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Rapid transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron variant has led to record-breaking incidence rates around the world. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study has tracked SARS-CoV-2 infection in England using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) results from self-administered throat and nose swabs from randomly selected participants aged 5+ years, approximately monthly from May 2020 to March 2022. Weighted prevalence in March 2022 was the highest recorded in REACT-1 at 6.37% (N=109,181) with Omicron BA.2 largely replacing BA.1. Prevalence was increasing overall with the greatest increase in those aged 65-74 and 75+ years. This was associated with increased hospitalizations and deaths but at much lower levels than in previous waves against a backdrop of high levels of vaccination.

Original publication




Journal article


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Date



School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK.