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Publication - Statistics

Coronavirus (COVID-19): ONS Infection Survey – characteristics data for Scotland – 2 March 2022

Published: 2 Mar 2022

Characteristics data from the ONS COVID-19 infection survey published on 2 March 2022.

Published:
2 Mar 2022
Coronavirus (COVID-19): ONS Infection Survey – characteristics data for Scotland – 2 March 2022

The article is based on findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) COVID-19 Infection Survey.

The COVID-19 Infection Survey aims to measure:

  • how many people test positive for COVID-19 infection at a given point in time, regardless of whether they report experiencing coronavirus symptoms
  • the average number of new infections per week over the course of the study
  • the number of people who test positive for antibodies, to indicate how many people are ever likely to have had the infection or have been vaccinated

The results are for private households only, and do not apply to those in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings. The population used in this analysis relates to those living in private residential households aged two years and over.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish analysis of the characteristics of those testing positive for COVID-19 in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the UK on their website.

The underlying data displayed in the charts in this publication is available in the reference tables on the ONS website.

Main points

In Scotland, the number of contacts people have with others, both physical and socially distanced, returned to pre-Christmas levels in the fortnight up to 12 February 2022.

In the six weeks up to 12 February 2022, there was an increase in the number of physical and socially distanced contacts children reported with those aged under 18 years, likely due to schools re-opening after the Christmas holidays.

During January 2022, there was a decrease in the number of physical contacts adults reported with all age groups, likely due to decreased mixing following Christmas. From mid-January up to 12 February 2022, adults reported more socially distanced contacts with all age groups.

Socially distanced and physical contacts - Scotland

This analysis looks at how often individuals are reporting social contact with other people outside their own household, either socially distanced or physical contact. As part of survey visits, individuals were asked how many people outside their household, aged 17 years and under, 18 to 69 years, and 70 years and over, they had had contact with up to seven days prior to each study visit.

Contact refers to either of the following:

  • Socially distanced contact – direct contact with social distancing only
  • Physical contact – physical contact, such as a handshake or personal care, including wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)

In this article, fortnightly estimates are available for the time period from 30 January to 12 February 2022. Data on socially distanced and physical contacts for Scotland was previously presented on 19 January 2022.

Estimates have been weighted to be representative of the total population in Scotland. Analysis includes all people taking part in the survey. The survey only includes those living in private residential households. Contact analysis is presented for school-age children (age two years to school year S4) and adults (school year S5 and above).

The number of contacts is reported in the following groups:

  • 0 (no reported contacts)
  • 1 to 5 (reported contacts)
  • 6 to 10 (reported contacts)
  • 11 to 20 (reported contacts)
  • 21 or more (reported contacts)

School-age children

The proportions of school-age children reporting each category of number of physical and socially distanced contacts are shown in Figures 1 and 2 respectively.

In the six weeks up to 12 February 2022, there was an increase in the number of physical and socially distanced contacts children reported with those aged under 18 years, likely due to schools re-opening after the Christmas holidays. There was also an increase in the number of socially distanced contacts children reported with those aged 18 to 69 since early-January.

School-age children reported consistently more physical contacts with those under 18 than with those aged 18 to 69 or over 70 years. Further, there was a decrease in the number of physical contacts children reported with over 70s during January 2022.

In Figures 1 to 4, each bar represents one two-week period, denoted by the end date of that period. For example, 12 February 2022 denotes the estimate relating to 30 January to 12 February 2022.

Figure 1: Proportion of school-age children by number of physical contacts with different age groups, from 27 September 2020 to 12 February 2022

Figure 1: Proportion of school-age children by number of physical contacts with different age groups, from 27 September 2020 to 12 February 2022

Figure 2: Proportion of school-age children by number of socially distanced contacts with different age groups, from 27 September 2020 to 12 February 2022

Figure 2: Proportion of school-age children by number of socially distanced contacts with different age groups, from 27 September 2020 to 12 February 2022

Adults

The proportions of adults reporting each category of number of physical and socially distanced contacts are shown in Figures 3 and 4 respectively.

During January 2022, there was a decrease in the number of physical contacts adults reported with all age groups, likely due to decreased mixing following Christmas.

From mid-January up to 12 February 2022, adults reported more socially distanced contacts with all age groups.

Figure 3: Proportion of adults by number of physical contacts with different age groups, from 27 September 2020 to 12 February 2022

Figure 3: Proportion of adults by number of physical contacts with different age groups, from 27 September 2020 to 12 February 2022

Figure 4: Proportion of adults by number of socially distanced contacts with different age groups, from 27 September 2020 to 12 February 2022

Figure 4: Proportion of adults by number of socially distanced contacts with different age groups, from 27 September 2020 to 12 February 2022

Methodology and further information

  1. The population relates to those living in private residential households aged two years and over, and does not include people in hospital, care homes or students in halls of residence, where rates of COVID-19 infection are likely to be different.
  2. Because of the relatively small number of tests and a low number of positives in the sample, confidence intervals are wide and therefore results should be interpreted with caution.
  3. SARS-CoV-2 is the scientific name given to the specific virus that causes COVID-19.
  4. Estimates are provided with 95% confidence intervals to indicate the level of uncertainty around them. A confidence interval gives an indication of the degree of uncertainty of an estimate, showing the precision of a sample estimate. The 95% confidence intervals are calculated so that if we repeated the study many times, 95% of the time the true unknown value would lie between the lower and upper confidence limits. A wider interval indicates more uncertainty in the estimate.
  5. Please note that the sampling method used in Northern Ireland is different to the other nations, inviting only people who have previously participated in a Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) survey, which could result in a sample of individuals who are less likely to report symptoms.

The full article published by the Office for National Statistics on 2 March 2022, which includes data for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, can be accessed on the ONS website. The full article also includes analysis on reported symptoms across the UK.

More information about the COVID-19 Infection Survey in Scotland can be found on the information page on the Scottish Government website, and previous COVID-19 Infection Survey data for Scotland can be found in this collection.

Contact

Scottish Government Covid-19 Infection Survey Team

covidinfectionsurvey@gov.scot