£37 billion Test and Trace Scheme May Have Prevented Just 6% of Covid Cases

NHS Test and Trace, which has cost the taxpayer £38 billion, may have only prevented 6% of Covid infections, according to a new official report. MailOnline has more.

No 10’s Test and Trace system has had barely any impact on thwarting the spread of Covid, according to official estimates.

The controversial £37 billion scheme has been heavily criticised over the past year for being ineffective at breaking the chains of transmission.

New Government modelling found the programme – which critics have described as being the biggest ever waste of taxpayer money – may have only slashed cases by as little as six%.

It also estimates that people isolating prevented 1.2 million to two million secondary cases, with NHS Test and Trace responsible for stopping 300,000 to 500,000 of these.

The estimate assumed people with Covid symptoms and their households would still have isolated if testing wasn’t on offer.

But health chiefs noted that without the offer of testing, millions more people would have needlessly self-isolated when they weren’t infected because they wouldn’t have been able to prove they were negative through a swab.

Test and Trace identified around 900,000 positive cases in August, according to official figures.

It comes as Boris Johnson will today warn that the pandemic is “far from over” as he unveils his “winter plan”, admitting that another lockdown cannot be completely ruled out.

A report published by NHS Test and Trace looked at what impact it had over and above if people with symptoms still isolated without any access to testing.

It did this by analysing the transmission reduction from testing, tracing and isolating from the current scheme.

This was then compared to an imagined scenario where testing was not on offer and households were told to self-isolate if someone developed Covid symptoms.

A panel including ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, helped with the modelling.

The study, which looked at the period from last August to April, found the Test and Trace scheme reduced transmission between 10 and 28%.

But if people stayed at home when they suspected they had the virus anyway, like they are supposed to, the testing system only reduced transmission from six to 19%.

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