 October; and
- The percentage of people infected aged 55-64 increased more than threefold from 37 people per 10,000 to 120 per 10,000, but infections remain highest in those aged 18-24, with 220 people in every 10,000 infected.
The reserachers said in their report: “There is suggestion that the epidemic may be turning down in the North East, although there are still marked increases in prevalence amongst themost vulnerable population at ages 65 years and over. The epidemic is now increasing most rapidly in the Midlands and South.”
Professor Paul Elliott, Director of the programme at Imperial from the School of Public Health, said: “These interim findings paint a concerning picture of the situation in England, where we’re seeing a nation-wide increase in infection prevalence, which we know will lead to more hospitalisations and loss of life.
“We’re also detecting early signs that areas which previously had low rates of infection are following trends observed in the country’s worst-affected areas.
“Now more than ever we must all work together to curb further spread of the virus and avoid subsequent overwhelming of the health service.”