1st November data update

Key points (see below for full sourcing and more detail):

  • The big news this week is obviously the announcement of a new national lockdown from yesterday. You can read the latest available government guidance on the gov dot uk website. This is still to be finalised pending legislation passing through parliament next week, but contains useful pointers on many subjects – as well as not yet covering many others.
  • You can also Watch the presentation by the government’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer – together with the Prime Minister – for charts stating their case for a national lockdown (a few are copied below but I recommend watching the presentation in full for the descriptions).
  • People locally – and throughout the South West region – may be suprising and/or frustrated by national rules given that, on the whole, the number of infections, people needing to go to hospital and the numbers of people dying are lower where we live. However, rises in all but the numbers of people dying are clear in Stroud and Gloucestershire, and sadly it appears that the region is on a similar path to others – see below for full details.
  • The new restrictions have a wide variety of impacts that this update is not the space to discuss, but we regularly cover in our facebook group. I know there are severe economic impacts for many, and emotional and mental health pressures for all of us. We as a group are not here to endorse any particular policy or strategy beyond taking the virus seriously – and helping people to understand what the government and scientific advice is as it evolves. We are volunteering to help people in our community support each other and will be issuing a statement on our plans for the next few months soon.
  • 1,832 people have tested positive across Gloucestershire in October so far (test results from the past week or so may not yet have been returned or added to the data), more than 4x the 428 in the whole of September.
  • There have been 94 positive test results associated with someone living in Stroud district providing a specimen in the week up to the 30th October. However, this figure will not include recent tests. The numbers of positive tests continue to rise.
  • In the most recent week in Gloucestershire there have been 307 positive test results returned so far – again, a continual rise can be seen.
  • Higher numbers of positive tests cannot be explained by higher numbers of tests alone: There isn’t data for Stroud or Gloucestershire specifically publicly available, but for the South West region, the percentage of tests conducted in hospitals or through the community sites in the South West that return positive results has increased from 0.4% for Week 27 (ending 3rd July) to 5.9% for week 43 ending 23rd October. This is broadly in line with the UK position, though test positivity is now up to 7.6%.
  • Data for the South West region is available to the 29th October – and shows daily hospital admissions are steadily rising – with 88 on the 28th October. This is still much lower than the 357 on the 28th in the North East and Yorkshire, but the rising trend is clear.
  • The UK is the 9th country to identify over 1 million cases – 181,013 people tested positive in the most recent week (32,283 more than tested positive in the previous week).
  • Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 26th Oct was 9,562 (this has since risen to 10,918). A rise of 2,589 (37%) since midnight on the 19th Oct. For comparison, on the 27th March – the earliest data for comparable data, there were 7,043 patients, and at the peak on 12th April 19,849 patients in hospital – in other words, hospitals already have over half as many COVID-19 patients in them as at the previous peak.

Nationally, ONS data shows

Globally,

  • Over 46 million people have been confirmed to have SARS-COV-2 – though this will not include people who have not been tested.
  • Over 30 million people have been deemed to have recovered – a figure that is also a significant understimate.
  • Nearly 1.2 million people have died with Covid-19 attributed as at least part of the cause.
  • 51,496 people died in the most recent week – the highest weekly number since the week-ending 5th August.

Local

There have been 94 positive test results associated with someone living in Stroud district providing a specimen in the week up to the 30th October. However, this figure will not include recent tests – specimens will still be being process. In short, the 50 positives we reported the the week before has risen to 77 since more results have been processed, and may rise further. While data is not available for Stroud district on the number of tests done, this rapid rise in positive results cannot be explained purely by an increase in testing – particularly given increased testing took place from May till July and didn’t identify such a trend. More people are testing positive because there are more people who are infected with the virus. It is clear from the charts below that this pattern is occuring across Gloucestershire, the South West, England and the UK – and where data is available it confirms the proportion of tests that return positive results is rising, again indicating the rise is not a function of higher numbers of tests being done.

