The Office for National Statistics weekly infection survey revealed around 620,100 people had the virus up to September 18 in England – as Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales report higher rates
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Covid infections have fallen for the second consecutive week in England with one in 90 people testing positive for the virus.
The latest Office for National Statistics weekly infection survey revealed around 620,100 people in private households had the virus at some point in the seven days up to September 18.
This compares to one in 80 – around 697,100 people – the previous week, and one in 70 people – 754,600 people – in the seven days to September 3.
The estimates were around one in 70 for the final two weeks of August.
By comparison, one in 50 people in England had the virus at the peak of the second wave in January.
It comes despite millions of children returning to school, with scientists previously warning of a surge in September.
Infection rates were worst in the North East, where one in 60 people were had Covid, while the South East boasted the lowest infections with one in 120 people.
The number of people testing positive has fallen in Yorkshire and the Humber, London and south-east England, the ONS said.
The trend for all other regions is uncertain.
Infection rates are highest in Scotland, where one in 45 people had the virus last week – the same level as the previous week – which is the worst figure since estimates began last October.
In Wales, an estimated one in 60 people had Covid, which is the highest level since the week before Christmas in 2020.
One in 60 people had the virus in Northern Ireland in the seven days to September 18, up from one in 75 the previous week.
This is slightly below the estimate of one in 40 for the week to August 20, which was the highest since current estimates began for Northern Ireland in September 2020.
A top expert suggested this week that Covid could even become like the common cold by the Spring – thanks to vaccines and exposure to the virus in the community.
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, said the country “is over the worst” and things “should be fine” once winter has passed – adding there was continued exposure to the virus even in people who are vaccinated.
Oxford Vaccine creator Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert told a Royal Society of Medicine webinar that viruses tend to become weaker.
Seasonal coronaviruses cause colds, and she said: “Eventually Sars-CoV-2 will become one of those.”