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No evidence of drop in Covid-19 cases despite UK’s third lockdown

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 21, 2021

The final passengers board the last scheduled Eurostar train from London to Paris ahead of travel restrictions imposed by the French government on the UK, in London on Sunday   -  REUTERS

Prevalence of the virus was very high in UK, according to the authors of REACT 1 study

In a major study, United Kingdom researchers have found that the coronavirus infections did not trickle down and may have only increased during the initial days of the latest lockdown in Britain, Sky News reported.

Researchers at Imperial College have suggested that the vaccines may take weeks to generate immune responses and produce a substantial effect.

The authors of the REACT 1 study said: “During the initial 10 days of the third Covid-19 lockdown… the prevalence of Covid-19 was very high with no evidence of decline."

Programme director Professor Paul Elliot said, "Our data are showing worrying suggestions of a recent uptick in infections which we will continue to monitor closely."

According to the survey carried out between January 6 and 15, one in 63 people were infected across England, an increase of 50 per cent on the last survey in early December. The rate was high in London where one in 36 people were infected with the coronavirus.

“Until prevalence in the community is reduced substantially, health services will remain under extreme pressure and the cumulative number of lives lost during this pandemic will continue to increase rapidly,” researchers added.

For the study, the researchers collected samples from over 100,000 people picked at random each month.

The Imperial College study further analyzed the effect of the vaccine rollout. They concluded that it would not have a major influence for weeks to come.

“Even though safe and effective vaccines are being deployed in many populations, the majority of those most at risk of severe Covid-19 will not be protected until late spring," the authors said.

The study found that the virus is growing and the R number - or rate of transmission remains just above 1 - at 1.04. This means that every 100 people will transmit Covid-19 to 104 people.

The study comes at a time when the country reported the highest number of Covid related deaths since the pandemic began. Tuesday and Wednesday saw an unprecedented spike in Covid-19 related deaths -- 1,610 and 1,820 respectively, as per media reports.

Published on January 21, 2021

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