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‘Alarming’ study suggest 45,000 people are catching COVID every day in England

45,000 people are catching COVID every day in England, an 'alarming' study has reported, despite mass movements still casting skepticism on the scale of the virus (Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
45,000 people are catching COVID every day in England, an ‘alarming’ study has reported, despite mass movements still casting skepticism on the scale of the virus (Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The largest home testing study for coronavirus suggests that new infections have reached 45,000 every day in England.

An analysis of swab tests taken by 175,000 people between 18 September and 5 October found that one in every 170 tests was returning a positive result.

The research, led by Imperial College London, reports that 0.60% of the population, or 60 per 10,000, had the SARS-CoV-2 virus, compared to 0.13% in the previous round of testing.

Professor Paul Elliott, from the School of Public Health, and director of the REACT programme which conducted the research, said: “Our robust findings paint a concerning picture of the growing epidemic across England. While certain areas are worse affected, if left unabated then infection trends will follow nation-wide and could lead to high levels of unnecessary death and illness from the disease.”

On 21 September two of Boris Johnson’s top advisers warned the UK could see 49,000 new cases of coronavirus by mid-October unless action was taken to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left) and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (right) warned in September that the UK was at a "critical point" in the pandemic (REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)
Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left) and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (right) warned in September that the UK was at a “critical point” in the pandemic (REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said such a scenario could see 200 daily deaths by November as hospitalisation figures increase, while England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said too little action risked the virus becoming “out of control”.

The pair said the UK was at a “critical point” in the pandemic.

Vallance told a Downing Street briefing: “At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.

“If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated and this grows doubling every seven days… if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.

“50,000 cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November, say, to 200-plus deaths per day

“The challenge therefore is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days.”

Watch: What is long COVID?

The REACT-5 research suggesting 45,000 cases per day came as the Office for National Statistics confirmed a huge leap in case numbers.

ONS figures, published Friday, suggested there were 224,400 people with COVID-19 between between 25 September and 1 October, the latest dates for which data is available.

This was nearly double the 116,600 people with COVID the week before, despite lockdown measures and the stark warnings from Valance and Whitty.

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, and University of Oxford, said: “The virus has not changed.

“The ONS survey is grim reading and in conjunction with the REACT-5 study alarming. The two surveys report rather different absolute numbers,

As Trump Seeks to Project Strength, Doctors Disclose Alarming Episodes

In addition to the steroids, Mr. Trump has received an experimental antibody cocktail and is in the midst of a five-day course of remdesivir, an antiviral drug. The White House has a medical unit capable of responding to a president’s health troubles but not with the sophisticated equipment available at Walter Reed.

Mr. Trump, who historically hates hospitals and anything related to illness, has been hankering to get released, according to two people close to him, and some aides expressed fear that he would pressure Dr. Conley into releasing him by claiming to feel better than he actually does. But advisers were also troubled by the doctors’ prediction that they might release him on Monday because if they do not, it would signal that the president is not doing as well as indicated. They also worried that a premature return could lead to a second trip to the hospital if his condition worsens.

Mr. Trump was said to be working from his hospital suite, including receiving a briefing via secure video conference from Robert C. O’Brien, his national security adviser, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The president has also been watching lots of television, even more than usual, and has been exasperated by coverage of Saturday’s calamitous handling of his medical information by Dr. Conley and Mr. Meadows, as well as speculation about him transferring powers to Vice President Mike Pence.

He was also angry that no one was on television defending him, as he often is when he cannot inject his own views into news media coverage, aides said. As a result, Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, was expected to appear on several television shows, as was Corey Lewandowski, who was Mr. Trump’s first campaign manager in the 2016 race.

The president was not the only one angry over the weekend. So were many people who work for him at the White House, frustrated at how little information they had received about the health concerns in their workplace. In addition to Mr. Trump, a number of others who work or visit the building regularly have tested positive, including Melania Trump; Hope Hicks, a senior adviser to the president; Nicholas Luna, the director of Oval Office operations; Bill Stepien, the campaign manager; Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee; and Kellyanne Conway, the president’s former counselor.

Two members of the White House residence staff tested positive for the virus a few weeks ago, two people briefed on their cases said, although they were said not to come in close contact with the president or the first lady. Nonetheless, the presence of the virus in the first couple’s personal quarters once again raised questions not just about what they have been exposed to, but whom they have made vulnerable with lax mask policies around the White House.

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