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Study suggests 6% of Britons have had coronavirus

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Thursday 13 Aug 2020

Study suggests 6% of Britons have had coronavirus

(Sharecast News) - Around 3.4m people in England, or 6% of the population, may have had coronavirus, according to a study by Imperial College.
The results from the study, known as React-2, are based on home finger-prick antibody test results from 100,000 participants across the 314 local authorities in England.

"It gives us the most robust, cross-sectional estimate of the number of people who have been infected during the first wave of the pandemic," said Professor Graham Cooke, a co-author of the research from Imperial College. "Because we have done it in scale we can have more confidence about the differences between different groups," he added.

"There is no evidence of anything near high-enough levels of herd immunity for this to be helpful at a population level and that it is likely there is a high proportion of susceptible people out there still that need to be protected."

The findings suggest a much higher level of cases than the tally reported by Johns Hopkins University in the US, which listed the country's case numbers at 315,546 as of Thursday morning.

The results show how coronavirus has affected regions differently, having more impact in large cities. While 13% of people in London had antibodies, this was the case for less than 3% of people in the south west.

The results from the antibody testing also found that infections were most common among people from the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities that have been working in essential sectors.

"That probably goes a long way to explain some of the differences in mortality that we have seen between black, Asian and white populations," said Cooke. "From what we can see, it is the social-demographic factors that make the greatest difference.

The study also suggests that 32% of people who had Covid-19 had no symptoms of the disease.

Cooke said the team plans to do another round of the study in mid-September on 200,000 people, to coincide with the return of schools.

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