The Government is to launch a new study tracking Covid-19 in the population to try to understand the current rate of infection and how many people have developed antibodies to the virus.
Some 20,000 households in England are being contacted to take part in the first-wave of the research, with initial findings expected in early May.
The research is aimed at understanding the current rate of infections as well as how many people have developed antibodies or immunity to the new virus.
The first stage of the study involves 20,000 households being chosen to represent the UK population in age and geography.
During a visit by a healthcare worker, people will answer questions and give nose and throat swabs to test whether the person has the virus.
The findings will aid the government’s strategy in easing the current lockdown measures.
The people involved with be asked to take further tests each week for five weeks and then every month for a year following that.
300,000 people are expected to be involved in the study in the next 12 months.
Similarly, in a test by Oxford University, adults from around 1,000 households will give blood samples every month for a year to help determine how many people have developed antibodies to coronavirus.
It comes as the UK government are assessing the usefulness of wearing a mask in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Countries including Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia as well as New York have already made it compulsory to wear masks in public, with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel saying masks should be worn on public transport and shops once lockdown has lifted.
There has been conflicting advice about wearing a mask, or face covering, with some, including Dr. Alex, stating they aren’t beneficial in protecting against the virus, whilst other experts are stating their importance.
Dr David Nabarro, a senior British scientist with the World Health Organisation (WHO), recently said people would have to get accustomed to the “new reality” of wearing facial coverings in public.
However, WHO has also stated the importance of prioritising providing NHS staff and key workers with PPE first and foremost before the public, and unsurprisingly, there’s a huge global demand for masks and other PPE right now.