Half of people in Newham may have had Covid-19, analysis reveals

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The number of Covid-19 cases in Newham may be eight times higher than records show, according to an analysis by Edge Health. - Credit: PA

Half of people in Newham may have had Covid-19.

A study by Edge Health suggests the percentage of cases in the borough is eight times higher than the six per cent recorded by January 3.

The analysis estimates there have been 173,000 cases out of a population of about 350,000, equivalent to 49pc, since the pandemic began. This represents the second highest percentage of cases in England. Barking and Dagenham is identified as the highest.

Jason Strelitz, Newham Council’s director of public health, said: “Although it is not possible to record precise figures for Covid-19 infection rates in Newham, it is clear the total number of people to have been infected since the start of the pandemic is far higher than the confirmed numbers.

“We know that Newham’s communities have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, with the highest number of deaths during the first wave and very high transmission and infection rates during this second devastating wave."


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He added the town hall supports the ramping up of jabs and is offering asymptomatic testing to some groups to help detect and isolate cases swiftly and reduce the risk of further transmission.

“Unless you have a very specific reason – such as essential food shopping, a medical appointment, Covid-19 test or vaccination, exercise or work where it is impossible to work from home – you should not be leaving your home," Mr Strelitz said.

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Edge Health's research suggests as many as one in five people, or 12.4million, in England have had Covid-19, which is significantly higher than the 2.4m reported cases from Public Health England.

Total cases were estimated by looking at each local authority’s Covid-19-related deaths as published by the Office for National Statistics and their estimated infection fatality ratio.

This is calculated by looking at a local authority’s age profile and applying age-specific infection fatality ratios from University of Cambridge research.

George Batchelor, Edge Health's co-founder and director, said: “It is incredible that the level of understanding of where and how infections are occurring is not greater at this stage, since it would allow control measures to be more targeted.

“Even with imminent vaccinations, it is crucial to develop this understanding so that future variants of the virus can be effectively controlled and managed.”

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