New government guidance has been out since 19th July – many things that were legal requirements no longer are, but some are still advised (see the NHS “How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus” page). Please also read our SCCR statement on the current situation, which underlines that “we can still choose to act conscientiously and with compassion for others“, when numbers of infections locally are high, and there are people in our community who have do not have the protection granted by vaccination (including those who cannot have jabs, or do not benefit as much from them because of a health condition/treatment).
- The good news is that the number of people to have tested positive across the UK in the past 7 days is 267,875 – 48,816 fewer people testing positive in the week compared to the previous week (a 15.4% decrease). Daily cases appear to have peaked on the 15th July, by the date samples were submitted, at 60,724, and have been falling since. They may rise again, but – if nothing else – the fall over the last few days is a much better sign than continued rises would have been. However, these numbers do not yet include the effects of the reopening on the 19th July, are still high. Further, there is no sign of such a fall locally, and concerning data regarding local hospitals.
- Sadly, after a period of 11 weeks (16th April – to 2nd July) in which no-one from Stroud district died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, one more death has been added to the total (200 people from the district have now had their death attributed to Covid-19 to some extent, and based on national data, around 80% of these people died because of Covid-19 rather than with it as an additional factor in their death. The total number of people from Gloucestershire to die with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate is now 1,188.
- Conceringly, 60 patients were admitted/diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 in the week to the 18th July – nearly double the 35 in the previous week. There is now a clearly rising trend. While many are being discharged fairly quickly, there are now 19 people in Gloucestershire hospitals with Covid-19 (as of 20th July, the most recent data), which is again nearly double the number last week (10). Thankfully, the data do not show anyone in a mechanical ventilation bed at the moment. However, given hospital admissions lag cases, it now appears to be the cases we will see many more admissions locally – related to the large spike in numbers of people testing positive.
- Both Stroud district and Gloucestershire as a whole recorded the highest ever numbers of people testing positive by PCR or Lateral Flow Device (in the week to 21st July): 553 in Stroud district, and 2,436 across Gloucestershire. We know not everyone gets tested. The ZOE app estimates 983 people in Stroud district have active symptomatic infections – which is up 141 on last week and equates to around 1 in every 125 people in the district (high, but a little lower than the rate for England as a whole estimated by the ONS last week: 1 in every 75 people)
- Across Gloucestershire the number of people to test positive in the most recent week is around 409 per 100,000 people or roughly one in every 245 people. ZOE don’t provide a number for Gloucestershire as a whole, but the number of people with active symptomatic infections could be higher than the number testing positive.
- In the county, rates are highest in Gloucester (at over 500 per 100,000 / more than 1 in every 200 people testing positive in the last week: 514 per 100,000), and among people aged 15-194 (with more than 1 in every 100 people of that age in Gloucestershire testing positive in the last week alone, 1,247 per 100,000). They have risen fastest in Stroud district (to 469 per 100,000). In Stroud district, the area with the highest rate is Leonard Stanley and Uley, where 49 people have tested positive in the past week (up 38 on the previous week – in other words essentially quadrupling), giving a rate of 709 per 100,000 (or more than 1 in every 150 people).
- The number of people in hospital with the virus nationally contines to rise. At 5,001 on the 22nd July, it is more than double the 2,468 on the 6th July (16 days later). We know hospitalisations lag infections, so this number can be expected to continue rising for at least a few weeks. If the number doubles again over roughly the next fortnight, there will be roughly as many people in hospital as on the 26th October 2020 (10,108) – which was 6 days before the second national lockdown was introduced.
- Across Stroud district, around 62% of the population are fully vaccinated, with a further 14% having received a first but not a second dose. People aged 18-29 have only recently started to be invited, but already 71% have had a first dose.
- There is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over. The number of people testing positive has been rising since June 19th to 533,000 daily (7-day-rolling average to July 24th) – driven by rises in countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America.
- Further detail and charts on the above and more are below.
