The REACT-1 study, led by Imperial College London, is the latest to find that more children are becoming infected with Covid-19 since schools reopened in early September.
The number of infections in the UK is currently much higher than in other Western European countries, with more than 30,000 new cases reported every day this month, but despite a high infection rate among children, England has recovered from summer levels after the return of schools. Haven’t risen up.
The study found that between September 9-27, the prevalence among 13 to 17-year-olds was 2.55 per cent, compared to 2.32 per cent among children aged 5 to 12.
Prevalence estimates for each adult age group were less than 1 percent.
The study found that the epidemic was increasing among people under the age of 17, with an estimated fertility “R” number of 1.18. An R number above 1 means exponential growth, while a number below 1 means the epidemic is shrinking.
Epidemiology was estimated to shrink in 18–54-year-olds, with an R number of 0.81, while the epidemic was broadly stable in those over 55.
While nearly 90 percent of those over 18 have received a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, children’s vaccination rates are very low, and widespread vaccination of those aged 12-15 began only last month.
“The prevalence among school-age children was high and rising during September,” Paul Elliott, who led the study, told reporters.
“Increasing vaccination in school-aged children, and from unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adults will help reduce the chance of transmission.”
The study aims to give an estimate of infection numbers that are unaffected by trends in people coming forward to be tested for Covid symptoms.
Of the 100,527 valid swabs submitted, there was an overall prevalence of 0.83 per cent, up from the 0.63 per cent recorded by the study in July, before cases peaked at the end of that month.