Source: gov.uk data download

In the most recent week in Gloucestershire there have been 307 positive test results returned so far. This figure will rise as new results are reported. For the previous week, the number rose from 307 to 467 and may still rise as results are processed. While across the county the number of positive test results does not appear to be rising as fast as it was early in October, numbers are still very high compared to where they were – and we don’t know if everyone is getting tested – the data does not suggest anyone can be complacent.

Source: gov.uk data download

1,832 people have tested positive across Gloucestershire in October so far (test results from the past week or so may not yet have been returned or added to the data), more than 4x the 428 in the whole of September, and 136 in August (to reiterature, the number of tests conducted has undoubtedly not increased by four times between the two months so this reflects more infections not just more testing).

Comparisons with March and April are included in the chart below in a different colour – as all of those cases were hospitalised, while since May testing has been for “anyone with symptoms” (and people’s contacts) – in an effort to control the spread of the virus and limit hospitalisations and deaths (see below for data on hospitalisations and deaths). Hence, though the number of positive tests in October is technically higher than April, we know there were far more people with the virus in April than there have been in the past month who were not tested/recorded in this data. (There will also be some more even in October – as not everyone seeks or is able to get a test, or know that they need one – but a far higher proportion of people with the virus are being picked up now, and represent largely but not always milder cases than in the spring).

Source: gov.uk data download

There is a new version of the government’s interactive map which shows weekly cases at a more localised scale than districts (an alternative map shows this as dots, which get larger per number of cases rather than being restricted to “400+” as in the map below).

In the most recent week of data, this shows:

  • 11 people testing positive in Wotton-under-Edge
  • 10 in Nailsworth
  • 10 in Chalford and Bussage
  • 7 in Berkeley and Sharpness
  • 7 in Dursley
  • 6 in Ebley and Randwick
  • 6 in Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe
  • 6 in Stroud Town
  • 6 in Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington
  • 4 in Minchimhampton
  • 4 in Leonard Stanley & Uley
  • 4 in Upton-St-Leonards and Hardwicke
  • 3 in Cam
  • 3 in Stonehouse
  • 0-2 in Rodborough & Thrupp

The highest number of people testing positive per MSOA in Gloucestershire in the past week was again in Barton in Gloucester: 19 (18 last week).

The below charts show daily rates for Stroud and the other parts of Gloucestershire. You can see a clear shared pattern where positive test results are rising in all areas recently – and how this related to the previous peak (bear in mind higher numbers of tests done now, and lower severity of the cases identified as they are not all at point of hospitalisation. Positive ates are rising most significantly in Gloucestershire, Stroud, Cheltenham and Cotswold, and less so in the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury. Thanks to Richard Bedford for collating the data upon which these charts are built.

Richard Bedfor has also pulled together the data for areas within Stroud district, and crated a chart upon which the below chart is based. It is hard to read this for each individual area – but the broad point is that positive test results are now coming in from around the district, and broadly rising in each part of the district.

As across the country, the number of people admitted to hospital or diagnosed with Covid-19 in hospital is increasing.

The number of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire is elevated by doesn’t appear to be rising: 14 on the 27th October, 15 on 20th October, 13 on the 13th, 7 on the 8th, and 5 on the 1st October. You can see that were were many days in September where there were no Covid-19 patients occupying beds locally, but a steady recent rise (the chart below show “the number of beds containing confirmed COVID-19 patients (as at 08:00)”).

Source: NHS Covid-19 Hospital Activity

Data for the South West region is available to the 29th October – and shows daily hospital admissions are steadily rising. While numbers are lower than for other regions (88 on the 26th Oct is the highest recent daily number for the South West, compared to 357 on the 28th in the North East and Yorkshire, and 344 in the North West on the 29th) – the trend is following a similar trajectory (see national section below).

In October so far there have been 1,065 Covid-19 admissions to hospital or diagnoses in hospital across the South West. 18 of these have come from care homes. The number of admissions and diagnoses is already more than seven times (which would be 945) the 135 for the whole of September (0 from care homes).

