LONDON (Reuters) – The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in the UK fell sharply in March, a closely monitored study said on Thursday, but in a warning it also showed that the decline in infections had slowed.
The REACT study conducted by Imperial College London showed that infections decreased by approx. 60% from the last survey in February, when only 1 in 500 people became infected.
However, the study showed that the decline rate began to plateau in mid-March. Schools reopened on March 8, and COVID-1
“We have seen a welcome drop in infections since our last study in February … This is hugely encouraging and shows that we are heading in the right direction,” said Paul Elliott, Director of the REACT Program.
“In our latest data, however, there has been a flattening of the infection rate with an R-number (reproduction) now around one. This shows that we must continue to approach the situation with caution and continue to abide by the rules. ”
Overall, national prevalence in the UK fell from 0.49% in February to 0.20% in March.
The REACT study is one of the largest COVID-19 studies of its kind in the UK with over 140,000 volunteers tested in the UK between March 11 and March 30 in the final round.
The study found that the link between infections and deaths was divergent, possibly an effect of the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination program, which has seen over 31 million people receive a first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
“These findings are promising and illustrate the significant impact that lockdown combined with our phenomenal vaccination program has on the prevalence of this terrible virus,” said Health Minister Matt Hancock.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Jonathan Oatis