COVID infections up in England, despite lockdown: Study

One in every 63 people in UK had coronavirus between January 6 to 15, REACT finds.

COVID infections up in England, despite lockdown: Study

Coronavirus infections continued to rise in England this month, despite the U.K.’s lockdown measures, according to a study released Thursday.

The REACT study, conducted by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI, found “no evidence” of infections decreasing 10 days into the U.K. lockdown implemented by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Imperial’s Steven Riley told the Times.

The study, which surveys around 142,900 volunteers and is the largest coronavirus population surveillance being undertaken in England, found 1.58 percent of those tested between January 6 to 15 had the coronavirus — amounting to one in every 63 people. This was a 50 percent increase on early December, when 0.91 percent of those tested were infected. In London, one in 36 people tested positive, more than double the rate of early December.

Health care and other key workers were more likely to test positive compared to others, the study found. The virus was also more prevalent in younger people aged 18 to 24 than those over 65.

Deprived neighborhoods and areas with higher numbers of Black and Asian residents “were associated with increased prevalence” of the coronavirus, REACT also found.

“Our data are showing worrying suggestions of a recent uptick in infections which we will continue to monitor closely,” said Paul Elliott, the director of the Imperial program. “To prevent our already stretched health system from becoming overwhelmed infections must be brought down.”

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is himself currently in self-isolation after coming into contact with someone with the coronavirus, echoed that sentiment. “These findings show why we must not let down our guard over the weeks to come,” he said. “Infections across England are at very high levels and this will have a knock-on effect on the already significant pressures faced by our NHS and hospitals.”

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