NEARLY 140,000 people in England are currently infected with Covid-19, research suggests — far more than had been thought.
Oxford University experts estimate more than one in 400 are unwell with the virus — and are able to spread the disease.
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The university’s Prof Carl Heneghan said of the data: “It shows we have nearly 140,000 infected with Covid, which is far more than we are picking up through testing.”
“Fewer than 4,000 people a day are testing positive. Why are the rest of these cases not coming forward. Is it because they are asymptomatic?”
Working with the Office for National Statistics, scientists at Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine have taken swabs from 7,087 individuals from across the country.
The pilot study reveals 0.24 per cent of the population are currently infected with Covid, suggesting around 136,000 have the virus.
Prof Heneghan said: “To me it suggests that, at peak, we had loads more cases than we realised.”
The study, due to last a year, aims to recruit up to 300,000 volunteers to take part in home-testing to help track the spread of the outbreak.
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As well as checking Brits for current infection, around 2,000 adults will also provide a blood sample to screen for antibodies against the disease.
Virus deaths continued to slowly fall yesterday with the daily toll at 210 — the lowest since March 26.
It took the total number of deaths to 32,065.
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