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Coronavirus cases in England doubling every eight days, study shows

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Cases of coronavirus in England are doubling every seven to eight days, research has revealed in the latest figures to show a resurgence of COVID-19.

The study, known as React-1, is a population surveillance study that began in May and uses swabs from about 120,000 to 160,000 randomly selected people in England across 315 local authority areas each month to track the spread of coronavirus using PCR analysis – the “have you got it now” test.

“The prevalence of the virus in the population is increasing. We found evidence that it has been accelerating at the end of August and beginning of September,” said Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London and a co-author of the work.

The findings came as, elsewhere, the latest R figure for the UK was reported to be between 1.0 and 1.2, with the number of new infections somewhere between shrinking by 1% and growing by 3% every day.

Previous rounds of the study revealed a falling prevalence of COVID-19, even as lockdown restrictions were eased: according to data for the period 19 June to 8 July, the prevalence of Covid in the general population was low, and halving every eight to nine days.

However, the results from the fourth round of the survey suggest that is no longer the case. While the latest findings from the React study have yet to be peer-reviewed, researchers say out of more than 150,000 swabs collected between 22 August and 7 September, 136 tested positive for coronavirus, suggesting 13 people out of every 10,000 in the general population had COVID-19.

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Source: The Guardian, 11 September 2020

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