15th Nov 2020 data update

Each week, our team member James Beecher summarises the latest local and national Covid-19 data.

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

  • The big news this week is that – by one definition – there have sadly been over 50,000 people who have died having had a positive Covid-19 test within 28 days.
  • However, while there has been a lot of misleading commentary about how some people might die within 28 days of something else, these numbers are outweighed by those who die of Covid without a positive test and those who die more than 28 days after having one. Hence, the ONS data – which uses clinical references on death certificates, shows 56,698 people have died with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate in England and Wales – and before 30th October – alone. This is 11.2% of all deaths to that date this year.
  • There have also been conflicting estimates/evidence around whether the UK has ‘passed the peak of the second wave’. The ZOE/KCL team argue COVID is declining across the UK (“There are currently 35,963 daily new symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 1 November (excluding care homes). This compares to 42,049 daily new symptomatic cases a week ago”, but the “the sixth REACT study show that between 16 and 2 November” (by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori) finds:
    • “prevalence of infection was 1.3%, meaning 130 people per 10,000 were infected, up from 60 people per 10,000 in the previous report”
    • “since the last REACT report in early October, the virus has been doubling every 24 days”
    • “prevalence increased across all age groups”
    • “the epidemic has progressed from specific at-risk groups to a more generalised pattern of transmission”
  • There have been 186 positive test results associated with someone living in Stroud district providing a specimen in the week up to the 13th November. A chart below shows the significant rise there has been in Stroud district recently (from 52 positive test results in the week to 9th October, and 9 in the week to 18th September).
  • In the most recent week there have been 945 positive test results returned so far in Gloucestershire. This figure will rise as new results are reported. For the previous week, the number rose from 667 to 828 and may still rise as results are processed (see chart below).
  • Halfway through the month of November, there have already been nearly as many positive test results across Gloucestershire (1,700) as there were in October (2,072). The number of tests conducted will have increased – but certainly not by 4-5 times, during that period. Nationally (the only level where we can check this data, the number of Pillar 1 (hospital) and 2 (community) tests that were conducted in October (8,176,343) is not even twice as many as in September: it is 1.28 times as many.
  • The most recent data shows 84 people with Covid-19 in Gloucestershire hospital beds (10th November), more than double the 40 the week previously (3rd November), which was double the 19th the week before (27th Oct).
  • 591 people from Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, as of data to week 44 (30th October). Four people have died in recent weeks with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate: 1 from the Forest of Dean, 1 from Cotswold district, 1 from Gloucester, and 1 from Cheltenham. All four died in hospital.
  • 92 people from Stroud district have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate. No-one from Stroud distrist has died with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate since week 24 (ending 12th June).

National

  • Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 9th November was 14,260. A rise of 1,881 (15.2%) since midnight on the 2nd November (12,379). It’s worth saying that the rise is much lower than last week (2,817 / 30%), so hopefully this means we are approaching the peak. 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 have 72% as many COVID-19 patients in them as at the previous peak.

Regarding the number of people who have died, ONS data – based on what is recorded by clinicians on death certificates – shows:

  • “In Week 44, the number of deaths registered was 10.1% above the five-year average (996 deaths higher).”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 44, 1,379 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 12.7% of all deaths in England and Wales; this is an increase of 401 deaths compared with Week 43 (when there were 978 deaths involving COVID-19, accounting for 9.1% of all deaths).”
  • “Of the 1,379 deaths that involved COVID-19, 1,196 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (86.7%); of the 1,922 deaths that involved Influenza and Pneumonia, 289 had this recorded as the underlying cause (15.0%).” [“the disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death”.] 
  • “Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 30 October 2020 was 505,834, which is 56,620 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 30 October, 56,698 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate; this is 11.2% of all deaths in England and Wales

More detail and charts for the local area

There have been 186 positive test results associated with someone living in Stroud district providing a specimen in the week up to the 13th November. However, this figure will not include recent tests – specimens will still be being process. In short, the 155 positives I reported for the week before has risen to 207 since remaining specimens submitted in that week have been processed. You can see on the chart what a significant rise there has been in Stroud district recently (from 52 positive test results in the week to 9th October, and 9 in the week to 18th September).

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

Source: gov.uk data download

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). We know even the current testing system does not catch everyone with the virus, but the numbers for March and April are certainly a huge underestimate as – unlike now – they did not include people with mild symptoms.

