The UK Statistics Office (ONS) has announced that official Covid-19 infection investigations will be scaled back and digitized amid warnings that the UK will go into winter blinds.
The ONS infection investigation began at the beginning of the epidemic in the UK to track how the virus was spreading and to provide an estimate of the number of cases at the local level.
It was later expanded to include hundreds of thousands of people across the country’s four countries.
Officials visited participating households, collected swabs every month, and filled out questionnaires, which was recognized as the gold standard for tracking COVID-19.
The results were considered important in informing governments of the epidemic response.
However, ONS announced on Thursday will be scaling back the survey to give participants a more flexible approach. Questionnaires are now filled out digitally and swabs and blood sample kits are mailed in.
Dr Jenny Harries, CEO of the UK Health Security Agency, who is collaborating on the study, said: “The work done by the UK Health and Safety Agency and the National Statistical Office since the onset of the pandemic has helped us understand the importance of Covid-19. We understand data well, so we’re excited to continue our partnership with them.
As we learn to live with the virus, the world’s leading Covid-19 infection investigation will continue to monitor the coronavirus and its impact on the UK population, working with surveillance programs in nursing homes and the NHS.
validity of outcomes at risk
A household who has been participating in the survey for more than a year told The Telegraph that the swab worker has been notified that the visit will end in July.
However, the scientists cautioned that changes to the research methodology would jeopardize the validity of the results.
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said downsizing the survey now would be disappointing and a mistake and could prevent experts from seeing the virus’s epidemic heading into winter.
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