The number of novel coronavirus infections in England has fallen by two-thirds in a month, a new study has revealed, adding, however, that the virus is now spreading rapidly among young people.
The study, conducted by Imperial College London, has shown that despite the discovery and emergence of various mutations, the UK’s third lockdown has had a significant impact in reducing the spread of the virus.
However, rates of transmission remain high among young people, with hospitals recording an increased admission rate when compared to the outbreak’s peak in April last year.
“These latest findings demonstrate the impact lockdown restrictions are having on reducing infections across the country,” a government statement said on Thursday.
“Infections still remain high with more people in hospital than at the peak last April and hospital admissions for COVID-19 are at around 1,600 a day. It is vital everyone continues to play their part by staying at home and getting vaccinated when invited,” it added.
The study found that infection rates fell from 0.93% to 0.3% among people aged over 65. However, the highest prevalence of the virus is among people aged 18 to 24, which stands at 0.89%, along with five-to-12 year-olds at 0.86%.
On Thursday, 12,057 people had tested coronavirus positive, with the case count over the past week totaling 84,589. This represents a 20.3% decrease compared to the last seven days.
Meanwhile, 454 people died on Thursday within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, making for 4,082 fatalities between Feb. 12 and 18 — a 26.9% drop in comparison to the previous week.
The total number of people who have tested positive for the virus stands at 4,083,242, including 129,498 who have died as a result of the coronavirus.
By the end of Feb. 18, health professionals had administered the first dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus to 16,423,082 people, with 573,724 receiving the second so far. Vaccines are currently administered in two doses 21 days apart.
The latest R range for the UK stands at 0.7-0.9, with the current growth rate at minus 5% to minus 2% per day. This figure is used to rate the virus’s ability to spread, with R being the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to on average.