Coronavirus: UK's infections are on 'steady rise' but not out of control, app ...

Coronavirus is not out of control in the UK, according to scientists who estimate there are now around 44,000 new infections happening each day.

King's College London researchers behind the Covid Symptom Study predict cases were last week 20 per cent higher than a week before. The previous seven days had seen a rise of 31 per cent.

Based on reports from a million app users and more than 12,000 test results, the estimates last week aligned roughly with figures from the Office for National Statistics, which are considered to be the most accurate and will update today.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist behind the King's study, said the spread of Covid-19 in the UK currently appears 'steady' and may even be slowing in Scotland.

The team estimated that Britain's cases are doubling once a month and that the R rate was 1.1 in the week ending October 25.

Their update comes after a shocking mass-testing study published yesterday estimated that 96,000 people may be catching the disease every day.

But this came alongside a conflicting forecast which put the figure at closer to 56,000, sparking confusion about how severe the UK's second wave really is. 

And Department of Health testing has picked up an average of just 22,125 cases per day for the last week, with 23,065 diagnosed yesterday. 

Looking back on the numbers of people dying can also give an impression of how widely Covid-19 is spreading - Government officials estimate 0.5 per cent of coronavirus patients die, which suggests the average 154 people who died each day in the week up to October 23 was the result of 31,000 new daily infections at the start of the month.

Professor Spector said the King's College team, working with health-tech company ZOE, wanted to 'reassure' people that the situation did not seem to be as bad as 'other surveys' had suggested. 

In other coronavirus news:

West Yorkshire will enter the strictest Tier Three lockdown from Sunday, joining the regions around Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham; London could face Tier Three rules within weeks, according to sources close to the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan. Mr Khan yesterday repeated his calls for a national shutdown and said tougher measures need to be taken; A Government source has reportedly told Boris Johnson that all hospital beds in England could be full by December 17 if no more action is taken against coronavirus. Tougher measures continue to be put in place, however, and Nightingale hospitals remain on standby across the country; A study has suggested a variant strain of Covid-19, named 20A.EU1, has been behind 90 per cent of infections in England, and has been traced back to a farm in northern Spain in June.

Data from King's College London's Covid Symptom Study app shows that coronavirus cases in the UK have soared to more than 40,000 per day after a lull in the summer but the team behind it maintain that they 'have not spiralled out of control'

Data from King's College London's Covid Symptom Study app shows that coronavirus cases in the UK have soared to more than 40,000 per day after a lull in the summer but the team behind it maintain that they 'have not spiralled out of control'

'While cases are still rising across the UK, we want to reassure people that cases have not spiralled out of control, as has been recently reported from other surveys,' Professor Spector said today.

'We are still seeing a steady rise nationally, doubling every four weeks, with the possible exception of Scotland which may be showing signs of a slow down. 

'With a million people reporting weekly, we have the largest national survey and our estimates are in line with the ONS survey.

'Data on covid-19 can be confusing for the public and we can't rely simply on confirmed cases or daily deaths, without putting them into context. 

'Hospital admissions are rising as expected, but deaths are still average for the season. As we become citizen scientists it’s important to look at multiple sources to get a broader view.'

ARE CASES REALLY GOING UP SO QUICKLY?

An array of statistics last week suggested cases were no longer growing as quick as they once were.

Office for National Statistics, which tracks the size of the Covid-19 outbreak through thousands of random swab tests, revealed that the number of people catching the coronavirus in England alone every day stood at 35,200 last week.

Despite being a 26 per cent rise on its previous estimate and double that of a fortnight ago, top scientists insisted the figure was 'hopeful' because the speed of growth has clearly dropped. 

Cases doubled between October 2 and 9, then jumped by two thirds (62 per cent) the following week to 27,900 per day, according to the ONS data, which is considered the most reliable indicator of the true size of the crisis. 

The data echoed comments by the UK's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, who said last week there were signs local lockdowns were starting to work and that curves were beginning to flatten in some areas.

Separate Department of Health data showed the number of daily cases by specimen date — the date the test was taken — had jumped by just 9 per cent from October 5 to October 12, rising from 15,310 to 16,683 in a week. 

But then cases appeared to take off again, increasing by 23.5 per cent from 17,589 on October 15 to 21,717 a week later. 

Since then, the outbreak appears to have slowed again, with the speed of growth in the most recent

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