Tuesday 2nd June 2020

The UK has registered 59,537 more deaths than usual to the week ending March 20. The percentage increase in deaths compared with normal levels, is the worst for any country in Europe and behind only Peru internationally

Today’s update includes our weekly summary of key local, national and international statistics

Summary of key local statistics

  • “There has been no new cases or deaths linked to coronavirus recorded in Gloucestershire in the last 24 hours, according to figures released by the NHS on Tuesday (June 2).” This has happened on several days in the past week. (Gloucestershire Live)
  • Indeed, there have been “no new coronavirus hospital deaths in South West for first time since March” (Stroud News and Journal)
  • 35% of the 218 care homes in Gloucestershire have had Covid-19 cases: “There has been a total of 76 suspected or confirmed Covid-19 outbreaks reported in care homes in Gloucestershire between March 9 and May 24”. In the week-ending May 24th, “there was one new suspected or confirmed outbreak in care homes in the area”, down from “three newly reported the week before, and down from a peak of 19 reports in the week ending April 12.”
  • There have been 17 deaths involving coronavirus in care homes in Gloucestershire in the week ending May 22. That was down from 28 the week before, and down from 49 the week before that” (data is from the Care Quality Commission, reporting by Gloucestershire Live)
  • Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust have not issued any further public information on safe discharge of patients (as of 18th May they had safely discharged 441 patients, and we know the figure is at least a little higher than this now).
  • The Office for National Statistics on “Death registrations and occurrences by local authority and health board” records 88 registrations in Stroud district (and 89 occurrences) involving Covid-19, as of the end of week 21 (week ending 22 May 2020).
  • This equates to 15.3% of all 582 death occurrences, and 14.1% of all 622 death registrations in the district.
  • The latest Public Health England COVID-19 epidemiology surveillance summary, accompanied by a PHE infographic (pdf) was published, providing data up to 27 May 2020. This showed 7,557 Covid-19 cases in the South West – an increase of just 402 from the 7,155 over the past fortnight. The South West incidence rate was 135/100,000, up from 128/100,000. The lowest incidence rate – the next lowest is the East Midlands (186/100,000), the highest is the North East at 375/100,000.
  • The PHE summary also shows 1,710 people have died (up 191 from 1,519 people a fortnight ago. The death rate in the South West is 31/100,000 – again the lowest for any English region (next lowest is the South East at 48/100,000, and highest is the North West at 73/100,000, more than double the South West rate).

At the national level, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics

“Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), by age, sex and region” shows:

  • The data shows that 56,308 more people died between weeks 13 and 21 of 2020, compared to the five-year average.”
  • “Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 22 May was 286,759, which is 51,466 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 22 May 2020, 43,837 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate; this is 15.3% of all deaths.”
  • In the South West region, 1,177 people died in the week ending 22 May 2020, 8.1% higher than the 5 years average of 1,089.
  • “The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 22 May 2020 (Week 21) was 12,288; this was 2,285 less than Week 20 but 2,348 more than the five-year average.”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 21, 2,589 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)“, the lowest number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the last seven weeks; accounting for 21.1% of all deaths and 1,221 deaths lower than Week 20.”
  • “People aged 90 years and over continued to have the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Week 21.”
  • “In Week 21, the proportion of deaths occurring in care homes decreased to 27.3% while deaths involving COVID-19 as a percentage of all deaths in care homes decreased to 32.5%.”
  • “In Week 21, the number of deaths in care homes was 1,289 higher than the five-year average, while in hospitals the number of deaths was 24 fewer than the five-year average; the total number of excess deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease.”
  • “The percentage of deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease across all English regions; the South East had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Week 21 (409).”
  • “Of all deaths in England and Wales involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 21, 64.2% occurred in hospital with the remainder mainly occurring in care homes (29.1%), private homes (4.5%) and hospices (1.3%).”
  • “Between Weeks 1 and 12, 138,916 deaths were registered, which was 4,822 fewer than the five-year average for these weeks. However, between Weeks 13 and 21, 147,863 deaths were registered, which was 56,308 more than the five-year average.”
  • ” Explore the full report and data via the ONS website.

Public Health England (PHE), have published a “descriptive review of data on disparities in the risk and outcomes from COVID-19”.

