Sharp decline in coronavirus since January

There has been a “strong decline” in levels of coronavirus infections in England since January. Imperial College London’s React study found infections have dropped by two-thirds across England since lockdown began, with an 80% fall in London. Virus levels are still high, with one in 200 testing positive between 4 and 13 February. This is similar to levels seen in late September 2020. Although these are interim findings, based on more than 85,000 swab tests from randomly selected people, they suggest social distancing and restrictions are having a major impact.

Chart shows cases continuing to fall

The study’s author Prof Steven Riley described the fall in cases in London as “dramatic” and said there had been “a strong downward trend since January – better than many hoped for”, which is equivalent to a halving of infections every 15 days. While the virus is declining in all nine English regions, it is falling less steeply in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. However, more than 20,000 Covid-19 patients are currently in hospital in the UK, and although new daily cases and hospital admissions are falling, they are still relatively high.

The report found falls in infections across all age groups, with 18 to 24-year-olds and five to 12-year-olds currently having the highest virus levels – although still below 1%. It estimates the over-65s have the lowest levels of virus at 0.3%, perhaps an early consequence of the vaccination programme. click full article

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