It is not possible to undertake any meaningful planning for an exit strategy from the current lockdown without an understanding of COVID-19’s prevalence and our current levels of immunity.
On April 2nd Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised to test 100,000 people daily by the end of the month. On that same day the UK was testing ten times less, just 10,000 people per day. The government continues to state its desire to test. In reality are far from this target.
True prevalence is proving hard to predict. Where one study suggests 75% of people infected may be asymptomatic, another reports a very low rate of current infection – less than 1% of the tested population.
The only way out of this is to gather data and learn the truth.
Epidemiological studies of appropriately sized, randomised cohorts would determine the size of the vulnerable population. This testing would need to be repeated every few weeks in order to chart the progress of the disease.
We cannot just test those who attend hospital with symptoms. Only by widespread testing of the asymptomatic public will we learn the true spread of this virus.