According to interim findings from the largest coronavirus study in England shows that the virus infected around one in 200.
The study by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori show infections increased to 1.7 before falling to around 1.1 this month.
Efforts to control the virus could now be working which reinforces the need for protective measures, said the director of the programme.
Between 18 to 26 September over 80,000 volunteers were tested, which was the country’s largest study looking into coronavirus.
The interim study which was published on Thursday showed that 55 people per 10,000 tested positive for the virus.
In the previous study between 24 August and 7 September, this showed an increase on 13 people per 10,000.
This could imply that 411,000 people in England have coronavirus, which means more than one in 200 were infected with the virus at any one time.
People aged between 18 and 24-years old were among the highest with the virus, with one in 100 infected.
People aged over 65-years old saw infections increase seven-fold from 0.04% to 0.29%, compared to the last report.
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial from the School of Public Health said, “While our latest findings show some early evidence that the growth of new cases may have slowed, suggesting efforts to control the infection are working, the prevalence of infection is the highest that we have recorded to date.
“This reinforces the need for protective measures to limit the spread of the disease and the public’s adherence to these, which will be vital to minimise further significant illness and loss of life from Covid-19.”
Kelly Beaver, managing director of public affairs at Ipsos Mori, said: “The continuing support of the public by taking part in the study is something we remain immensely grateful for.
“The number of participants gives this study the robustness and thoroughness which marks it out as world leading.”
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