Common colds complicating school reopening and coronavirus testing in the UK

The UK is recording a sharp increase in rhinovirus cases, which include the common cold. The latest figures show that the country recorded a spike of 23 percent new cases of the common cold virus in the past week.

Data also showed that children between the ages of five to 14 were the most susceptible to the common colds, recording an 80 percent increase in infection rates.

Common colds making coronavirus worse in schools

The survey on the common colds acknowledges that the current spike in acute respiratory incidents may have been as a result of the rhinovirus, rather than the coronavirus. This makes it hard for teachers, students and other staff to know for sure what they are suffering from before getting tested.

However, testing for coronavirus has become a difficult task in the UK, with many teachers and students reporting that they are yet to receive the tests. The results have been many students and teachers quarantining at home without knowing their coronavirus status.

Medical director at Public Health England Yvonne Doyle acknowledged that the virus was now spreading to all age groups. However, she also noted that people were now suspecting of coronavirus for cases which were as a result of other viruses. She urged people to only take the coronavirus tests only when they

have a continuous cough, fever, or loss of – or change in – sense of taste or smell.

NAHT study on class attendance

The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) in a survey of 736 schools, indicated that 82 percent of schools had indicated that some of their students were not attending schools due to lack of coronavirus testing kits. The report continued by saying, 87 percent of these schools also had students who stayed home because they were yet to receive their coronavirus results.

NAHT also showed that almost half of these schools(45 percent) indicated that some of their staff were not reporting to work due to a lack of test kits. Sixty percent of the schools also indicated that their staff was home waiting for their coronavirus results.

The combination of the common colds and the coronavirus at the same time is causing problems, especially for many students who are now quarantining thinking they have coronavirus, but they don’t. Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary has asked for mass testing to ensure that students are back to class and not in limbo over their coronavirus status.


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