COVID falls not definitive scientist warns

A leading scientist has cautioned the UK’s falling COVID infection numbers need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

As countries across the world struggling with rising number the UK saw infection numbers fall for the seventh day in a row with some saying that it signified that the country may be over the worst of the third wave following the decision to further relax its social distancing rules.

However, Prof Lawrence Young, Virologist and Professor of Molecular Oncology, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, warned that while the drop in positive tests was a plus there may well be a number of reasons for the fall.

“While this drop in case number is good news, it has come as a bit of a surprise,” he said. “On the plus side there is no question that the warm weather has contributed – more mixing outdoors and the virus doesn’t like the sun – as has the increasing number of folk who are fully vaccinated.

“But are these case numbers an accurate reflection of infection levels in the community?”

Lawrence added the move to the next level of the relaxation of some regulations had come following the end of the UK academic year which likely had an impact on the figures.

“The end of term at school means that children are not now undergoing routine twice weekly lateral flow testing and therefore infections in younger people are not being recorded to the same extent,” he cautioned. “There is also a drop (estimated to be at least 10%) in the number of people taking covid tests.

“This could be due to folk not wanting to test positive as it would mean having to isolate and cancelling their summer holiday, missing an important occasion (e.g. a wedding celebration) or indeed having to stay home from work.

“It will be interesting to see what happens to case numbers over the next week to 10 days as we start to see the impact of the lifting of restrictions on the 19 July and the new daily testing pilot scheme for key workers kicks in.”

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