An average of 27,100 people in England had coronavirus at any point in mid-to-late August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has estimated.
It said that at any given time between 19 and 25 August, about one in 2,000 people outside of care homes, hospitals or other institutional settings in England would have tested positive for COVID-19.
There also were about 0.36 new coronavirus infections for every 10,000 people each day in England in that same period, or roughly 2,000 new cases a day.
The ONS added in its infection survey pilot, the latest data from which was released on Friday, that there appeared to be a “small increase” in the percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in July after a dip in June but that has continued to level off.
In total across the UK, there have been 340,411 recorded cases and 41,527 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
Oliver Johnson, professor of information theory at the school of mathematics, University of Bristol, said:
“Today’s ONS infection survey figures are very similar to last week. Indeed the long-term trend is broadly flat since the beginning of July, suggesting an R value very close to 1.
“This data may appear to contradict the recent increase in UK cases: this may partly be due to some of those cases being discovered by targeted testing in hotspots.
“Further, it is important to note this ONS survey covers only England and Wales: a significant proportion of the recent increase in cases has occurred in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and so would not be visible here.”
NHS Test and Trace data – different to the ONS infection survey – showed 6,732 were confirmed between 20 and 26 August, up 6% from the previous week.
Thursday also saw the highest daily total of cases since 4 June, with 1,735 recorded in the 24 hours up to 9am.
However, health secretary Matt Hancock has insisted that more people are being found, telling Sky News the system is picking up a “higher and higher proportion” of those infected with the coronavirus.
Department of Health figures show 69.4% of close contacts of people who tested positive for COVID-19 were reached through Test and Trace in the week up to 26 August.
That was down from 77.1% reached in the week prior and the lowest weekly percentage since the system launched in May.
A total of 270,559 close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been reached since Test and Trace began, or 79.7% of the 339,635 people identified as close contacts.
The remaining 69,076 people were identified as close contacts but not reached.
Coronavirus: what happened today