The report “confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. These results improve our understanding of the pandemic and will help in formulating the future public health response to it.” (in all cases emphasis has been added by ourselves)

PHE add that “The results of this review need to be widely discussed and considered by all those involved in and concerned with the national and local response to COVID-19.” . We take this to mean community response groups and mutual aid networks as well as local health services and other authorities.

Key findings:

  • “Local authorities with the highest diagnoses and death rates are mostly urban. Death rates in London from COVID-19 were more than three times higher than in the region with the lowest rates, the South West. This level of inequality between regions is much greater than the inequalities in all cause mortality rates in previous years.”
  • “The largest disparity found was by age. Among people already diagnosed with COVID-19, people who were 80 or older were seventy times more likely to die than those under 40.”
  • Risk of dying among those diagnosed with COVID-19 was also higher in males than females”
  • “The mortality rates from COVID-19 in the most deprived areas were more than double the least deprived areas, for both males and females. This is greater than the inequality seen in mortality rates in previous years, indicating greater inequality in death rates from COVID-19.”
  • “ONS reported that men working as security guards, taxi drivers and chauffeurs, bus and coach drivers, chefs, sales and retail assistants, lower skilled workers in construction and processing plants, and men and women working in social care had significantly high rates of death from COVID-19. Our analysis expands on this and shows that nursing auxiliaries and assistants have seen an increase in all cause deaths since 2014 to 2018. For many occupations, however, the number of deaths is too small to draw meaningful conclusions and further analysis will be required”
  • People from Black ethnic groups were most likely to be diagnosed. Death rates from COVID-19 were highest among people of Black and Asian ethnic groups. This is the opposite of what is seen in previous years, when the mortality rates were lower in Asian and Black ethnic groups than White ethnic groups. Therefore, the disparity in COVID-19 mortality between ethnic groups is the opposite of that seen in previous years.”
  • “In the period 21 March to 8 May 2020, the number of death registrations from all causes for people in England was 1.7 times higher than in the same period for the average of the years 2014 to 2018. For people born in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland, the relative increase was similar to this. For all other groups of countries [ie, for migrants], the relative increase was higher than the average and in almost all cases this increase was significantly higher.”
  • “The biggest relative increase was for people born in Central and Western Africa ([have died at a rate] 4.5 times higher in 2020 than in 2014 to 2018). This group of countries includes Nigeria, Ghana and Somalia. For people born in four other groups of countries, deaths in 2020 were more than 3 times higher than the equivalent period in 2014 to 2018: the Caribbean (3.5), South East Asia, which includes Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam (3.4), the Middle East (3.2) and South and Eastern Africa, which includes South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya (3.1).”
  • Diabetes was mentioned on 21% of death certificates where COVID-19 was also mentioned. This finding is consistent with other studies that have noticed a higher risk of death from COVID-19 among patients with diabetes. By age, the percentage was highest in males aged 60 to 69, was higher in all BAME groups than the White group and was 43% in the Asian group and 45% in the Black group. The same inequalities were seen for hypertensive disease.”
  • “three studies have shown a relationship between COVID-19 and increasing BMI” (Body Mass Index)

PHE add that “These inequalities largely replicate existing inequalities in mortality rates in previous years, except for BAME groups, as mortality was previously higher in White ethnic groups.”

Importantly, PHE note that “When this data was analysed, the majority of testing had been offered to those in hospital with a medical need. Confirmed cases therefore represent the population of people with severe disease, rather than all of those who get infected. This is important because disparities between diagnoses rates may reflect differences in the risk of getting the infection, in presenting to hospital with a medical need and in the likelihood of being tested. Some analyses outlined in this review are provisional and will continue to be improved. Further work is planned to obtain, link and analyse data that will complement these analyses.”

Read the full report at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/889195/disparities_review.pdf (pdf)

The Office for National Statistics have released data on “Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society” (28 May 2020)

Key points

  • “There was a fall in the proportion of people in Great Britain staying at home (other than leaving for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical need) from 81% between 14 to 17 May to 73% between 21 to 24 May.”
  • Online job adverts declined by more than 50% from the start of March to the start of May 2020.”
  • “New declarations for Universal Credit and new claim advances have both gradually declined to 19 May 2020, following peaks on 27 March and 6 April, respectively”
  • 24% of businesses who have currently paused trading expect to start trading again in the next four weeks, compared with 31% who expect to start trading in more than 4 weeks’ time” (image – also shows 10% expect to start trading in 2-4 weeks, and 56% businesses who have currently paused trading are “not sure” when they will start trading again”, and article also says “8% said they had started trading again in the last two weeks”)
  • 79% of businesses in the UK had applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme“, and “27% of the workforce in these businesses had been furloughed
  • “42% of businesses had less than six months of cash reserves.”
  • “Of the 14% of businesses who reported they had paused trading but are intending to restart trading in the next two weeks, they expect 31% of their workforce will return from furlough leave.”

