26th August 2020 data update

Every week we share a summary of local, national, and international data on the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. We really welcome questions, feedback, or suggestions for inclusion of data you have found useful, in our Facebook group, or email us at: stroudcommunitycoronaresponse@gmail.com.

Key points

  • As of 25th August there have been 286 total confirmed cases of Covid 19 in Stroud district. This number is nine higher than we reported last week. The data of specimen for the last confirmed case was 22nd August.
  • As of 25th August a total of 1,972 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Gloucestershire. 30 cases have been added to this total since we reported on this data last week, with the last case confirmed from a specimen submitted on the 22nd August.
  • The number of cases confirmed during the week in the UK (7,705) is lower than last week (8,776) but higher than the week before (6,146).
  • PHE report 41,535 “deaths in laboratory-confirmed positive individuals where the death occurred within 28 days” (to the end of week 34, 21st August). By this measure, 69 people have died in the past week.
  • As of 14th August (the most recent available ONS data) 52,026 people haved died in England and Wales with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate. There are no new death registrations of deaths for Stroud or Gloucestershire in the most recent data (since week 24 / 12th June in Stroud – a month without a death registration, and since week 30 / 24th July in Gloucestershire).
  • Over 23 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed globally, over 800,000 have died, including 38,314 people in the past week.
  • Over 15 million people have recovered after testing positive globally, an increase of nearly 1.5 million in the past week.

Local statistics

Confirmed cases in Stroud district

  • As of 25th August there have been 286 total confirmed cases of Covid 19 in Stroud district. This number is nine higher than we reported last week. The data of specimen for the last confirmed case was 22nd August. This data and that below is based on analysis of spreadsheet data downloaded from the government’s coronavirus data dashboard. The dashboard provides the totals and current rates, but the local daily/weekly confirmed numbers are contained in a spreadsheet which you can download.
  • Stroud district has a confirmed cases rate of 238.4 per 100,000 people (27th lowest / 289th highest rate of 314 similar local authorities). For comparison, the highest rate after Leicester (a Unitary Authority also covered below) is Blackburn with Darwen (1,139 confirmed cases per 100,000 people) – over four times the rate in Stroud district.
  • The chart below shows confirmed cases in Stroud district by week. Data for week 34 ending the 21st August may still be revised. The data for the most recent week is the highest number of cases confirmed in a week since 15th May. It is important to remember both that access to testing is now broader and that there may still be additional cases which are not confirmed through testing (whether of asymptomatic people, or people with symptoms who for whatever reason do not get a test). It sadly looks at though the virus is still circulating locally and that contact tracing and self-isolation by people with symptoms is not succeeding in preventing continued infections. There is still not really enough data to identify a clearly rising trend, but neither is there evidence that the virus is not in the district. Further, Stroud district isn’t an island – please see the data below for Gloucestershire where there does appear to be some evidence of a rising trend, and for the UK as a whole.
Source: Government coronavirus dashboard data download

You can see where cases are being confirmed by neighbourhood (MSOA – an ONS geographic unit that covers areas of Stroud district like Stroud Town, Stonehouse, Nailsworth etc). This week the numbers in Stroud are too low to show up on this map – though confirmation of cases in Swindon, Bristol and Up Hatherley are highligthed.

Confirmed cases in Gloucestershire

  • As of 18th August a total of 1,972 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Gloucestershire. 30 cases have been added to this total since we reported on this data last week (the same as last week), with the last case confirmed from a specimen submitted on the 22nd August.
  • Gloucestershire has a lab-confirmed cases rate of 309.5 cases per 100,000 people. Gloucestershire still has among the lowest rates (22nd lowest / 128th highest).
  • The chart below shows confirmed cases in Gloucestershire by week. Data for week 34 ending the 21st August may still be revised, but there does seem to be a trend of slowly rising cases since week 25 (ending 19th June). While confirmed case numbers are still low week by week – and in part represent greater availability of testing, the prospect of getting to “Covid Zero” in Gloucestershire – as in the rest of the country – feels distant given this apparent trend. Furthermore, Gloucestershire isn’t an island either – and people can pick up the virus when travelling outside the county or from people travelling to it.
Source: SCCR analysis of data from the government Coronarvirus Dashboard

Estimate of local cases

The Covid Symptom Study currently estimates that 13 people may actively have the virus in Stroud district. The Study also estimates 0 active cases in nearby Gloucester and South Gloucestershire, by 19 in Cotswold district, 24 in Cheltenham, 29 in Tewkesbury and 68 in the Forest of Dean. These estimates are low and consistent with the confirmed cases number to the extent we would expect a higher number of active cases than is confirmed, and that they are made from small samples and it would be extremely difficult to be statistically accurate at this level.

