UCL Institute of Health Informatics


More than a third of care home residents caught Covid-19 in early waves of pandemic

25 January 2022

More than a third of care home residents and a quarter of care home staff in England showed evidence of infection with SARS-CoV-2 during the first two waves of the pandemic, according to a new study led by UCL researchers.

Lady in a face mask putting an arm around an elderly woman

The study, published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, looked at blood samples from nearly 5,000 residents (with a median age of 87) and staff (with a median age of 48) at 201 care homes across England between June 2020 and May 2021.

The researchers found that 34.6% of residents and 26.1% of staff tested positive for the nucleocapsid antibody, which indicates prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. (This compares to 16% for the general population over a similar period*). The data did not include residents and staff who died of Covid-19, meaning the true prevalence would have been higher.

Lead author IHI's Dr Maria Krutikov and senior author IHI's Professor Laura Shallcross present this research as part of the ongoing Vivaldi study, launched in June 2020, to investigate SARS-CoV-2 infections in care homes and inform strategies to protect residents. It is funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

Read the full UCL article

Author credit and UCL media contact: Mark Greaves

T: +44 (0)7990 675947

E: m.greaves [at] ucl.ac.uk

Photo credit: Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash