25th Sept data summary

Every week I, James Beecher (one member of the SCCR team), put together a summary of data on the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. Questions, feedback, or suggestions for inclusion of data you have found useful, are welcome in our Facebook group, or email: stroudcommunitycoronaresponse@gmail.com. While the sources referenced are authoritative, the analysis – at least at the local level – is my own. Though I have some research skills – I’m not a virologist, epidemiologist or public health expert.

This update contains national charts, some local data and estimates (positive test numbers for Stroud and Gloucestershire, and estimates for the districts in Gloucestershire), and international context.

Key points

  • The key news this week is obviously the introduction of new restrictions by the government. This follows national increase in cases, and a presentation by the government’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer in which they talked about numbers of infections currently doubling every seven days.
  • In September so far there have been 38 positive tests in Stroud district compared to 22 positive tests in August (9 in the most recent week)
  • In September so far there have been 193 positive tests in Gloucestershire compared to 137 positive tests in August (61 in the most recent week).
  • The Covid Symptom Study currently estimates (25th Septmeber) that 132 people [aged 20-69] may actively have the virus in Stroud district (considerably over double the 47 estimated for the 16th.
  • There has not been a death certificate which mentioned Covid-19 in Stroud since week 24 (12th June), when two people from the district’s deaths were registered. There has not been a death certificate which mentioned Covid-19 in Gloucestershire since week 35 (27th August – one person in Tewkesbury).
  • There were 35,570 positive tests in the UK 17th-23rd Sept, compared to 25,738 between 10th-16th September (my calculations based on JHU data).
  • 1,198 patients with Covid-19 were admitted to UK hospitals, compared to 1,179 in the previous week. However, the number admitted in England on 22nd September (268) was considerably more than double the 119 the previous week. The lowest daily number of patients admitted in England was 25 on the 22nd August, and the number has been broadly rising since.
  • 209 patients were in mechanical ventilation beds in England on the 24th September, compared to 115 a week previously, and 63 two weeks previously (slightly less than doubling each week).
  • 159 people in the UK died with 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test in the week to the 23rd Sept, compared to 121 in the week to 16th September, and 69 in the week to 9th September (my calculations based on the UK government dashboard)
  • “In Week 37 (to 11th September), the number of deaths registered was 5.4% above the five-year average (505 deaths higher). Of the deaths registered in Week 37, 99 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 1.0% of all deaths in England and Wales.”
  • “Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 11 September 2020 was 434,618, which is 53,376 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 11 September, 52,482 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, 12.1% of all deaths in England and Wales.”
  • Globally, over 31 million cases have been identified, and Covid-19 has been attributed in the deaths of well over 900,000 people. More positively, over 21 million people have now been deemed to have recovered.

The core advice remains: please book a test if you have one or more symptoms – a new continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of smell/taste (or if you are asked to by contact tracers or others conducting tests). There is a permanent unit at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and mobile units tour Gloucestershire. We are aware that lots of people have struggled to access tests/getting results – but also that local people have had good experiences accessing tests and getting results. Please persevere and get in touch if you need help. If you have symptoms (or if you are asked to by contact tracers), self-isolate until you have a negative test. If you are struggling with self-isolating, please get in touch with us or with one of the local support groups.

Whether or not you 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. Access the latest government guidance and FAQ on “what you can and can’t do” online (last updated 22nd September – to take account of new restrictions/advice). If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

Local statistics

Gloucestershire County Council are now sharing a weekly data summary of their own.

Positive Tests

  • In the most recent week for which data is available (to the 18th September), specimens produced 9 positive tests associated with people in Stroud district. This number may be revised upwards slightly as some specimens submitted in that week may not have their results yet (last week’s number was revised up from 11 to 12).
  • Across Gloucestsershire, there were 61 positive tests that week. Last week’s number has also been revised up from 55 to 65.
Source: Government coronavirus dashboard data download
Source: SCCR analysis of data from the government Coronarvirus Dashboard

You can see where cases are being confirmed by neighbourhood. This week no part of Stroud district has had 3 or more positive tests – this is a good sign. Some areas in Gloucester, and the outskirts of Bristol and Swindon show up. Gloucestershire County Council’s weekly summary states that “Between 13th September–19th September 2020 five MSOAs in Gloucestershire had three or more cases (Bream, Pillowell & Yorkley = 3; Tredworth = 4; Quedgeley North = 4; Longlevens = 3; Kemble & South Cerney = 3)”

Overall – while people are testing positive locally, there do not seem to be rapidly spreading clusters. Hopefully this represents people following the guidance and making sure the virus is not passed on if they have symptoms (by self-isolating, getting a test, and engaging with contact tracing).

