Some people think that the coronavirus has been in circulation for months. Sun:
…a study by researchers at the University of Oxford claimed up to 50 per cent of the UK population may have already contracted the coronavirus.
It suggests the disease may have already been prevalent in the UK up to two months before the first case was officially diagnosed.
Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford, led the study and says the UK must now increase testing to discover the true stage of the pandemic.
“We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys – antibody testing – to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now,’” he told the Financial Times.
However, the research presents a very different view of the epidemic to the modelling at Imperial College London, which has strongly influenced government policy.
The Imperial College view seems to be the current global scientific consensus view, that Covid-19 started in Wuhan, China back in December 2019, and has since developed into a global pandemic.
Because testing regimens across the world have varied tremendously, the actual mortality and hospitalization rates of COVID-19 have been hard to pin down. But modeling by researchers at the University of Oxford could provide some welcome good news, even if the initial takeaway doesn’t seem so promising. According to a team from Oxford’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease lab, half of the population of the United Kingdom may have already been infected with the coronavirus. If this modeling is confirmed in follow-up studies, that would mean that fewer than .01 percent of those infected require hospital treatment, with a majority showing very minor symptoms, or none at all.
According to the modeling, the coronavirus arrived in mid-January at the latest, and spread undetected for over a month before the first cases were confirmed. Based on a susceptibility-infected-recovery model — a commonly used estimate in epidemiology — with data from case and death reports in the U.K. and Italy, the researchers determined that the initial “herd immunity” strategy of the U.K. government could have been sound. “I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” said lead researcher Sunetra Gupta, referring to an academic report predicting that up to 250,000 could be killed if the government maintained its plan to suppress the virus “but not get rid of it completely,” as the country’s chief scientific adviser put it. As of Monday, 87 people in the United Kingdom had died from the coronavirus; out of a total of 90,436 tests, 8,077 were positive.
To see if their math checks out, the Oxford team is now working with researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Kent to begin antibody testing as soon as this week. “We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys — antibody testing — to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now,” Gupta told the Financial Times.
I wonder if this is going to turn into yet another scientific dispute – Imperial versus Oxford – just like global warming alarmism versus denialism?
If the Oxford view prevails – that this virus has been around for a lot longer than thought – ,then maybe the virus didn’t start in Wuhan? Maybe it’s not a China virus at all?
And maybe we’re not at the beginning of a pandemic, but at the end of one?
And if half the UK population has already caught the virus, then there’s a 50 – 50 chance that I’ve got it too.
Symptoms of Covid-19 are shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
And I’ve been short of breath, in one degree or other, since 17 January 2020, when it came on very suddenly. I’ve also got a persistent mild cough. But no fever that I’ve noticed. So I’ve got two of the three symptoms.
I thought it highly unlikely that mine was a case of Covid-19, if – the Imperial view – the new coronavirus hadn’t arrived in the OK by 17 January. But if it had already been around in the UK for months – the Oxford view -, it’s far more plausible that I could have picked it up.
But after 2 months, I still haven’t recovered. I get short of breath after doing more or less anything physical, including walking across a room. It’s why I stopped shopping at supermarkets and started getting groceries delivered.