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COVID-19 infections in England drop by 30% amid national lockdown

Observations come from REACT study led by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI

COVID-19 infections in England have dropped by 30% during the month-long national lockdown, a new study has found.

An interim report from the REACT study, which included results from home coronavirus tests taken between 13 and 24 November, found that approximately 0.96% of England’s population has the virus.

Compared with previous findings, which evaluated tests involving over 160,000 people between 16 October and 2 November, there was around a 30% reduction in the number of COVID-19 infections across the country.

The research, led by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI, also found that the overall R rate has dropped below 1 (estimated at 0.88), which means that infections are slowing down rather than increasing.

“REACT is one of a number of studies that are feeding into decision-making and helping to ensure that public health measures are based on robust, current evidence,’ said Steven Riley, study author and professor of Infectious Disease Dynamics at Imperial.

“As we approach the end of lockdown, we need to keep monitoring the situation closely to spot any changes in trends that could arise from a loosening of restrictions, enabling a swift response to prevent further escalation of infections,” he added.

The prevalence of COVID-19 is decreasing in most areas in the country, but particularly within the North West and North East where the number of people testing positive for the infection has fallen by half.

The current figures show that the area with the highest number of infections currently is the West Midlands, with 1.55% of the population testing positive.

In addition, London was found to have the highest R rate at 0.95, while the lowest R rate was found to be in the North West and North East – 0.76 and 0.78, respectively.

Previously, all age groups were seeing an increase in infections – this has been reversed, with most experiencing a decrease, apart from children aged five to 17 years where infections are climbing.

People living in households of six or more were also around twice as likely to test positive compared to people living alone or with one other person, and ethic minorities were also more likely to have the virus compared to white people.

In particular, Asian individuals were found to have the highest risk of contracting a COVID-19 infection, the study revealed.

“Thanks to the huge efforts of the public over the last few weeks we have been able to get the virus better under control to keep our NHS open,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

“This latest data shows we must maintain our resolve and we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal just yet despite the very encouraging fall in cases and advances in vaccines,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

30th November 2020

From: Healthcare

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