Half of positive cases have not been identified in UK, Sage expert says
About half of positive coronavirus cases in the UK go unidentified, according to a pandemic expert.
Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said the cases meant attempts to control the virus were being done “with one hand behind the back.”
Mr Woolhouse is part of a SAGE subgroup and is a member of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Advisory Group.
He said the mass testing program which started in Liverpool was an attempt to tackle the problem.
Starting Friday, anyone in the city can be tested – repeatedly – for the coronavirus, whether or not they are showing symptoms.
Speaking as part of BBC Scotland’s Seven Days program, Professor Woolhouse said:
“The problem that the Liverpool testing pilot is trying to solve is that we still don’t find around half of the Covid cases in Scotland or the UK more generally.
“It’s a very high proportion. ”
He added: “It’s probably partly because a lot of them are asymptomatic or so mildly infected that they don’t recognize the symptoms, partly because people have symptoms but really don’t recognize them as Covid. – I heard a few cases of this last week – and also the possibility that some people have symptoms and actually ignore them, maybe because they don’t want to isolate themselves.
Whatever the reason, these cases missed 50% of cases – it’s like trying to control the outbreak with a hand tied behind your back. We cannot do this effectively if these cases are not also self-isolated and their contacts traced. to make it much more difficult.
“Liverpool’s idea is to try and find these cases and hopefully… persuade them to self-isolate. “