British scientists reported that the rate of emerging coronavirus infection quadrupled across England last month and even higher rates in places such as northwest England and London.
This came according to a large study launched by the government in which tens of thousands of people in the community were randomly tested. But the researchers also said the outbreak did not appear to be increasing dramatically at this time.
“There is some evidence of this slowing down,” said Paul Elliott, chief of the department of epidemiology at Imperial College London, who led the study. Elliott emphasized that some recent measures imposed in the UK, including a ban on gatherings of more than six people, may have helped slow the spread of Covid-19.
Elliott said almost 1 in 200 people across England had coronavirus, an increase of 1 in 800 people in early September.
He added, “We have to control the situation now so that we do not have an exceptional increase.”
Elliott and colleagues note that the spike in cases began in August when the UK government launched a month-long promotional campaign offering people big discounts for dining at restaurants.
The study also indicated that infection rates are increasing among all age groups in England, with the prevalence higher in ages ranging from 18 to 24 years. The scientists reported that blacks and people of Asian descent were more likely to contract COVID-19 than white people.