ONS survey data out today- looking at the pandemic by age paints a heterogenous picture. We appear to be having two different pandemics- one accelerating among young children since schools re-opened, alongside declines in older age groups possibly due to vaccination/lockdown 🧵
Infection prevalence appears to have decreased slightly in England, level in Wales, with increases in Northern Ireland, and slight decrease in Scotland after increases the last few weeks.
Infection rates appear highest, and rising among primary school children, followed by secondary school children & 35-49 yr olds. While this is a general population, survey data, it seems consistent with what we're seeing in symptom-based case data from PHE as well (discuss later)
Looking at the modelled ONS age data from England together, we see increases in both age 2 to year 6 (dark blue line) and secondary school children (orange line). Very recent trends are less clear, as is always the case with ONS data, so need to be interpreted with caution.
Looking at ONS modelled data from Scotland shows sharp rises following partial opening of primaries on the 22nd - with early years and primaries with highest positivity followed by secondary school age groups and young adults. Declines in most older groups.
In primary school age - infection rates in Scotland have doubled since schools opened on the 22nd Feb- representing a significant rise in positivity. Once again, these are modelled estimates, so more recent curves are less reliable. Suggests primaries are driving transmission.
This was prior to easter break, so we may expect to see plateauing or declines the next release. Interestingly these rises appear to be roughly balanced out by declines in older age groups, which may be a result of vaccination/lockdown restrictions.
Symptom based testing shows cases rising in the primary and secondary school age groups (yellow and grey lines) in England with declines in other age groups, in line with school re-opening. Primary school data unlikely to be influenced by LFT testing -these groups are not tested.
Positivity remains highest in 0-4 yrs and 5-9 yrs where declines have plateaued. Positivity in older age groups may possibly be influenced by LFT testing, but unlikely to be the case with 0-9 yrs as LFT tests don't apply to these age groups.
Overall, it looks like a heterogeneous picture emerging, where cases are rising among school-age children, but declining in other age groups. Given vaccination of predominantly older age groups, it will be important to look more and more at age-stratified data across regions.
Given the recent ONS data out on long COVID, it's vitally important we focus on bringing transmission down across all groups, including those that haven't been vaccinated to minimise risk to them as vaccine roll-out continues.
This is also crucial given the many variants of concern and under investigation we currently have within the UK, many of which seem to be increasing in frequency within the community. Surge testing hasn't been sufficient to contain these.

We need urgent mitigations in place in schools to prevent the pandemic accelerating further in children, and spreading to other age groups - with all its impacts, including long COVID, and the potential for virus adaptation.

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More from @dgurdasani1

2 Apr
I'm hearing worrying rhetoric from scientists suggesting that children don't suffer from 'severe illness' so may not need vaccination. Let's look at the evidence around this. How severe in SARS-CoV-2 in children, and what are the impacts of transmission occurring among children?
We've heard repeatedly, even from scientists that children are less susceptible to infection or transmission- a narrative that seems to suggest children are less likely to get infected. We know now that this is simply not the case.
Indeed, as this point in time, young children have highest positivity rates in England & Scotland (shown below), with rises having occurred soon after school re-openings in both regions. We also know that infection rates were highest in primary & secondary age groups in December. ImageImageImage
Read 20 tweets
1 Apr
Very concerning piece by @NafeezAhmed at @BylineTimes suggesting that @educationgovuk review of face-covering policies in schools is “skewing evidence” to justify “dumping face-covering requirements and mitigations rather than strengthening them”.

bylinetimes.com/2021/04/01/sec…
This is truly bizarre given current DfE policy is well behind evidence on aerosol transmission, and behind most European, and other countries, where mask use is recommended in primaries & secondaries irrespective of distancing.
Also shocking, given data from the ONS today showing increases in infection among primary and secondary school children across England & Scotland after school re-opening, with infection rates being highest currently among primaries compared to all other age groups.
Read 4 tweets
1 Apr
Data from the ONS on long COVID just out- this is one of the most comprehensive studies on long COVID across the globe- based on a survey across England.

What does it show?
Based on self-reported long COVID (given many weren't tested early in the pandemic), an estimated 1.1 million people were living with long COVID in March 2021. Of these, ~478,000 report some impact on day to day life, and ~196,000 reported a lot of impact on daily functioning.
~700K have had symptoms for over 12 weeks, with ~473K having symptoms lasting more than 6 months.

43,000 children estimated to be living with long COVID. Illness appears to predominate in young adults, and women.
Read 17 tweets
31 Mar
Not only has UFT, a lobbying group with non-transparent funding & connections to the CRG & tory govt had a hugely damaging impact on school policy, they're actively working to strip back even the woefully inadequate protections we have in schools. We should be v. worried.🧵
The @educationgovuk is currently carrying out on review on masking policy in schools. Currently masks are recommended for secondaries when distancing cannot be maintained. Even this is completely inadequate, but the review may mean even these basic protections are stripped back.
What is this review considering? Nothing has been made public yet. It appears that unions have been asked to respond to questions about adherence, tolerance, harms & benefits. But how does the review consider the key benefit of mask use- reduction in transmission?
Read 10 tweets
28 Mar
Wow. It's astonishing to see the extent to which scientists who have repeatedly promoted narratives that have turned out to be false & damaging to COVID pandemic control will go to try and salvage their reputations, by targeting academics who have challenged false claims.
The paper concludes an IFR of 0.15% for SARS-CoV-2. So essentially a 100 million people would have needed to be infected in the UK to have deaths of ~150,000, as we do now. Bizarre, given the UK population is 67 million... How did this get past peer review?
Read 4 tweets
26 Mar
ONS data just out- as expected, clear rises in SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in Scotland. Levelling off in all other regions, and rises in several regions in England. Positivity highest among primary & secondary school children across all age groups & trending upwards. Thread.
Rises in overall infection prevalence in Scotland earlier than other regions are in line with earlier openings of primaries, and rises in confirmed cases in the 0-14 yr age group, as discussed earlier on this thread.

This means R has crept above 1 in Scotland, is likely at 1 in other regions, as declines are no longer being seen. In fact, we're seeing increases in some parts of England as well.
Read 13 tweets

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