UK risks twice-as-big second COVID wave without better testing, study finds – Reuters

Scientists from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine designed the effect of resuming schools either on a full- or part-time basis, thus allowing parents to go back to work, on the possible spread of the infection.
They concluded a 2nd wave might be avoided if 75% of those with symptoms were discovered and evaluated and 68% of their contacts were traced, or if 87% of individuals with symptoms were found and 40% of their contacts checked.
” However, we also anticipate that in the lack of adequately broad test– trace– isolate coverage, reopening of schools integrated with accompanied resuming of society across all scenarios may induce a second COVID-19 wave,” said the study, released in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
” Our modelling results recommend that complete school resuming in September 2020 without an effective test-trace-isolate method would lead to R increasing above 1 and a resulting 2nd wave of infections that would peak in December 2020 and be 2.0-2 · 3 times the size of the original COVID-19 wave.”
The lead author of the research study, Jasmina Panovska-Griffiths, said the test-and-trace system in England was presently reaching just about 50% of contacts of all those checking positive for COVID-19.
Panovska-Griffiths, lecturer in mathematical modelling at University College London, informed BBC radio that the worst circumstances might still be avoided.
” Importantly, what we find is that it is possible to avoid a 2nd epidemic wave if adequate people with symptomatic infections can be detected. Their contacts can then be traced and efficiently separated,” she said.
” We are the very first study that has actually measured this, how much this requires to be for the UK.”
Schools in Britain closed in March during the nationwide lockdown, other than for the children of key employees, and resumed for a little number of pupils in June.
However, the federal government states all pupils will go back to school throughout the United Kingdom by early September with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it is a nationwide concern.
” I think we all accept that test-and-trace is a programme which needs to continue to improve. There is total humbleness in government about that,” junior city government minister Simon Clarke informed BBC radio.
” We fully accept that we need to keep driving those numbers up,” he stated.
Reporting by Michael Holden and Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Nick Macfie

SUBMIT PHOTO: A view of a COVID-19 testing station manned by British military personnel inside Londons Hyde Park, Britain, May 8, 2020. REUTERS/ Alexander Smith

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain deals with a second wave of COVID-19 this winter two times as extensive as the preliminary outbreak if it resumes schools without a more reliable test-and-trace system in place, according to a research study released on Tuesday.