The first chart shows a comparison of the key data for Gloucestershire. you can see how the number of people testing positive has shot up recently – to the highest ever number for a week. The age profile is very different – in large part because of vaccination, and – so far – far fewer people are ending up in hospital – again, in part because many people are vaccinated, and experiencing milder cases if they test positive as a result. However, it’s clear that the number of people being admitted to hospital is rising sharply now (purple-dashed line) – at a lag of a few weeks from the number testing positive as we’d expect. That is also feeding into a sustained number of people staying in hospital (red block). The numbers in hospital are currently relatively low – but you can see how sharply they rose in the second wave. It’s too early to say this won’t happen again this time, though we can hope that with high proportions of people, especially those most at risk, having been fully vaccinated, hospitalisations and deaths will be lower.
People who have tested positive
Rates of people testing positive per 100,000 people are highest in the Gloucester, with Stroud district not far behind (and rising fast). The rate in Stroud district – 469 per 100,000 on 20th July – more than doubled in a week (214 on the 13th July). Across Gloucestershire, the rate was 409 per 100,000 on the 20th July, double the rate on the 28th June (over three weeks). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire, or districts within it, on the government’s dashboard, and there is more information below.
The number of people testing positive by PCR or Lateral Flow Device in Gloucestershire has risen substantially but may be slowing down – 2,426 people tested positive for the first time in the week to 21st July. This is the highest number of people to test positive in a single week (though there were likely more people with the virus in a single week in the first ‘wave’ in Spring 2020, but access to testing was very limited). We’ve no expertise in predicting when this wave will peak. It’s worth adding that the age profile of those testing positive in the current ‘wave’ is very different to January – see chart below.
Though there has been a very considerable increase, this is associated mainly with younger people. That does not mean it’s not a problem, but it does suggest that vaccination is working well in the groups most likely to be fully vaccinated (people aged over 37 will have had time to get two jabs by now, but rates of full vaccination are much higher for people over 60, in part because of the longer time they’ve had to decide to take up the offer). The chart below shows the difference between people aged over and under 60. Over the week to the 20th July, 2,479 people aged under 60 tested positive in Gloucestershire (95% of those to test positive), compared to 125 people aged 60 or over (5% of the total – the same proportion as last week). Cases are rising among over 60s – but you can see how different the relationship is now to in the ‘second wave’ – when rates among under and over 60s were very similar (over 60s were more likely to test positive in the ‘first wave’ because only people being admitted to hospital were able to access tests).
The highest rate in Stroud districr (and possibly Gloucestershire – there’s not an easy way to check other than clicking through each area when the rates are all the same ‘high’ level and coloured purple) is Leonard Stanley and Uley, where 49 people have tested positive in the past week (up 38 on the previous week – in other words essentially quadrupling), giving a rate of 709 per 100,000 (or more than 1 in every 150 people).
You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.
If we look at the number of PCR tests being done in Gloucestershire, we can see the rise in the number of people testing positive isn’t just about more testing being done (though more people are getting tested – an indication that more have symptoms/are contacts of people who have tested postive). There has been a notable rise in the proportion of tests that return positive results (9.6% of the 27,961 people tested by PCR in the 7 days to 20th July tested positive, compared to a low of 0.2% between 24th April – 13th, and 16-21st May). There are a few things to say about the chart below:
- The number of people being tested is roughly as high as it’s ever been, setting new records over the past week. However, it’s not the case that we’re only finding more cases because more people are being tested.
- The proportion testing positive is continuing to rise. The proportion is close to as high as it was in the January peak (11.9%) when testing capacity was overloaded.
- The trend is clear, but as you can see from the previous peaks, it can turn very quickly. In previous instances this appears to have been primarily because of the introduction of stricter restrictions, but this time infections should eventually hit a wall of vaccinated people – and together with those with current or prior infections, should run out of ‘susceptible’ people to infect. Or isolation of people who test positive and quarantining of contacts could break transmission. It’s hard to know when either will happen.
In Stroud District specifically, 553 people tested positive in the most recent week – to 21st July. This is nearly doubling since the previous week (292 – doubling woud have been 584). This is a much higher number of people testing positive in a single week than the previous peak in January of 310. As for Gloucestershire as a whole, the age breakdown is now very different (and more people will have had the virus in a week at the peak in the first wave but not been tested).
We do know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). This week they estimate 983 people with active symptomatic infections in the district – up 141 on a week ago, and basically at the same level as estimated for the January peak.
