Britain faces a second wave of COVID-19 this winter twice as widespread as the initial outbreak if it reopens schools without a more effective test-and-trace system in place, according to a study published on Tuesday.
Researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine modelled the impact of reopening schools either on a full- or part-time basis, thus allowing parents to return to work, on the potential spread of the virus.
They concluded a second wave could be prevented if 75% of those with symptoms were found and tested and 68% of their contacts were traced, or if 87% of people with symptoms were found and 40% of their contacts tested.
“However, we also predict that in the absence of sufficiently broad test-trace-isolate coverage, reopening of schools combined with accompanied reopening of society across all scenarios might induce a second COVID-19 wave,” said the study, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
“Our modelling results suggest that full school reopening in September 2020 without an effective test-trace-isolate strategy would result in R rising above 1 and a resulting second wave of infections that would peak in December 2020 and be 2.02 3 times the size of the original COVID-19 wave.
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August 05, 2020