According to a mass testing study, more people infected with Covid last month in England than at any time this year. 

REACT-1 data — taken from one of the largest surveillance projects in England — show around 1.72 per cent of people (one in 58) across the country had the virus on any given day in October. 

It was higher than 0.83 percent in the previous month. This was the highest point of any point sampled.

The Imperial College London researchers failed to collect data during the second wave, which occurred at the end of December and the beginning of January.

Experts warned that the numbers, which were based on random testing of tens to thousands of people, showed that the pandemic is far from over. They also indicate that there is still a serious threat for health and well-being.

Children aged 5-17 years old were infected the fastest. Nearly six percent of them were infected at one time during the month. People 65 and older were twice as infected.

In eight of nine areas, outbreaks were reported. The highest rates were found in the South West, where there was a quadruple increase in prevalence. 

The figures come despite official figures showing Covid cases have been falling week-on-week every day for eleven days barring Monday — a blip that was down to Wales not publishing any infection numbers the previous week.

Yesterday’s positive coronavirus test results by the Department of Health were 41,299, a six-percent decrease from Wednesday’s 43,941.

More people were infected with Covid in England last month than at any point this year, according to REACT-1 data ¿ taken from one of the largest Covid studies in the country. It was up from just 0.83 per cent the previous month and was the highest point in any point sampled by the study, which did not collect data during the height of the pandemic during the end of December and start of January

More people were infected with Covid in England last month than at any point this year, according to REACT-1 data — taken from one of the largest Covid studies in the country. It was higher than 0.83 percent in the previous month. This was also the highest point in any of the points sampled by the study. The study did not collect data at the peak of the pandemic, which occurred between December and January.

Infections grew most quickly in children aged five to 17, with nearly six per cent in the age group infected during the month, and doubled in people aged 65 and over

Children aged 5-17 years old were most at risk. Infections rose quickly in this age group, with almost six percent of those infected in the month. The rate doubled for people 65 years and older.

And they grew in eight out of nine regions, with the highest rates found in the South West, which increased fourfold from 0.59 per cent to 2.18 per cent in a month

They grew in eight of the nine regions, with the highest growth rates found in South West. This region saw a fourfold increase in their growth rate, from 0.59 percent to 2.18% in a month.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, a top Covid scientist, shared a series of tweets in which he criticised the Government for not having masks and Plan B days prior to quitting SAGE 

After condemning England’s laissez faire response to the third Covid wave, the eminent scientist quit SAGE and shared a series critical tweets about Government that were posted just before his resignation.

Sir Jeremy Farrar liked a post in which ministers were accused of seeing old people as expensible’. This was around the time he resigned from No10’s scientific advisory board at the end October.

The distinguished epidemiologist supported a tweet on the same day slamming Tory MPs not wearing masks in Commons. It also added: “Seriously no surprise our stats are so horrible.”  

In the middle of October, Sir Jeremy liked a sarcastic post about rising Covid variants in Britain which read: ‘How could this happen in the face of mask wearing, ventilation, vaccine passports, preventing infection in school children… Oh.

In what appeared to have been a thinly-veiled jibe about the lack of social restrictions in England he shared a story with the caption: ‘Honeybees utilize social distancing whenever mites threaten the hives’ 

Dr Jenny Harries is the chief executive of UK Health Security Agency. She stated that, although deaths and hospitalisations have fallen, the findings are a powerful reminder of the danger to health and well-being of the pandemic. 

“These new data strongly reinforce the need for all age groups to be vaccinated.

This is especially important for older adults whose immunity may be declining due to the fact that their jabs have been given for several months. 

“I urge everyone who is eligible to receive a third dose or booster shot to get in touch immediately.” 

The REACT-1 study randomly sampled more than 67,000 volunteers in the general population from October 19 to 29.

Researchers believe that the increase in infections among children between 5 and 12 years old, and 13 to 17 years old, is due to infection.

The prevalence in the younger age group was 5.85%, while it was 5.75% in the older bracket.

According to the study, the next highest prevalence was found in ‘parent-aged adults’ between 35 and 54.

Regionally, the South West was the most prevalent, with researchers stating that this might be due to widespread reports of people who had positive lateral flow tests, then later went on to test negative with RTPCR tests.

The paper continues: “Reports specifically linked false negative RTPCR results to a Covid-19 laboratory in Wolverhampton that received many samples form South West,” the paper states.

Mid-October saw the suspension of testing operations by NHS Test and Trace provided by Immensa Health Clinic Ltd in its laboratory at Wolverhampton.

An estimated 43,000 people could have received negative PCR Covid test results that were not positive, which could have led to them spreading the infection to others.

Paul Elliott, director, React programme, Imperial College London told a press conference: ‘We do mention it in the paper as an explanation why we’re see that cluster of cases at the South West.

“Obviously, we don’t know, but it’s a plausible hypothesis.” 

The study also revealed that there was a higher incidence of the virus in those who had been in direct contact with a confirmed Covid patient, those who lived within larger households and those with more children.

Data suggests that Covid vaccines are not being used as quickly as expected in England, where 12- to 15-year olds are eligible.

Professor Elliott stated, “This coincides with half term. We know that round six saw a very similar pattern to last year. Rates dropped over the half-term period.

“And then, actually they rebounded again and went up again. So I think it will be very important to watch what happens over the next week and 10 days.

Dr Stephen Griffin is an associate professor in Medicine at the University of Leeds. He said that this latest analysis by REACT team showed the highest prevalence of SARS/CoV2 in the UK. 

“This is a predominant problem among the under-18s. I agree wholeheartedly with the conclusion of the manuscript. Vaccination in over-12s should be a priority to prevent transmission, disruption to schools, and the incidence of severe diseases among those infected. 

“It seems absurd to not implement mitigations in schools during the interim period. This is something that should not be ignored, regardless of how desperate we all want to return normality. The bitter irony is that it will make normal even more difficult to regain over the long-term. 

‘We must safeguard young people from this disease, I urge MHRA/JCVI priority in their assessment of the vaccine to be given to children under 12.’