UK will stop publishing COVID modelling data in 2023


Starting next year, UK will stop publishing COVID modelling data as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says is “no longer necessary”.

Since the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that emerged in late 2019 and has since become a global pandemic, public health authorities have modeled data in order to understand the dynamics of the outbreak and make informed decisions about how to respond. A key parameter is the reproduction number, also known as the R number, a measure of how many people an infected person is expected to infect, on average, in a population where everyone is susceptible to the disease. The R range and growth rate for England was first published in May 2020, weekly during the height of the pandemic, and fortnightly since April 2022. The next publication on January 6 “will be the last”.

“During the pandemic, the R value and growth rate served as a useful and simple indicator to inform public health action and government decisions. Now that vaccines and therapeutics have allowed us to move to a phase where we are living with COVID-19, with surveillance scaled down but still closely monitored through a number of different indicators, the publication of this specific data is no longer necessary,” UK Health Security Agency Chief Data Scientist Nick Watkins said in a statement.

“We continue to monitor COVID-19 activity in a similar way to how we monitor a number of other common illnesses and diseases. All data publications are kept under constant review and this modelling data can be reintroduced promptly if needed, for example, if a new variant of concern was to be identified,” he added.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 incidence data will still be available from the Office for National Statistics infection survey.