Source: ONS interactive map

Estimated number of people with the virus

Alongside positive tests, we can also look to estimates that can cover people who – for whatever reason – do not get tested. The Covid Symptom Study currently estimates (25th Septmeber) that 132 people [aged 20-69] may actively have the virus in Stroud district (considerably over double the 47 estimated for the 16th – though this is a recent increase, estimates were stable at around 46 on the 4th Sept).

The Study also estimates 258 active cases in South Gloucestershire (more than doubling from 106), 96 in Cheltenham (nearly doubling from 54), 111 active cases in nearby Gloucester (more than doubling from 38) and 65 in Cotswold ( doubling from 29, but the lowest level in the county), 98 Tewkesbury (more than doubling from 37) and 60 in the Forest of Dean (more than doubling from 25).

While the Covid Symptom Study app is an authoritative study, with over 4 million people contributing information about their daily health, estimates for local areas will have to be based on small smaples and are estimates – they are made to help us understand the situation, but are not definitive. They are particularly useful as a complement to positive test numbers – which we know do know cover all people with symptoms or who are infectious (but unable to get a test or do not realise they should get one). You can read about how these estimates are made on the Covid Symptom Study website.

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

More national info

Watch this week’s Independent SAGE presentation (25th September, 1hour – includes short presentation on the national data at the start)

Watch Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Officer, give a presentation about coronavirus in UK (21st September, 23 minutes):

The UK government coronanvirus dashboard summarises a number of datasources, and NHS Test and Trace data for England is also available. Check out the Independent SAGE weekly video summary too. The chart below shows positive test results in the UK – you can see how they are rapidly rising. The chart gives the impression they are now at similar numbers as in the first peak of the pandemic – but we know access to testing during that period was much more restricted (to hospital patients and – later – NHS and care staff). Cases were much higher than, and are still higher now, though by a smaller amount than positive tests reveal. See the section on prevalence estimates below.

Source: coronavirus.data.gov.uk

Prevalence 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 (incidence is the estimated number of daily new cases – you can also find information about this at the links if you wish).

Source: COVID Symptom Study App estimates

International

I am reducing the amount of international analysis at the moment as I do not have time I am afraid – as a team we will think about what is most useful to share with members – please let us know if there are particular international aspects you are interested in.

My calculations from the Johns Hopkins University tracker show:

  • 973,443 people have died with their death at least partly attributed to Covid-19, as of the 23rd September
  • 37,852 of these people died in the past week (very similar to the previous week).
  • There are sixteen countries where over 10,000 people have died where Covid-19 was involved (same as last week).
  • At least 21 million people have been deemed to have “recovered” after testing positive globally (21,798,488), an increase of over 1.7 million in the past week (1,703,707) – 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, and methods for recording “recoveries” vary by country.
  • The UK only reports 2,239 people have recovered, for instance – an increase of 55 on last week. However, this does not reflect the true number of people who have had the virus but recovered from it.
  • Over 31 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed (31,735,542)
  • That’s an an increase of over 2 million cases during the week (2,136,722, the thirteenth week in a row with over 1 million cases confirmed, the second with over 2 million).
  • 24 countries have over 200,000 cases (Israel is added to the list this week), and four have over 1 million confirmed cases.

Notes

These updates are designed to improve understanding of the pandemic and its impacts, with the hope this can help us to reduce those impacts locally. I appreciate they do not involve space to properly convey the full impact of the virus nor the restrictions that are making life difficult for many people.

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

Please remember we have a list of resources to support your emotional and mental health during this time on our website (and welcome further recommendations). 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.