REACT study: Primary school children have highest COVID infection level

COVID infection level, primary school COVID
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New data from the REACT study finds that the prevalence of COVID is down by 60% in one month, but primary school children have the highest COVID infection levels

The Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) programme was commissioned by the Department of Health, to officially track how COVID-19 is spreading.

At this moment, over 127,000 individuals in the UK are dead due to the virus. There have been 4.37 million cases so far.

COVID rates down by 60%

In comparison to the last data drop in February, the observations for March show that the rate of COVID prevalence is down by 60%. Scientists connect this drop to social distancing measures and the ongoing vaccination process.

The team further found that infections are leading to fewer hospitalisations and deaths, which suggests that the vaccine is working.

However, primary school children aged 5-12 are now the group with the highest COVID infection level, at 0.41%. School re-openings are thought to be the reason why children have become the most infected group.

The lowest rate of COVID infection is now in those aged 65 and above, at 0.09%.

‘Keep sticking to the rules’

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the REACT programme from Imperial’s School of Public Health, commented: “We have seen a gratifying fall in infections since our last survey in February, with infections dropping by around 60% overall. This is hugely encouraging and shows we’re headed in the right direction.

“However, in our most recent data there has been a flattening off in the infection rate with an R number now around one. This shows that we need to continue to approach the situation with caution and keep sticking to the rules.”

Is the R dropping?

While the R has been dropping dramatically, it is currently at a plateau. The third wave that exists in the EU is currently not in the UK – but the team warn that the R remains at 1.0. This means that the rate of infection is a delicate balance right now, which will fluctuate as the UK begins a long-anticipated re-opening of society.

In the last data drop, vaccine hesitancy was strongest in London.


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