Is the virus retreating?

Is the virus retreating?

Imperial College’s React study was in the news again this morning. The latest instalment swabbed 167,642 people between 6 and 22 January and found that 2,282 of them tested positive. A weighted average suggested that 1.57 per cent of the population had the virus between those dates. The study concluded: ‘Prevalence remained high throughout, but with the suggestion of a decline at the end of the study period’. It led to reports this morning that the latest wave of the epidemic is declining only very slowly.

The React study, however, seems to be increasingly out of line with government data on new infections, as picked up through the test and trace system. On 6 January, the seven day average of new infections across the UK stood at 594.6 per 100,000. By 22 January it had fallen to 358.7 per 100,000 — a drop of 39.7 per cent.