More than eight in 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus in England had no symptoms at the time of illness, study finds


More than eight in 10 people who tested positive for the coronavirus in England had no symptoms of the disease at the time, the government’s latest monthly study revealed today.

The research, conducted by Imperial College London, its sister NHS Trust and Ipsos MORI, found that infection rates fell between June 19 and July 8, but there was an “increase in the intensity of infection in London and near London ”.

The REACT-1 study is the largest in the country, with nearly 160,000 people agreeing to undertake a random nasal and throat test sent to them at home, to check for the presence of antigens showing the presence of Covid- 19.

A total of 123 positive samples were found from 159,199 tests, representing a rate of 0.077%. That figure is down from 0.13% in May, when 120,620 tests detected 159 cases.

But 81% of positive tests in the last period were in people who had not reported any symptoms, such as a new continuous cough, high temperature, or change in taste or smell, either on the day of the test or on the day of the test. previous week.

This compares to 69% of asymptomatic cases during the first period of the study, May 1 to June 1.

In London, the latest prevalence rate was 0.15%, with 23 positive tests from 15,750 samples.

The absence of symptoms is of concern because it means people will have the ability to spread the virus without realizing that they are infectious. The report states that asymptomatic people are “a potential source of continued transmission.”

However, they may have developed symptoms afterwards. The swab test did not show how infectious they were.

The second report looked at a time when the lockdown was made easier, with more interactions outside the home and non-essential stores reopening.

The study says the virus’s prevalence halved every eight to nine days during this time, with an overall reproduction number of 0.58, down from 0.57 in May.

At any point in the second study period, it is estimated that there were 39,000 people in England with Covid-19, up from 74,000 in May.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said research has shown that “we have been able to keep infection rates low because some restrictions have been lifted.”

The first study raised concerns about higher infection rates among 18-24 year olds. The second study found a five-fold decrease in infection rates in this group, but said people of BAME origin were more likely to test positive.

Initial concerns about higher infection rates among health and social service workers went undetected for a second month, suggesting that measures to reduce the transmission of the virus in hospitals and clinics. nursing homes were functioning.


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