You can read about how these estimates are made on the Covid Symptom Study website. We encourage anyone with symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of smell/taste) to please book a test. There is a permanent unit at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and mobile units tour Gloucestershire.

If you don’t have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to wear masks when appropriate (they will help prevent spread of the virus if you have it but don’t have symptoms yet, or are asymptomatic – meaning you have the virus but without ever getting any symptoms), keep distance from people, and wash your hands regularly

People who have died because of Covid-19 in Stroud and Gloucestershire

National level data

There are several useful sources for UK level data which you can explore yourself:

  • Each week, the Office for National Statistics releases data on the number of people who have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, placing this in the context of the number of people to die that week, and in the year so far.
  • The GOV.UK dashboard shows daily counts and 7-day averages for: confirmed cases, deaths, hospital admissions, patients in hospital and patients on ventilators. The screenshot below is taken from this dashboard, which sadly was having a technical hitch today so we have been unable to summarise the data. The site is quite easy to use, try it yourself.
  • The PHE surveillance report covers a wider range of information including local authority areas where confirmed cases are high or rising in concerning ways / monitoring of areas with local lockdowns.
Source: coronavirus.data.gov.uk

Deaths

  • PHE report 41,535 “deaths in laboratory-confirmed positive individuals where the death occurred within 28 days” (to the end of week 34, 21st August). This is the number used by Johns Hopkins University on their international tracker. By this measure 69 people have died in the past week.
  • The ONS report that “Of the deaths registered by 14 August [week 32], 52,026 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, 13.1% of all deaths in England and Wales.”
  • The ONS also note that “the number of deaths up to 14 August was 398,400, which is 53,044 more than the five-year average” (this is the “excess deaths” figure favoured for international comparisons of responses to the pandemic)

While the differing PHE and ONS methods produce different results, it remains the case that tens of thousands of people have died with their deaths attributed to Covid-19. As fuller analysis of data is possible, there may be further adjustments to the total figures, but these shouldn’t be taken as an indication that Covid-19 is not a serious and regularly fatal disease, or that there is any deliberate attempt to either underestimate or overestimate the number of deaths related to the virus.

Cases – confirmed and estimated

While it is not the policy of the government or their Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the Independent SAGE recommend a the country seek to achieve “Zero Covid” i.e. the elimination of the virus from the UK. They suggest that a seven day rolling average of one new case per million population per day could represent ‘control’ in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England.

The GOV.UK dashboard shows 1,048 daily cases, similar to the number we reported for the last two weeks (16th August = 1,040 cases, 9th August = 1,062)

Nonetheless, trend appears to be slowly rising. This FT article explains “Why UK coronavirus deaths are falling even as cases are rising” – in brief: Increased testing (catching more infections with mild or no symptoms that are less likely to lead to deaths), related to the previous point – the Changing age profile of infections (with people at greatest risk often still minimising their social contacts even if they are no longer officially “shielding”), and improvements in medical care (whether through treatments or increased capacity). The article also mentions other possible causes related to lower “viral loads”, seasonality, and virus mutuation.

Incidence estimates are higher than the the government’s number of “lab confirmed cases” because they are designed to estimate cases that have not been confirmed through testing. Prevalence is the total number of estimated cases at any given time, whereas incidence is the estimated number of daily new cases.

Source: COVID Symptom Study App estimates

PHE surveillance report

Every week PHE publish a “surveillance report” on the pandemic.

This week they say: “A number of COVID-19 surveillance indicators suggest a small increase in COVID-19 activity at a national level during week 33. Case detections in England increased from 5,763 in week 32 to 6, 418 in week 33. Increases in activity were noted in the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the East Midlands. At a local authority level, incidence remain highest in Oldham, although this has decreased from the previous week. followed by Blackburn with Darwen. Case rates were highest in the 15-44 year age group.”

As last week, Swindon remains on the “watchlist following the weekly Local Action Committee meeting” along with 27 other local authorities – many of them in the North West.

PHE also say: “Emergency department attendances with a COVID-19-like diagnosis and overall hospitalisation and ICU/HDU admission rates for confirmed COVID-19 admissions remained stable. A slight increase in hospitalisation rates in the North West was seen.COVID-19 deaths continue to decline and, while delays to death registrations can impact on the most recent data, there has been no detectable excess mortality since week 24 overall.”

Source: PHE

For the South West as a whole, PHE report 13,969 confirmed cases (up 285 from last week), and an incidence rate of 249/100,000 people. This is the lowest rate for an English region, the highest rate is 690/100,000 in the North West.

