The number of people who have coronavirus antibodies has increased across the UK but there is “substantial variation” between regions, new figures show, Sky News reports.
The rates are highest in England, where around one in five adults tested positive for antibodies, with the ratio rising to one in seven in Wales and Northern Ireland and one in nine in Scotland.
Having antibodies indicates that people have either previously been infected with the virus or have had a vaccine.
In England, people over 80 were more likely to have antibodies – but across the other three nations the highest rates were seen among younger adults, from 16 to 34-year-olds, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
“We would expect younger groups to have high levels of antibody positivity after the period of high infection rates we have seen in the last few months,” said Esther Sutherland, principal statistician at the ONS.
But even within nations, there are significant difference in the number of people with antibodies – with 24.8 percent found to have them in London compared with 11.6 percent in the South West.
In the same survey, the ONS found the number of weekly coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales has fallen for the first time since Christmas.
There were 7,320 fatalities where the coronavirus disease was mentioned on the death certificate in the week ending 5 February – down by 13 percent from 8,433 deaths the previous week.
Though the figure has started to dip, coronavirus-related deaths in the most recent week accounted for 42.6 percent of all deaths registered in England and Wales – the third highest proportion recorded during the pandemic.
Of the 7,320 deaths linked to coronavirus, the disease was the underlying cause of death in 89.1 percent of them.
By comparison, of the 4,993 deaths that involved influenza and pneumonia, those illness were the underlying cause of death in only 6.1 percent of those cases.
Deaths involving coronavirus declined in all regions, with southeast England reporting the largest decrease.
But the number of deaths from all causes across all English regions remains above the five-year average: the highest seen in London at 69.8 percent, compared to 10.7 percent in Yorkshire and the Humber.-Photo: Sky News