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 (1st November) that 605 people [aged 20-69] may actively have the virus in Stroud district (up from 455 on the 24th, and more than triple the 183 I reported on the 3rd Oct).

The Study also estimates 2,293 active cases in South Gloucestershire (up from 1,135, five times the rate 416 on the 3rd October), 625 active cases in nearby Gloucester (up from 404 last week), 583 in Cotswold (up from 282), 366 in Cheltenham (up from 337), 720 Tewkesbury (447) and 328 in the Forest of Dean (228). Estimates are substantially higher than they were a few weeks ago, and are still rising, everywhere in Gloucestershire.

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.

There are 3,757 people contributing to the Covid Symptom Study app in the district (fewer than last week). The more people contribute, the more accurate local (and national) estimates will be, and the app is valuable for other reasons – drawing attention to the latest research from the study, for example. It is a different app to the NHS Covid-19 app. Download the ZOE Covid-19 app to a smartphone via this link.

People who have died locally

  • 585 people have died in Gloucestershire with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (ONS filtered data download). The last person to die in the county had their death registered in the week ending 9th October – though we have no data beyond this point to assess.
  • 92 of the 585 people to have died in Gloucestershire with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate were from Stroud district. The figure for Stroud district has thankfully not increased since week 24 (12th June), when two people from the district’s deaths were registered.
  • Nationally, as the chart below shows, the rate at which people are dying with deaths attributed at least in part to Covid-19 is increasing. The default chart uses a “logarithmic” scale to better show the rate of increase, you can switch to “linear” to see that the recent numbers are still relatively low compared to the previous peak (for the time being).

National

The below chart shows that the daily number of new Covid-19 deaths continues to rise in the UK. The chart is interactive, so you can change how it displays and add countries for comparisons.

We’ve been made aware of a website that collates national (and local, and some international) data nicely. This shows, for instance, that the 117.6 positive tests per 100,000 people in Stroud district in the latest week’s data is nearly double last week’s 63.4/100k, but also puts the area among the medium for the country (100-200). In a large number of areas over 300 cases have been identified in the past week: e.g. 780.3 in Oldham. Explore the interactive map yourself.

You may also be interested in the Independent SAGE video released on Friday 30th October.

Ths is a chart showing the proportion of tests in the UK that are positive. The chart shows how:

  • At the lowest point – at the end of July – just 0.4% of people tested were testing positive, but the proportion testing positive is now over 5% (1 in in every 20 people tested) – 7.6% of people tested on October 26th, tested positive.

While data on the numbers of tests or share of tests that are positive isn’t available for Stroud or Gloucestershire specifically (at least so far), a chart below shows the same thing but for the South West.

The percentage of tests conducted in hospitals or through the community sites in the South West that return positive results has increased from 0.4% for Week 27 (ending 3rd July) to 5.9% for week 43 ending 23rd October.

Source: PHE spreadsheet as part of weekly Covid-19 and flu surveillance

Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 26th Oct was 9,562 (this has since risen to 10,918). A rise of 2,589 (37%) since midnight on the 19th Oct. For comparison, on the 27th March – the earliest data for comparable data, there were 7,043 patients, and at the peak on 12th April 19,849 patients in hospital – in other words, hospitals already have over half as many COVID-19 patients in them as at the previous peak.

There is quite a lot of regional variation regarding patients in hospital. It is understandable that people in the South West may have a different experience of what is happening and why national lockdown is necessary, given there have never been as many patients in our hospitals as in other parts of the country. However, in the North West, and North East and Yorkshire – where over 3 times as many people were in hospital at any time compared to the South West during the sprint, the numbers of patients in hospital now are basically the same as they were in the spring peak (as was discussed by the government’s CMO and SCO yesterday – see slide below)

Source: CMO/SCO press conference presentation

The CMO and CSO also presented a projection for daily hospital admissions across England based on the existing trend. Without action they argue that daily admissions would exceed the first wave peak by mid-Nov to early-December.

