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‘No strong evidence’ of coronavirus levels decreasing in England, researchers say


L

evels of Covid-19 in England may have risen over the first 10 days of the third lockdown, and there is no “strong evidence” of them decreasing, researchers have claimed.

Swab testing of 143,000 people suggests that 1.58 per cent of people had coronavirus between January 6 and 15.

London had the highest levels with 2.8 per cent.

Imperial College London researchers said that there was little sign of these infection rates decreasing.

This took the overall number of victims one step closer to the grim 100,000 milestone.    

The government said the report does not yet reflect the impact of the third lockdown, which researchers claim has not been as effective as the first.

A new, more transmissible variant may also be a factor, researchers said.

Director of the Imperial College London programme Prof Paul Elliott warned that people must “reduce their mobility as much as we can”.

Coronavirus in numbers: UK death toll reaches 93,290

The latest round of results from the React-1 infection survey are interim and have not yet been published.

They are based on swab tests from 143,000 people across England. Of these, almost 2,000 were positive for Covid.

The same experts also suggested that the national R rate – the the average number of people each infected person passes the disease onto – is 1.04, meaning the epidemic is still increasing in size.

Pressure on hospitals will continue to mount as a result, they said.

It comes after Cambridge University researchers estimated that the R rate may have dipped to 0.6 in London and the South East.

Public Health England had also revealed that weekly Covid cases had fallen in every age group except the over-80s.

Department of Health figures also showed that dozens of boroughs had experienced a drop in infection rates.



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