Test and clue ‘is even worse than we think’: Official figures are already appalling, but experts say missing data means the real situation could be more serious
- Scientists led by University College London say “Test and trace” is getting worse
- The researchers found that some of the best data available was up to two weeks old, making it impossible to know if the official restrictions were effective, they said.
- The “Datasheet” shows an increased number that missed the test and the trace within 24 hours
The UK’s screening system is “deteriorating” and is struggling to cope with coronavirus recovery, experts say.
Gaps in the data make it impossible to know if official restrictions reduce the spread of the infection, the researchers said.
Scientists led by University College London say the gaps are strongly illustrated by their new “data board” Covid Red, which is designed to consolidate all available information about the virus.
Professor Christina Pagel, co-developer, said: “We do not know what percentage of people with symptoms completely isolate time or their contacts.”
Scientists led by University College London say the UK’s test and trace system is struggling to cope with coronavirus recovery. Pictured: NHS England test and trail application
She added: “If people are not isolating us, then it is just a window dressing. We would like it to be collected and reported weekly. “That is such an important thing.”
The researchers also found that some of the best data available were up to two weeks old.
They called on health authorities to prioritize real-time information to “inform and support necessary responses, including regional or local conclusions”.
Covid Red – full name, Covid Response Scoreboard – is designed for use by both officials and the public.
Combines and presents data from the Bureau of National Statistics, Public Health England and the NHS under five categories: Find, test, monitor, isolate and support those who are required to isolate.
A new “data board” showed an increasing number of human tests and failed to find the trace within 24 hours, as well as an increased number traced after 72 hours, which is “too late” to stop the spread of the infection, he said. Professor Christina Pagel of University College London said. Pictured: A worker advises a woman attending a test plant
It shows an increase in the number of people being tested and a trace not being found within 24 hours, along with an increase in the number traced after 72 hours, which Professor Pagel said was “too late” to stop the spread of the infection. .
Making contacts with new cases to isolate them was vital to “breaking the transmission chain,” she added. Missed numbers have risen sharply since September, indicating “the system is starting to overload”.
Co-developer Professor Dunan Pillay said the number of coronavirus cases is now doubling every two weeks and real-time data is essential to track the “hotspots” of winter infection.
He added: “We will depend on the test and the trace in the long run to make sure we get infections, we will not continue to go into more and more blockages.”