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)

In the most recent week of data, this shows, in Richard Bedford’s summary:

“Case numbers on all areas of Stroud District and surrounding areas continue to rise though not quite as rapidly as previously. There is some early sign that the current restrictions may be slowing the rate of increase but there is, as yet, no evidence of numbers of cases falling back (i.e. we are still going up the second wave but maybe the wave is starting to flatten to a peak…
Cases in Chalford and Bussage slightly less perhaps than last week , likewise in Minchinhampton.
Bear in mind that the data changes for all weeks from time to time as it continues to be “cleaned up” and also that the most recent weeks’ data changes a lot as cases trickle through. This is because the data is by specimen date and some tests take longer than others for results to get through and on to the database and clearly that is more true for very recent tests than for earlier ones.”

The below chart is from data compiled by Richard Bedford for the different parts of Stroud district. The short story is that positive test results are coming in from all parts of the district, rising in many – particularly Dursley, Stroud Town and Upton St Leonards (bear in mind these are positive test results. There could be more people with the virus in other places who have not gone to get tests).

Positive test results by MSOA (parts of Stroud district) for the most recent week are as follows

  • 35 – Dursley (up from 18 last week)
  • 19 – Upton St Leonards & Hardwicke (up from 13)
  • 19 – Nailsworth (up from 16)
  • 16 – Michinchimhamptom & Amberley (down from 23)
  • 16 – Wotton-under-Edge & Kingswood (down from 19)
  • 15 – Stroud Town (up from 6)
  • 14 – Ebley & Randwick (up from 9)
  • 14 – Leonard Stanley & Uley (up from 4)
  • 13 – Chalford & Bussage (down from 18)
  • 13 – Cam (up from 3)
  • 11 – Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (up from 6)
  • 8 – Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe (down from 10)
  • 8 – Stonehouse (up from 7)
  • 7 – Berkeley & Sharpness (up from 5)
  • 5 – Rodborough & Thrupp (down from 6)

The highest number of people testing positive per MSOA in Gloucestershire in the past week was Dursley, with 35 positive test results in the week – the chart below from the government’s interactive map shows a number of areas in and near Stroud district with high numbers of positive test results per 100,000 people over the past 7 days.

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

The most recent data shows 84 people with Covid-19 in Gloucestershire hospital beds (10th November), more than double the 40 the week previously (3rd November), which was double the 19th the week before (27th Oct). You can see that were were many days in September where there were no Covid-19 patients occupying beds locally, but a steady – and then more dramatic – 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

The number of bed occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients is already rising rapidly across the South West as a whole. There were 21 such patients on the 1st August, 15 on the 1st September, 36 on the 1st October, and 461 on the 1st November. The number looks set to double in the first two weeks of November, currently 765 on the 10th November.

More national information and charts

The below chart shows that the daily number of new Covid-19 deaths continues to rise in the UK (to a seven day average of 411 people dying) – although the rate does appear to be slowing. The chart is interactive, so you can change how it displays and add countries for comparisons.

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 November 11th, tested positive. While the proportion is high enough (over 5%) that it suggests people with the virus may not be being caught by the testing programme (according to the WHO), it is good news that the positivity rate is falling – hopefully an early indicator that the current wave is coming under control.

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 proportion of “Pillar 2” tests (conducted for people in the community) that returned positive results across the South West was 6.4% in the most recent week (to 12th November) – rising from a low of 0.3% in mid-July, but falling from 7% in the previous week.

* The proportion of “Pillar 1” tests (conducted for people in hospital) that returned positive results across the South West was 3.7% in the most recent week (to 12th November) – rising from a low of 0.1% in August, and from 3.5% the previous week – though the rise appears to be slowing.

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

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 (6th November they say:

  • “Positivity rates in England have increased in recent weeks, but the rate of increase is slower than previous weeks; during the most recent week (31 October to 6 November 2020), we estimate 654,000 people (95% credible interval: 619,400 to 689,800) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19), equating to around 1 in 85 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 90 to 1 in 80).” (up, but not by much, from last week: “”an estimated 618,700 people (95% credible interval: 583,100 to 655,000) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19) during the most recent week, from 25 to 31 October 2020, equating to around 1 in 90 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 95 to 1 in 85).”)
  • Importantly, they add: “Over the last week, positivity has increased in the South East, South West, East Midlands and the North East, whereas some other regions appear to have levelled off during this time period; the highest COVID-19 infection rates remain in the North West, and Yorkshire and The Humber.”
  • “During the most recent week (31 October to 6 November 2020), we estimate there were 8.75 new COVID-19 infections for every 10,000 people per day (95% credible interval: 7.25 to 10.93) in the community population in England, equating to around 47,700 new cases per day (95% credible interval: 39,500 to 59,600); the incidence rate has increased in recent weeks, and remains at about 50,000 new cases per day.”
  • Read more about the ONS methdology.

Global

Much less global data this week as I’ve not had time – apologies. Please do visit the link below for more comparisons and trends.

The chart below compares cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people for selected countries.

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.