Experts say that ‘about half of the UK’s population may have already been infected by the Coronavirus’

The modeling emphasizes on ‘herd immunity’.

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According to researchers at Oxford University, about half of the UK’s population may have been infected by the coronavirus.

If the results are confirmed, less than one in a thousand of those infected with the virus would become ‘ill enough’ to need hospital treatment. It needs to be kept in mind that a vast majority of patients develop mild symptoms or none at all.

“We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys — antibody testing — to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now”, said Sunetra Gupta, the professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford University.

The modeling done by Oxford’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease group indicates that COVID-19 reached the UK by mid-January. It continued to spread invisibly for more than a month before transmissions in the country were recorded.

However, the accuracy of the Oxford model is yet to be confirmed. Even if correct, social distancing will significantly reduce the number of people falling seriously ill.

The Oxford study is based on a ‘susceptibility-infected-recovered model’ of COVID-19, built up from the case and death reports from the UK and Italy.

The modeling emphasizes on ‘herd immunity’. It is the idea that the virus will stop spreading on its own when enough people will have become resistant to it because they have already been infected.

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