UK: Coronavirus is No Longer at Epidemic Levels Claim Oxford University Experts

The Chinese coronavirus is no longer at epidemic levels in the United Kingdom as the rate of community transmission has fallen, a team of Oxford University experts claim.

A study conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in conjunction with Oxford University, Manchester University, and Public Health England (PHE), found that an estimated 136,000 people — 0.24 per cent of adults — are currently infected with the virus.

A surveillance rate of over 40 infected people per 10,000 is required for a disease to be declared an epidemic. The figures from the ONS place the current rate at 24 in 10,000, while a separate study from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) found that the rate could be as low as 3 in 10,000.

Professor Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said that the low numbers from the RCGP may be attributable to asymptomatic people not getting tested, but added that the overall number of respiratory infections has still dropped dramatically.

“The current community transmission of Covid is low, and not at epidemic levels,” the professors said per The Telegraph, adding: “Rates of upper respiratory tract infections and lower respiratory tract infections have fallen significantly since March when social distancing measures were introduced.”

“The observed reductions in upper respiratory tract infections and lower respiratory tract infections suggest that most of the effect on rates of transmission occurred through the encouragement of social distancing,” the experts said, but went on to note that “some of this fall would happen naturally at this time of year with the onset of spring.”

So far the team at Oxford and the ONS have taken samples from 7,087 people across the country, yet it plans on testing some 300,000 people over the course of the next year.

Professor Heneghan said that the current rate of infection “suggests that, at peak, we had loads more cases than we realised,” meaning that the virus is likely less deadly than initially believed.

At the outset of the crisis, the government’s coronavirus predictions claimed that up to 550,000 people could lose their lives to the Chinese virus.  This was based on modelling done by Professor Neil Ferguson, who has since resigned from his government post in disgrace, after breaking the very lockdown rules he advocated for in order to receive visits from his married left-wing activist lover.

The projections by Ferguson, which have come under increased scrutiny, spurred the British government to introduce sweeping emergency powers under the Coronavirus Act to prevent such a doomsday scenario.

On Monday, the government announced what it is calling a “cautious roadmap” for easing the national lockdown restrictions that were set in place in March, yet many restrictions will be left in place for the foreseeable future.

The government said that the country “cannot afford to make drastic changes”, warning that should the restrictions be fully lifted it would “lead to a resurgence of the virus and a second wave that could be larger than the first”.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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