They also presented winter scenarios for deaths, suggesting with no changes in policy or behaviour daily deaths could exceed the first wave peak throughout late December – potentially being at their worst around Christmas at, in their chart, up to 3-5 times as high as in the first peak.

Please do watch the presentation in full as I have not included every chart. One more I think is worth including shows how infection rates have increased for different age groups. The chart shows infection rates moving from yellow through red and purple to black for different age groups over the most recent weeks (from left to right). In the South West, East of England and South East, rates are highest for 18-29 year olds – but you can see in the West Midlands, London, and East Midlands how as these rates have increased they have also – at a lag – begun to increase in the higher age groups 30-44 and 45-64. Finally, in Yorkshire and Humber, North West and North East you can see that rates for these age groups eventually all reach the highest level – and start to rise in the 65+ group as well, where they are now high for the most at risk age group (hence higher hospitalisation and numbers of people dying). In short: virus transmission cannot be assumed to stay contained among younger age groups without additional restrictions.

Each week, the ONS does a testing survey. This goes out like other survey work it isn’t based on symptoms or people seeking a test. This week (16th October they say:

  • an estimated 568,100 people (95% credible interval: 536,500 to 600,400) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19) during the most recent week, from 17 to 23 October 2020, equating to around 1 in 100 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 100 to 1 in 90). (up from last week’s “estimated 433,100 people 33,300 people (95% credible interval: 407,500 to 459,300) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19) during the most recent week, from 10 to 16 October 2020, equating to around 1 in 130 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 130 to 1 in 120).”
  • The COVID Symptom Study estimate 596,625 adults aged 20-69 in the UK with symptomatic COVID (a significant rise from the 484,921 last week – though as Prof Tim Spector from the study points out, rates are no longer ‘surging’, with this data source showing “The doubling rate for cases is currently 28 days”, and “Rates in the North of England are still around four times higher than the South of England although the gap is narrowing”
  • Read more about the ONS methdology, or the COVID Symptom Study page, “What do all the different COVID figures mean and how do they compare?
Source: ZOE/KCL COVID Symptom Sutdy

International

As of the 1st November,

  • Over 46 million people have been confirmed to have SARS-COV-2 (46,379,835)
  • The UK is the 9th country to identify over 1 million cases – France, Spain, Argentina and Colombia have all passed this same threshold this or last week, while Russia, Brazil, India and the US passed is some time ago – the US has over 9 million identified cases as of this week.
  • Nearly 1.2 million people have died (another 51,496 people in the most recent week – the highest weekly number since the week-ending 5th August)
  • Over 30 million people have been deemed to have recovered (30,926,660), with over 2 million added to this figure in the past week (2,295,922). This figure is likely an underestimate, just as confirmed cases is an underestimate of the number of people to have had the virus – as not everyone has had a test. Also, not all countries keep a track of ‘recoveries’ or do so fully – the UK government for instance only indicates 2,814 people have recovered (150 more than last week), but this is obviously well below the true number of people to have had the virus but survived.
  • There are now 21 countries where over 10,000 people have had their deaths attributed at least in part to Covid-19. In all but one of these the number of people to die in the most recent week was higher than the number of people who died in the week before.
  • Above data is from John Hopkins University.

The chart below compares cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people for selected countries as of the 17th October. Peru has the highest rate at over 1,000 people per million (or more than 1 in every 1,000 people). The UK is among the countries with the highest rates per million people: 686 – lower than the US (697), but higher than Italy (639). There are a number of countries with very low rates: Taiwan (0.29), Vietnam (0.36) and Thailand (0.85) have extremely low rates (and have opened up much more fully than the UK ever has as a result). Rates that are much lower than those in the UK can also be found in other countries in Europe, though even Sweden (588), Germany (125), Finland (65) and Greece (60) have done badly compared to the countries with the lowest rates.

You can compare different countries, and see trends over time, using the OurWorldInData website.

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.

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 “Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know” online (last updated 12th October – 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.