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Covid-19: Infections in England fall by two thirds since January

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 18 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n491

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  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

A “strong decline” has been seen in the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in England among the general population five to six weeks into lockdown, show the latest data from the Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (React-1) study.1

Covid-19 infections in England fell by two thirds from 1.57% in early January to 0.51% in early to mid-February, in the ninth round of the study carried out by Imperial College London. Prevalence remains high, however, with around 1 in 196 people testing positive—similar to late September 2020. The researchers estimate that the national R number for England is 0.72 and that infections are halving every 15 days.

The prevalence of infection has dropped across all ages at a similar rate, which the researchers say …

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