Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: characteristics of people testing positive for COVID-19 in England, August 2020

View as a webpage

office for national statistics

People, population and community

18 August 2020

Catch up on the latest data and analysis related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on:

Deaths and health data


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: characteristics of people testing positive for COVID-19 in England, August 2020

This is the latest in a monthly release which examines results from the COVID-19 Infection survey in greater detail than our weekly bulletin to see what conclusions can be drawn about the characteristics of the disease based on the data we have so far.

In this article, we build upon previous analysis published on the risk factors associated with those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and provide new insight through characteristics of those testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, which is an indicator of those who have ever had the disease.

In this article, we refer to the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections within the community population; in this instance ‘community’ refers to private households, and excludes those in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings.

Main points

  • There is evidence that Asian or Asian British individuals were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than White individuals over the most recent eight weeks of the study, and there is also some evidence to suggest a higher percentage of individuals from ethnic minorities have had COVID-19 in the past
  • Those in one-person households were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 on a nose and throat swab than individuals in two-person households over the latest 8-week period of the study, but there was no evidence of differences for larger households.

Go to our article

Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain, June 2020.

Commenting on the findings, Tim Vizard from the Office for National Statistics said:

“Today’s research provides an insight into the mental health of adults during the coronavirus pandemic. Revisiting this same group of adults before and during the pandemic provides a unique insight into how their symptoms of depression have changed over time.

"Nearly 1 in 5 adults were experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic, almost doubling from around one in 10 before. Adults who are young, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense or disabled were the most likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic.”

This article looks at the levels of depressive symptoms in the same group of over 3,500 adults in Great Britain before the coronavirus pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020) and during it (June 2020).

Depressive symptoms include low mood and loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things. The ONS used the same type of questionnaire as health professionals, asking people to score themselves against various statements and using this as a basis for judging if the individual was showing signs of mild, moderate or severe depression.

Key findings

  • The number of adults who report experiencing some form of depression has almost doubled to nearly one in 5 (19.2%) in June 2020, compared with 9.7% (nearly one in ten) in July 2019 - March 2020.
  • Over the 12 months to June 2020, one in eight adults (12.9%) have developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms, while 6.2% of the population already had this level of depressive symptoms. Around one in 25 adults (3.5%) saw an improvement over this period.

Read the full report