The interim findings from the eighth report of REACT, one of the country’s largest studies into COVID-19 infections in England, have been published today by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI.
Over 142,900 volunteers were tested in England between 6 and 15 of January to examine the levels of infection in the general population. The findings show infections in England have plateaued at the highest level recorded by a REACT study, with suggestions of a potential uptick. The report does not yet reflect the impact of national lockdown.
Prevalence between 6 and 15 January was highest in London, with 1 in 36 people infected – more than double compared to the previous REACT report in early December. Infections had also more than doubled in the South East, East of England and West Midlands compared to the previous REACT report in early December.
The main findings from the eighth REACT study show:
- national prevalence increased by 50% from 0.91% in early December to 1.58%, or 158 per 10,000 infected;
- national R was estimated at 1.04;
- regional prevalence was highest in London where it had more than doubled from 1.21% to 2.8%. It had also more than doubled in the South East (0.75% to 1.68%); East of England (0.59% to 1.74%); and West Midlands (0.71% to 1.76%). It increased in the South West (0.53% to 0.94%) and North West (0.92% to 1.41%). There was a decrease in Yorkshire and The Humber (1.39% to 0.84%). It was stable in the East Midlands (1.04% to 1.16%) and North East (1.26% to 1.18%);
- prevalence increased nationally in all adult age groups and was highest in 18 to 24 year olds at 2.51%. Prevalence in the over 65s more than doubled from 0.41% to 0.94%;
- large household size, living in a deprived neighbourhood, and areas with higher numbers of black and Asian ethnicity individuals were associated with increased prevalence;
- healthcare and care home workers, and other key workers were more likely to test positive compared to other workers; and
- the report contains mobility data for the first time showing peoples’ movement decreased at the end of December and increased at the start of January and helps explain change in prevalence.