There are signs that the United Kingdom could be heading into a fall Covid-19 wave, and experts say the United States may not be far behind.
A recent increase in Covid-19 cases in England doesn’t seem to be driven by a new coronavirus variant, at least for now, although several are gaining strength in the US and across the pond.
“Generally, what happens in the UK is reflected about a month later in the US. I think this is what I’ve sort of been seeing,” said Dr. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at Kings College London.
Spector runs the Zoe Health Study, which uses an app to let people in the UK and US report their daily symptoms. If they start to feel bad, they take a home Covid-19 test and record those results. He says that about 500,000 people are currently logging their symptoms every day to help track trends in the pandemic.
Spector says the study, which has been running since the days of the first lockdown in England in 2020, has accurately captured the start of each wave, and its numbers run about one to two weeks ahead of official government statistics.
After seeing a downward trend for the past few weeks, the Zoe study saw a 30% increase in reported Covid-19 cases within the past week.
“Our current data is definitely showing this is the beginning of the next wave,” Spector said.
On Friday, that increase was reflected in official UK government data too, although it was not as large as the increases reported by Zoe loggers.
Data from the National Health Service showed that after falling for nearly two months, the seven-day average of new cases in England and Wales rose 13% for the week ending September 17 over the week before. The seven-day average of hospitalizations was up 17% in the week ending September 19 compared with the week prior.
The data aligns with what models have predicted would happen in both the UK and the US.
“They predicted that we’d get a June to July peak and then there’d be a month where nothing happened in August and then it would flatten in in August and September and then start again in October. So it’s exactly matching what the modelers have have been predicting,” Spector said.
In the US, some models have predicted that Covid-19 cases will begin to rise again in October and continue to increase into the winter. Experts are hopeful that because most of the population now has some underlying immunity to the coronavirus, this wave would be less deadly than we’v …