Figures from around the world demonstrate that COVID-19 is now prevalent in most countries, but many governments have encouraged people to stop testing so it is difficult to obtain accurate figures on the number of COVID-19 infections in the community. 

According the UK’s Office for National Statistics, in the week ending 31 January 2023, 1 in 65 people in England had an acute COVID-19 infection.

According to the US CDC, on 10 February 2023, there were more than 40,000 new infections reported per day on average by states that are still compiling figures on infection, and more than 3,500 hospitalisations per day. 

COVID-19 has not ‘gone away’ nor is it likely to. The virus mutates rapidly and waning immunity means long-term protection and so-called herd immunity against infection does not seem possible against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Until we have vaccines that are more effective at blocking transmission, or there has been a global effort to eliminate or reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, we should expect a relatively high background prevalence of the virus and to be infected or reinfected when our immunity wanes, unless we take steps to mitigate our risks.