You can read the full summary and access the raw underlying data at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronavirustheukeconomyandsocietyfasterindicators/latest

At the global level, the Johns Hopkins University tracker shows:

  • 6,333,760 confirmed cases – an increase of 1,466,245 from 4,867,515 on Tuesday 19th May. In other words, around a quarter of confirmed cases (23%), were confirmed in the past two weeks. 378,240 people have died – meaning 56,781 died in the past fortnight (321,459 people had died by Tuesday 19th May). In other words, 15% of people who died with the virus, died in the last fortnight.
  • India is the 7th country to confirmed over 200,000 cases:
    • The USA – 1,827,206 cases, a fortnightly increase of 307,220 (17%)
    • Brazil – 526,447 cases, a fortnightly increase of 263,902 (50%)
    • Russia – 423,186 cases, a fortnightly increase of 123,245 (29%)
    • The UK – 279,391 cases, a fortnightly increase of 29,270 (10%)
    • Spain – 239,932 cases, a fortnightly increase of 7,895 (3%) 
    • Italy – 233,515 cases – a fortnightly increase of 6,816 (3%)
    • India – 207,183 cases – a fortnightly increase of 100,708 (48%)
  • There are a further 6 countries with between 100,000 and 200,000 confirmed cases (France, Germany, Peru, Turkey, Iran, Chile), and 24 with between 20,000 and 100,000 confirmed cases (7 more countries have over 20,000 cases than did a fortnight ago. 
  • Mexico is the seventh country where over 10,000 people have died where Covid-19 was involved (we will add weekly numbers from next week):
    • The USA – 106,181 people have died (14,994 more people over the fortnight)
    • The UK – 39,452 (4,020 people died in the fortnight)
    • Italy – 33,530 (1,361)
    • Brazil – 31,119 (13,690)
    • France – 28,025 (918)
    • Spain – 27,778 (651 fewer people registered as having died – we are not sure of the reason for this discrepancy but it is likely our error
    • Mexico – 10,637 (we do not have a number from a 19th May to compare to)

It is important to say that different countries are testing and collecting data on deaths in different ways, making fair comparisons difficult. However, the Financial Times “analysis of data from 19 countries” found that the “UK suffers second-highest death rate from coronavirus”:

  • “The UK has registered 59,537 more deaths than usual since the week ending March 20, indicating that the virus has directly or indirectly killed 891 people per million.”
  • “Until Thursday, the UK had a higher rate of death than in any country for which high-quality data exist. However, Spain made a revision to its mortality estimates, adding 12,000 to its toll of excess deaths from coronavirus in a one-off adjustment to 43,000. This increased its death rate to 921 per million.”
  • “The absolute number of excess deaths in the UK is the highest in Europe, and second only to the US in global terms, according to data collected by the Financial Times.”
  • “The country fares no better on another measure: the percentage increase in deaths compared with normal levels, where the UK is the worst hit in Europe and behind only Peru internationally.”
Chart from Financial Times, showing Peru with excess deaths relative to the historical average for same dates at over 100% (ie, more than double the number of excess deaths), followed by the UK at over 60%, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands above 50%, but Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Israel and South Africa below 10% - with Israel and South Africa actually having fewer excess deaths than average

It is also worth emphasising that these statistics cannot hope to convey the individuality of each person who has died, nor the grief and sadness of their loved ones and friends. We nonetheless believe sharing them is helpful to understand the pandemic, and to reduce as far as possible the number of people who suffer and die in future.

Notes

Please remember we have a (growing) list of resources to support your emotional and mental health during this time on our website. The following numbers may be useful:

  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 0808 2000 247
  • Mind: 0300 123 3393
  • Age UK: 0800 169 6565
  • Childline: 0800 1111.