Low Adherence to Isolation Rules
Only 42.5% of people stuck to isolation rules if they had COVID-19 symptoms, according to King’s College London and Public Health England research published in The BMJ.
The findings come from 74,697 online survey responses over 11 months of the pandemic.
- Only 51.5% of people could identify the main symptoms of COVID-19
- Only 18% of those with symptoms requested a test
The authors acknowledge that adherence did improve over time but write: “With such low rates for symptom recognition, testing, and full self-isolation, the effectiveness of the current form of the UK’s test, trace, and isolate system is limited.”
They conclude: “Practical support and financial reimbursement are likely to improve adherence. Targeting messaging and policies to men, younger age groups, and key workers might also be necessary.”
The Department for Health and Social Care said Test and Trace has led to “countless lives” saved and the latest ONS figures found that when people are asked to self-isolate, the “overwhelming majority” do.
‘Varied’ Infection Rates
Latest Test and Trace data for England show 36,606 people tested positive in the week to 24 March 2021, that’s down 2% on the previous week. Of those transferred for contact tracing, 8.2% were not reached and a further 0.4% had no communication details provided.
Public Health England surveillance data show overall case rates decreased slightly but slight increases were seen in the 10 to 19-year age group in the past 3 weeks, mostly among children of younger secondary age after schools reopened.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey data to 27 March estimate that:
- 1 in 370 people in England had COVID-19
- 1 in 570 people in Wales had COVID-19
- 1 in 320 people in Scotland had COVID-19
- 1 in 220 people in Northern Ireland had COVID-19
Sarah Crofts from ONS said: “The picture of infection rates across the UK is varied. Our latest data show a decrease in both England and Scotland, an uncertain picture in Wales and early signs of an increase in Northern Ireland.”
She added: “Despite the welcome fall in infections and rise in antibody levels since the start of 2021, infection rates across the UK remain similar to those of last September.”
Positive Over-80s Jab Data
Having both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine resulted in a strong antibody response in 98% of people aged 80 or over 2 weeks after the second jab.