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UK lockdown caused infection ‘R’ rate to drop as low as 0.57, according to a new study

Published on 15/07/20 at 11:36am
Photo by Alex Borland

A new study showed that the coronavirus infection rate hit its lowest point one month before lockdown restrictions were lifted.

A study conducted by the Imperial College London, tracked the prevalence of the virus during May and reported that the infection rate halved every eight to nine days during this month. This placed the overall reproduction rate to 0.57, which is lower than previously reported. This means for every infected person, they would transmit the virus to 0.57 other people.

Matt Hancock, the British Health Secretary, said: “This shows the impact our national lockdown efforts have had and demonstrates that we have taken the right actions at the right time. As a country we have made great strides towards beating this virus but we mustn’t take our foot off the pedal, and such studies will be vital as we continue to fight this virus.”

The report also shows the makeup of those who were infected with coronavirus. It found that those aged 18 to 24 were more likely to test positive compared to other groups. Asian participants in the study were more likely to test positive than whites, while health and home care workers were most likely to be infected, at 7.7 times more likely to contract the virus compared to non-key workers.

A previous study in June found that COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe saved 3.1 million lives. In the UK specifically, the researchers believe the lockdown reduce its R number from 3.8 to 0.63, although this has now increased in many parts of the country since lockdown measures were relaxed.

Conor Kavanagh

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