- Everyone 18 or over should’ve been contacted by their GP surgery and invited to book their vaccination at either The Vale, Beeches Green or Rowcroft, depending on which surgery they’re registered with. If anyone has not been contacted, please ring your GP.
- Alternatively, use the national booking system for other sites (including beyond Stroud district) or “Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination” website and enter your postcode to find dates and times of sessions and the vaccines being offered (first doses or seconds eight weeks after your first, Pfizer, AZ, or Moderna – the latter in Bristol at least)
- The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has issued new advice that some children should be offered vaccination for COVID-19. Government hasn’t adopted this advice yet, but they’ve implemented the rest of what the JCVI have said, so it’ll be a matter of time. The JCVI list is:
- children and young people aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious COVID-19,
- children and young people aged 12 years and over who are household contacts of persons (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed
- children who are within three months of their 18th birthday
Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that:
Across Stroud district, around 62% of the population are fully vaccinated, with a further 13% having received a first but not a second dose (75% of the population has received at least one dose). People aged 18-29 have only recently started to be invited, but already 72% have had a first dose. However, an estimated 2,927 people in the district aged 50 and over have not taken up the offer of vaccination. An estimated 8,981 people aged 18-50 have not yet taken up the offer of vaccination, but vaccination has not been available to them for as long.
Rates are similar, though a little lower across Gloucestershire and the South West. In England as a whole – where 55% of the population are now estimated to be fully vaccinated and a further 15% have had one dose (leaving 31% unvaccinated – many of whom are not eligible due to being under 16). Rates locally and nationally are much higher than for the world as a whole – where only 14% are fully vaccinated and around 1 in 4 have received at least one dose. In many countries, under 5% of the population has received at least one dose.
As of the 18th July (the most recent available data) there had been 839,603 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire. 14,105 doses were delivered in the week, making it the ‘slowest’ week for doses we have data for (obviously this is partly because there are fewer people left to take up the offer). More people have received a second dose as received a first 10 weeks ago (371,762 compared to 362,871).
What has the impact of these vaccinations been? The chart below, from Gloucestershire Hospitals (shared by both their Chief Nurse and ICU consultant Dave Windsor) compared the Covid vaccination status of the adult Gloucestershire as of July 2021 with the same status for admissions for Covid to the hospitals between April and July 2021 (with around 65% of adults double vaccinated, and another 20% sinble vaccinated, leaving 15% of adults unvaccinated). Around 65% of admissions have been unvaccinated people – though they only make up 15% of adults. On the other hand, only 15% of admissions have been in double vaccinated people, even though they make up 65% of adults, and include the people most at risk from the virus.
Public Health England are publishing weekly estimates of vaccine effectiveness based on stuies on the real-world data. The latest report (to 22nd July) shows, for example:
- One dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca reduces mortality by 70-85% (medium confidence).
- One dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca reduces transmission by 35-50% (low confidence).
- Two doses of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca reduces hospitalisation by 80-99% (low to medium confidence)
NHS Gloucestershire have a website where you can “Find the information you need about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Gloucestershire in one place. Visit the site for the latest updates, info on priority groups, FAQs and more”. Gloucestershire County Council have a hub for information on vaccines, including “a new online form for vaccination queries from the public and stakeholders“.
We’ve published five videos of clips from an interview with Dr Tom Malins (click to watch on Youtube). And check out our previous video with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“.
If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious immediately after receiving your vaccination.
Across the UK, the number of people to have tested positive in the past 7 days is 267,875 – 48,816 fewer people testing positive in the week compared to the previous week (a 15% decrease). The decrease has been sustained for a number of days, with the figure for the 22nd – 29,070 people who submitted specimens that produced positive results being less than half the 60,724 from the 15th, a week earlier (though some results from the 22nd may not have been returned yet, it’s hard to believe it those remaining will alter this position signficantly. Whether this trend will be sustained for long, particularly in the context of the reopening which took place on the 19th July and wouldn’t have factored into case numbers yet, remains to be seen. But at least numbers have fallen rather than continued to rise.
Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 767,618 people had a symptomtic infection on the 19th July, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This is pretty close to their estimate for the peak in January (801,461). Based on the reporting of symptoms and positive test results, Zoe estimate cases much higher among unvaccinated people (36,250 new cases on 17th July), and lower among those vaccinated, around 11,000 infections in people with 1 dose, and 13,000 in people with two (of whom there are many more than there are people with no vaccinations, remember) – with Zoe also reporting that infections after vaccination are less severe.
The number of people in hospital with the virus nationally has been rising. At 5,001 on the 22nd July, it is more than double the 2,468 on the 6th July (16 days later). We know hospitalisations lag infections, so this number can be expected to continue rising for at least a few weeks. If the number doubles again over roughly the next fortnight, there will be roughly as many people in hospital as on the 26th October 2020 (10,108) – which was 6 days before the second national lockdown was introduced, and in early March.
The number of patients being admitted is rising fast – 4,317 in the last 7 days. The daily number of 917 on the 20th July is the highest daily number since 968 people were admitted on the 25th February, and about double the 460 on the 4th June (doubling in 16 days – on a 7-day average basis doubling in 18 days). We send our best wishes to all these patients.
The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds, the sickest patients, is still rising: 699 on the 22nd July, more than double the 336 on the 4th (18 days previously). This is still some distance from the peak of 4,077 people on 24th January 2021, but less than 3 doublings away. The lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August. We send our best for the recovery of all Covid-19 patients in hospital.
The numbers of people dying are rising but still relatively low – 213 people had Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the week to 9th July (up from 132 the previous week). However, we know it takes time for people to get sick, and certainly sick enough to die, and so these numbers do not reflect the recent rises in infections/hospitalisations (though a rise in deaths on track with these is far from certain – as most of those most at risk have now been vaccinated).
The number of people testing positive has been rising since June 19th to 533,000 daily (7-day-rolling average to July 24th)
The numbers of people dying with their deaths attributed to Covid-19 continue to rise, particularly in South America, Asia, and Africa.
In terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths relative to the population, the United Kingdom has a fairly high rate (1,906 – around one in every 525 people), but lower than the worst hit countries – such as Peru (5,921 per million, or around one in every 170 people), Hungary (3,108), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2,949), and Czechia (2,835). The UK rate is lower than for the continent of South America (2,496 Covid-19 deaths per million), but slightly higher than that for the European Union as a whole (1,670), and for North America (1,549) as a whole – but broadly in line with those continents (and this may reflect differences in testing/attribution). However, there are some countries with lower death rates – including Germany (1,093 – not much over half the UK rate), or much lower rates – Finland and Norway have rates 10 times lower than the UK (177 and 147 per million), and South Korea, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Vietnam have rates that barely register compared to the worst hit areas (though some of these countries have current outbreaks that may increase mortality, hopefully outbreaks can be controlled / vaccination can rollout before they reach the levels seen in other parts of the world).
In terms of vaccination, the UK has a very high proportion who have received at least one dose (68% of population) – behind only a few countries such as Canada (71%), Chile (71%) and UAE (77% – see the chart below). The UK’s rate for full vaccination (54%) is also very high in terms of global comparisons: three times as high as across South America (18%), and more than 5 times higher than the proportion across Asia (10%). Across Africa, just 3% of the population have received any vaccination, and only 1.6% are fully vaccinated.
There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to mark getting their own vaccination.
The core advice remains: If you have symptoms (or if you are asked to by contact tracers), self-isolate until you have a negative test – or for 10 days since your symptoms appeared if you test positive or are asked to by Test and Trace. If you are struggling with self-isolating, please get in touch with us or with one of the local support groups, or call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week to self-refer or visit NHS Volunteer Responders. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.
Book a test via this link. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not. Twice weekly rapid tests are available to everyone in England without symptoms. If you have symptoms, there is a permanent unit at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park. See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire.
Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the public health advice to meet outside when possible, keep indoor spaces well ventilated with fresh air, 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.
If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.
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. We 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. We’re also volunteers with no public health expertise – collating and signposting to other sources for guidance.
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.
Your suggestions for inclusion of data in these summaries are welcome. Please submit posts to our Facebook group.