UK Covid ‘unprecedented’ levels in January: Hardest hit group revealed

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Between January 5 and 20 this year, one in 23 people in England was infected with Covid, the highest figure since the start of the pandemic, according to figures from Imperial College London.

A woman wearing a mask walks in London
The data suggests that the peak of the wave was around January 5.

There were unprecedented levels of coronavirus infection in England this month with Omicron almost completely replacing Delta, data suggests.

The highest prevalence was observed in primary school children with 7.81%, while in general it was 4.41% between January 5 and 20 of this year.

It means that during this period one in 23 people in England was infected with Covid.

This is the highest figure since the start of the Imperial College London React-1 study, which has been running since May 2020.

It is also more than three times higher than the prevalence in the previous round of the study, which looked from November 23 to December 14.

Overall, the data suggests the wave peaked around January 5, with cases leveling off in the middle of the month.

People get vaccinated at the Stow Health vaccination center in Westminster
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The data also indicates that while prevalence was declining among adults in January, it was increasing among children.

Meanwhile, of the 3,582 people who said they had or had not previously had Covid, two-thirds (64.6%) reported a past infection.

However, the researchers urged caution, saying it is unknown when those past infections were and that PCR tests can return positive results for more than 90 days after diagnosis.

Clinical staff attend to a patient in the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.
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The rise in prevalence corresponds with Omicron becoming the dominant variant in England, the researchers added.

Over the study period, prevalence increased in all regions compared to the previous report, with the highest figure recorded in the North East at 6.85%, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber at 5.58%.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the React program at the Imperial School of Public Health, said: “There is good news in our data in that infections declined rapidly during January, but are still extremely high and may have recently have stagnated at a very high level. high prevalence.

“Of particular concern is that there is a rapid rise in prevalence among children now that they mingle more after the start of the school term and, compared to December, the prevalence in those aged 65 and over has risen between seven and 12 times, which can lead to an increase in hospitalizations.

“It is therefore vital that we continue to closely monitor the situation to understand the impact of the Omicron variant, which now makes up nearly all infections in the country.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It is reassuring to see covid-19 infections starting to decline across the country as we return to Plan A.

“Covid-19 rates remain high, so as we learn to live with the virus, it’s vital that we remain vigilant: wash your hands, get fresh air, get tested, and if you haven’t already done, recover. now.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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