Covid: React study finds latest wave ‘may have peaked’ among young people
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- coronavirus pandemic
Scientists in the aftermath of the outbreak said there were signs that the latest wave of coronavirus infections could peak in children and young adults.
But in England, rates continue to rise in older age groups most at risk of serious illness.
Overall infections in March reached the highest level recorded in the pandemic, according to Imperial College’s React research.
The peak is thought to be caused by the more transmissible BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.
Based on swab tests of a random sample of 109,000 people between March 8 and March 31, an estimated 6.37% of people in England have contracted the virus, a sharp increase from 2.88% the previous month.
The figures show an “unprecedented” rise in household infections across all age groups and regions since February, when largely unimplemented Covid-19 restrictions ended in England.
But at the end of the study, the authors found that the infection appeared to peak in children and “stabilize” in adults between the ages of 18 and 54.
“We are sure [the rates] Professor Paul Elliott, head of the Department of Epidemiology at Imperial College London and director of the React project, said the younger cohort appeared to be declining – they couldn’t increase forever.
But he added that it was “concerning” that the virus continued to spread among people aged 55 and over, whose health is considered most vulnerable to severe Covid infection.
As of March 31, an estimated 8.31 percent of people over the age of 55 had tested positive, nearly 20 times the average prevalence recorded since the React survey began in May 2020, the data showed.
The Empire team said data from cellphones and other sources indicated an increase in social and mixed activity in recent weeks.
Professor Elliott said: “We also know that many older people received booster immunisations in October or November last year, so there may be fewer vaccines to prevent infection even without hospitalisation.”
Nearly 3,400 positive samples collected in March have been genetically sequenced in the laboratory to identify the pathogenic variant.
The BA.2 version of Omicron, which now dominates in the UK, accounts for about 90% of cases.
But the results also showed that five of the infections were caused by a new form of the virus, currently called Omicron XE.
This version is thought to be a mix or recombination of the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants, which can occur when patients are co-infected with both variants.
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), there are 637 cases of XE Confirmed in England until 22 March.
The World Health Organization said early tests suggested XE could be around 10% more contagious than BA.2, but the results warrant further investigation.
React research has randomly tested more than 100,000 people in England most months since the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020.
The data generated helped scientists quickly identify some important turning points in the pandemic, including the emergence in late 2020 of a virus known as the Alpha variant.
He is now giving his final report after the government decided to stop funding some research projects as part of its coexistence with Covid strategy.
Professor Elliott called the decision “disappointing” but said the UK was fortunate that a separate population-wide infection survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) would continue for the foreseeable future.
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article Covid: React study finds latest wave ‘may have peaked’ among young people first appeared in Zimo News.