Over half of people in England 'likely had Covid-19 antibodies' in March

14 April 2021, 16:00

Over half of people in England would likely have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in March
Over half of people in England would likely have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in March. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Over half of people in England were likely to have had Covid-19 antibodies in March, new ONS data shows.

An estimated 54.9% of people in private households were likely to have tested positive for antibodies in the week to March 28, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - largely unchanged on the previous two weeks.

The presence of antibodies suggests someone has had the infection in the past or has been vaccinated but the UK's statics body said antibody positivity has levelled off in England, Wales and Scotland.

The ONS said the latest figures show a fall in rates among older people, which was likely because the data does not yet show the impact of second Covid-19 vaccinations.

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In England, the highest percentage of people testing positive for antibodies in the week to March 28 was estimated to be the 65 to 69 age group (84.5%), followed by 70 to 74 (82.4%), 75 to 79 (79.8%) and 80 and over (77.6%).

In Wales, the latest estimate is slightly lower at 49.1% and lower still for Scotland, which averages at 46.0% positivity.

In Northern Ireland, an estimated 54.5% of people were likely to have antibodies in the week to March 28 - up from 50.0% in the previous week.

The lowest percentage was for 16 to 24-year-olds (38.7%).

In Wales, the highest proportion of people likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies was the 65 to 69 age group (79.7%) followed by 70 to 74 (79.2%) and 75 to 79 (75.6%).

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In Scotland the highest percentage was again estimated to be among 65 to 69-year-olds (82.9%), followed by 70 to 74-year-olds (78.0%) and 75 to 79-year-olds (69.4%).

In Northern Ireland, the ONS uses different age groups due to small sample sizes and estimates 78.0% of people aged 70 and over were likely to have tested positive for antibodies in the week to March 28.