Two-thirds of people recently infected with the Omicron variant say they had already had COVID-19 previously, new research has found.
The findings come from a large, continuing study called React, which is swab-testing thousands of volunteers in England. The latest research, for the first two weeks of 2022 are based on about 100,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests posted to volunteers and then returned. About 4000 were positive, the highest rate seen since the pandemic began. When a selection of them were sequenced to check what type of the virus was responsible, virtually all were Omicron.
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There is rapidly increasing prevalence among children now they are mixing more following the start of the school term and, compared with December, prevalence in older people, aged 65 plus, has increased... which may lead to increased hospitalisations,’ said React programme director Professor Paul Elliott from Imperial College London.
‘It's therefore vital that we continue to monitor the situation closely.’
Currently, daily Covid case figures reported by the government, which reflect the number of infections picked up by people coming forward for testing, do not include reinfections for all countries of the UK. This will change on 31 January, when anyone who has a second positive test if it has occurred 90 days after the first one will be added in to the official UK figures.
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‘It's reassuring to see Covid-19 infections beginning to slow across the country, as we move back to Plan A,’ said Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
‘Rates are still high, so as we learn to live with the virus it is vital we continue to be vigilant - wash your hands, let in fresh air, get tested and, if you haven't already, get boosted.’