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News

Primary schools ‘no greater risk than home’ for pupils and staff – BBC

Attending primary school puts children and staff at no greater risk of contracting coronavirus than staying at home, a study of 131 schools suggests…

…A separate sample of 2,100 staff and children, who were tested for antibodies, found 10.6% of pupils and 12.7% of staff had previously had coronavirus.

This could suggest that children are as likely as adults to be infected, rather than being less susceptible to the disease.

But because so few positive cases in children are detected, it confirms previous research that they are likely to experience mild symptoms, or none at all.

The study found children and staff who attended school more frequently were no more likely to test positive for antibodies than those who did not attend school, or went less often.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54025708

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News

We are massively overreacting to new Covid ‘outbreaks’ – The Telegraph

The Imperial College study published this morning claiming that 3.4 million people ( six per cent of the UK population) have antibodies indicating that they have been exposed to Covid-19 provides no great revelation. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has already published similar figures suggesting that 6.5 per cent of the population has been infected. Nevertheless, it is yet more confirmation of how irrelevant are the official statistics for Covid 19 cases – and what a nonsense it is to rely on them for policymaking.

According to the Government’s Covid “dashboard”, updated at 4pm on Wednesday, 313,798 people in Britain have had the disease. This is less than one tenth of the number suggested by the Imperial study. In other words, for all Matt Hancock’s efforts to ramp up testing, the vast majority of cases have not been detected.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/13/massively-overreacting-new-covid-outbreaks/

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News

A third of NHS staff in two hospital units were infected with coronavirus without showing symptoms, study finds – Independent

Almost 60 per cent of staff infected with coronavirus continued to work and commute

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-nhs-staff-symptoms-antibodies-covid-maternity-test-a9664841.html

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News

Exposure rate ‘similar’ in London and Stockholm – BBC News

  • Exposure to Covid-19 is similar in Stockholm and London, based on antibody tests, despite different lockdown strategies.
  • The research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found that 17% of people tested in April in Stockholm had developed antibodies.
  • This compares with 17% of Londoners tested in April and May, and 5%-10% of people living in Geneva.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53741851

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Opinion

How bad is COVID really? – Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

  • Article based on experience working as a doctor in the emergency room of one of the big hospitals in Stockholm, Sweden, and of living as a citizen in Sweden.
  • Unlike other countries, Sweden never went in to complete lockdown. Non-essential businesses have remained open, people have continues to go to cafés and restaurants, children have remained in school, and very few people have bothered with face masks in public.
  • COVID hit Stockholm like a storm in mid-March. One day I was seeing people with appendicitis and kidney stones, the usual things you see in the emergency room. The next day all those patients were gone and the only thing coming in to the hospital was COVID. Practically everyone who was tested had COVID, regardless of what the presenting symptom was. People came in with a nose bleed and they had COVID. They came in with stomach pain and they had COVID.
  • Then, after a few months, all the COVID patients disappeared.
  • At the peak three months back, a hundred people were dying a day of COVID in Sweden, a country with a population of ten million. We are now down to around five people dying per day in the whole country, and that number continues to drop. Since people generally die around three weeks after infection, that means virtually no-one is getting infected any more.
  • The risk of dying is at the very most 1 in 200 if you actually do get infected.
  • In total COVID has killed under 6,000 people in a country of ten million.
  • Sweden has an annual death rate of around 100,000 people. Considering that 70% of those who have died of COVID are over 80 years old, quite a few of those 6,000 would have died this year anyway.
  • COVID will never even come close to major pandemic numbers like 1918 flu.
  • If herd immunity hasn’t developed, where are all the sick people? Why has the rate of infection dropped so precipitously?
  • The reason we test for antibodies is because it is easy and cheap. Antibodies are in fact not the body’s main defence against virus infections. T-cells are. But T-cells are harder to measure than antibodies, so we don’t really do it clinically.
  • Sweden ripped the metaphorical band-aid off quickly and got the epidemic over and done with in a short amount of time, while the rest of the world has chosen to try to peel the band-aid off slowly. 
  • I am willing to bet that the countries that have shut down completely will see rates spike when they open up. If that is the case, then there won’t have been any point in shutting down in the first place, because all those countries are going to end up with the same number of dead at the end of the day anyway. Shutting down completely in order to decrease the total number of deaths only makes sense if you are willing to stay shut down until a vaccine is available. That could take years.
  • COVID has at present killed less than 6000 in Sweden. It is very unlikely that the number of dead will go above 7,000. An average influenza year in Sweden, 700 people die of influenza. Does that mean COVID is ten times worse than influenza? No, because influenza has been around for centuries while COVID is completely new.
  • So it is quite possible, in fact likely, that the case fatality rate for COVID is the same as for influenza, or only slightly higher, and the entire difference we have seen is due to the complete lack of any immunity in the population at the start of this pandemic.

Original source: https://sebastianrushworth.com/2020/08/04/how-bad-is-covid-really-a-swedish-doctors-perspective/

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News

Antibody tests do not pick up people who had mild coronavirus, Oxford study suggests – The Telegraph

Antibody tests may be missing large numbers of people who contracted Covid-19 because they don’t work for people who had a mild infection, new research from Oxford University suggests.

A study of more than 9,000 healthcare workers suggested significant numbers of people were getting ‘negative’ test results, despite probably having had the virus.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/antibody-tests-may-miss-people-had-mild-symptoms-coronavirus/

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Publications

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Testing – CDC

A positive test result shows you may have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance a positive result means that you have antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold.

Regardless of whether you test positive or negative, the results do not confirm whether or not you are able to spread the virus that causes COVID-19. 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html

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News

Covid-19 antibody tests face a very specific problem

With the prevalence of coronavirus infection running at about 5%, test manufacturers and regulators alike will have to guard against false positives.

https://www.evaluate.com/vantage/articles/analysis/spotlight/covid-19-antibody-tests-face-very-specific-problem

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Publications

Discrepancies between Antigen and Polymerase Chain Reaction Tests for the Detection of Rotavirus and Norovirus – PubMed (2016)

We compared the results of an antigen test (ELISA) with those of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of rotavirus and norovirus in stool specimens. Rotavirus and norovirus antigen-positive stool specimens were collected, and rotavirus and norovirus PCRs were performed on these specimens. Of the 325 rotavirus antigen-positive specimens, 200 were positive for both assays and 125 were PCR negative. Of 286 norovirus antigen-positive specimens, 51 were PCR negative. Comparison of the lower limit of detection showed that rotavirus PCR was 16 times more sensitive and norovirus PCR was over 4,000 times more sensitive than the ELISA. Discrepant results between ELISA and PCR were common, and the possibility of false-positive and false-negative results should be considered with rotavirus and norovirus assays.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27312553