Scientists have stopped counting how many people have Covid just as virus rates are at their highest this year.
The Covid-19 Infection Survey published its final weekly update yesterday, which estimated 1.7 million people have the virus.
The current rise is being driven by cases in England, the Office for National Statistics said.
Hospital admissions and death registrations will replace the random swab test survey as a gauge of infections.
Sir David Spiegelhalter, chairman of the survey’s advisory board, said: “There is a general consensus that the survey has been a world-leading demonstration of how health surveillance can best be done.
“It is expensive, and this has led to it being paused, but the participant group is not being disbanded. The survey has been the envy of the world and is a jewel in the crown of UK science.”
Covid admissions in England rose for the third week in a row to 10.6 per 100,000, the highest level since the start of the year. Statistics for the rest of the UK lack certainty.
Meanwhile, antibiotics commonly prescribed for hospitalised patients with flu or Covid do not save lives, research shows.
Scientists warn over-prescribing is making viruses resistant to drugs.
A Norwegian study found acute respiratory infection patients given antibiotics were twice as likely to die as those who were not.