At least seven in 10 people in England have now had Covid, figures show

Around seven in 10 people in England are likely to have had coronavirus since the early months of the pandemic, new figures show. An estimated 38.5 million people in private households – or 70.7% of the population – have had at least one infection since the end of April 2020.

The figures, which have been compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) using data from its long-running survey of Covid-19 infections, do not include settings such as care homes and are therefore likely to underestimate the true total. The survey began in England on April 27, 2020, meaning the estimates don’t cover most of the initial wave of the virus that started in early March.

But this is the first time an attempt has been made to calculate the cumulative number of people who have had Covid-19 for much of the pandemic. The ONS figures go up to February 11, 2022, so do not include people who were first infected in recent weeks.

Separate estimates have been released for the other three countries in the UK, each covering a different period depending on when the infections investigation began. In Wales, 1.7 million people – or 56% of the population – are likely to have had Covid-19 between June 30, 2020 and February 11, 2022.

In Scotland, 2.7 million people (51.5% of the population) contracted the virus between September 22, 2020 and February 11 this year. And in Northern Ireland, an estimated 1.3 million people, or 72.2% of the population, had Covid-19 between July 27, 2020 and February 11, 2022.

All figures are for people living in private households and do not include those in hospitals, care homes and other communal facilities.