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The Omicron SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England during February 2022

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Title: The Omicron SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England during February 2022
Authors: Chadeau-Hyam, M
Tang, D
Eales, O
Bodinier, B
Wang, H
Jonnerby, J
Whitaker, M
Elliott, J
Haw, D
Walters, C
Atchison, C
Diggle, P
Page, A
Ashby, D
Barclay, W
Taylor, G
Cooke, G
Ward, H
Darzi, A
Donnelly, C
Elliott, P
Item Type: Working Paper
Abstract: Background The third wave of COVID-19 in England peaked in January 2022 resulting from the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant. However, rates of hospitalisations and deaths were substantially lower than in the first and second waves Methods In the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study we obtained data from a random sample of 94,950 participants with valid throat and nose swab results by RT-PCR during round 18 (8 February to 1 March 2022). Findings We estimated a weighted mean SARS-CoV-2 prevalence of 2.88% (95% credible interval [CrI] 2.76–3.00), with a within-round reproduction number (R) overall of 0.94 (0·91– 0.96). While within-round weighted prevalence fell among children (aged 5 to 17 years) and adults aged 18 to 54 years, we observed a level or increasing weighted prevalence among those aged 55 years and older with an R of 1.04 (1.00–1.09). Among 1,195 positive samples with sublineages determined, only one (0.1% [0.0–0.5]) corresponded to AY.39 Delta sublineage and the remainder were Omicron: N=390, 32.7% (30.0–35.4) were BA.1; N=473, 39.6% (36.8–42.5) were BA.1.1; and N=331, 27.7% (25.2–30.4) were BA.2. We estimated an R additive advantage for BA.2 (vs BA.1 or BA.1.1) of 0.40 (0.36–0.43). The highest proportion of BA.2 among positives was found in London. Interpretation In February 2022, infection prevalence in England remained high with level or increasing rates of infection in older people and an uptick in hospitalisations. Ongoing surveillance of both survey and hospitalisations data is required. Funding Department of Health and Social Care, England.
Issue Date: 10-Mar-2022
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/95323
Copyright Statement: © 2022 The Author(s).
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus research
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Department of Infectious Diseases
Faculty of Medicine
Institute of Global Health Innovation
School of Public Health