UK fights coronavirus “with one hand behind the back” as “half of cases are missed”


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 sits on a subgroup of SAGE and is a member of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Advisory Group.

He said the mass testing program that 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.

The mass testing program that started in Liverpool is an attempt to tackle the problem

Speaking as part of BBC Scotland’s Seven Days program, Professor Woolhouse said: ‘The problem that the pilot testing in Liverpool is trying to solve is that we still don’t find around half of the Covid cases in Scotland or the UK more generally.

“This is 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 ignore them, maybe because they don’t want to isolate themselves.

Whatever the reason, these cases missed 50% of the 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. “

Half of UK positive cases are missed

It comes as unions have warned exhausted NHS staff could quit en masse after the second wave of Covid-19.

Unions representing 1.3 million employees are today issuing a joint letter to the Prime Minister asking him to support those he has dubbed the “beating heart of the nation”.

The 14 healthcare worker unions are demanding a pledge to reward this year the heroes who fight to keep the NHS from being overwhelmed.

This comes on the day when inflation means many NHS workers, including porters and cleaners, are no longer receiving real wages.

The Living Wage Foundation is announcing today (Monday) its new rate – independently calculated based on what people need to live – of £ 9.50 an hour.

The low-wage bracket in the NHS is £ 18,005, or £ 9.21 an hour.

Unison, Unite and the Royal Colleges of Nursing and Midwifery say a pay rise is essential to avoid departures and encourage new hires.


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