England COVID-19 prevalence rose to highest levels in October, study finds

pharmafile | November 4, 2021 | News story | Business Services  

Imperial College London have said that COVID-19 rates in England rose to its highest level on record in October.

This was driven largely by a surge in cases in the south-west of England, and a high number of cases in children due to the reopening of schools, according to Reuters.

Researchers found that nearly 6% of school-aged children had COVID-19, although there was a drop in rates towards the end of the study’s period, coinciding with the closure of schools for half-term holiday. Rates had also doubled in older groups, compared to September, and this alarming sign contributes to the government’s race to supply booster shots to the elderly population as well as the most vulnerable.

Scientists on the study, called React-1, analysed 67,000 swabs taken across England between 19 and 29 October, and found higher rates of infection in most regions.

Prof Paul Elliott, leader of the Imperial programme, said: “We did see a doubling in that group, and clearly that’s the worry. It’s being driven from the young school age but it is going right across the whole population.”

According to The Guardian, Elliot said the study could not explain the surge in cases in the south-west, but said that it could be linked to issues at the Immensa lab, which issued tens of thousands of false negative test results in the region, leading infected people to believe they did not have COVID-19.

The study also found that 10.3% of sequenced swabs had the Delta subvariant AY.4.2, which is under investigation by UK health authorities due to its recent growth. However, this variant has not been shown to cause severe illness or to be resistant to vaccines.

Lina Adams

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