International data

It is important to say that different countries are testing and collecting data on deaths in different ways, making fair comparisons difficult. However, there are reputable sources doing their best to make data available, which we summarise below

People who have died with deaths attributed to Covid-19

Last week we highlighted the Financial Times’ interactive chart that can show the “Cumulative deaths (per million), by number of days since 3 total deaths (per million) first recorded”. This shows the UK with the 3rd highest number (620.5) after Peru (861.3) and Belgium (860.1) – with deaths still rising fast in Chile, Brazil and the United States which will potentially achieve even worse rates. Other countries have far lower rates, despite the virus having been present for a similar time – such as Germany (111 deaths per million), Cuba (8), South Korea (6), and New Zealand (4.5).

Another option on the FT site is to compare the “Seven-day rolling average of new deaths, by number of days since 3 average daily deaths first recorded”. This makes it possible to see whether the worst impacts of the virus have peaked in a country, and identify any “second waves”. In the chart below, we have picked out the UK – where the 7-day average number of daily deaths has been falling consistently for a long time, but appears to have stalled. The pattern is similar to that for Italy. The chart also shows the pattern in Spain – where a sharper decline in daily deaths is accompanied by a more recent uptick that may represent the foothills of a “second wave” – though this also appears to have peaked and once again be in decline. The chart also shows that daily deaths continue to be very high in other countries such as Peru, Brazil, and the United States – and rising in countries like Colombia (note that the left-hand scale representing numbers of deaths is “logarithmic” – to make it easier to compare very large numbers with much smaller ones on the same chart).

Source: Financial Times

For interanational comparisons we also recommend the Office for National Statistics “Comparisons of all-cause mortality between European countries and regions: January to June 2020“, and the Financial Times’ visual narrative of the spread of Covid-19”, with charts showing comparisons between 20 countries on the best available testing measure – “excess deaths”, as well as global regional comparisons to the 13th July. Sadly this no longer seems to be being updated. We will include a chart again when there is an update.

Our analysis of data from the Johns Hopkins University tracker shows

The number of people who have died is now well over 800,000 – 820,246

38,314 people died in the past week (the lowest weekly figure since 29th July when 30,043 people died).

There are fourteen countries where over 10,000 people have died where Covid-19 was involved. Rather than report the figures for each of these as we have been doing in previous weeks, we will from now on produce a summary:

  • The number of deaths attributed to Covid19 is below 100 in 2 of these 14 countries: the UK (69) and Italy (40).
  • The number of deaths attributed to Covid19 is above 1,000 in 7 of these countries (The US, Brazil, Mexico, India, Peru, Colombia, and South Africa)
  • The number of deaths this week is higher than last week in four countries (France – 115/105, Spain 254/89, Colombia 2,270/2,144, and Chile 412/368).

Recoveries

At least 15 million people have recovered after testing positive globally (15,618,965), an increase of nearly 1.5 million in the past week (1,467,458). – as reported by Johns Hopkins University. While there is considerable evidence of long-term impacts, many people who have not tested positive but have receovered are not included in this figure.

The UK only reports 1,551 people have recovered, for instance – an increase of 58 on last week. However, this does not reflect the true number of people who have had the virus but recovered from it.

Confirmed Cases

Confirmation of cases is one way to measure the spread of the virus. It is worth bearing in mind that not everyone who has the virus, particularly if they do not develop senses, will get a test – so confirmed numbers are an underestimate of total cases. However, changes in confirmed case numbers can give us an indication of whether the virus is still spreading or is coming under control in a country. Our analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows:

  • Over 23 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed (23,930,649)
  • That’s an an increase of over 1.7 million cases during the week (1,756,676), the ninth week in a row with over 1 million cases confirmed.
  • Global confirmed cases increased by 7.9% in the past week (this percentage increase is falling slowly, a sign that global confirmation of cases may be peaking).
  • 22 countries have over 200,000 cases (Iraq and the Philippines crosss this threshold this week), and three have over 2 million confirmed cases.
  • Rather than details for each of these as in previous weeks, we offer a summary:
  • The US, Brazil and India each confirmed over 200,000 new cases in the most recent week.
  • Confirmed cases this week are higher than the number last week in 7 of these countries (India, Spain, Argentina, France, Turkey, Italy, Germany)
  • Spain confirmed a total of 48,357 cases, a 13.3% increase
  • France confirmed 29,368 cases, an 11.4% increase
  • The number of cases confirmed during the week in the UK (7,705) is lower than last week (8,776) but higher than the week before (6,146).

Our condolences

We hope these updates can improve understanding of the spread and seriousness of Covid-19, and contribute to public health efforts to eliminate the virus. We are aware that presenting the information in this way does not allow for a full appreciation of the humanity of the people affected – we send our condolences and best wishes to the many individuals and their loved ones.

Notes

We welcome your suggestions for inclusion of data in these summaries. Please submit posts to our Facebook group.

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.
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