Before local and national data, key links around vaccinations, testing, and government guidance:
- Information about the “Spring booster” rollout in Gloucestershire on the local NHS website.
- Details regarding the testing system – including who can access tests
- What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19
- What to do if you’ve been in close contact with someone with COVID-19
- How to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19
- Summary government “Guidance for living safely with respiratory infections, including coronavirus (COVID-19)“
The latest local data:
The total number of people who have tested positive and are occupying any hospital bed in Gloucestershire was 118 on the 19th April, down from 145 on the 12th, and a recent peak of 170 on the 2nd March.
Sadly, another 24 people died with COVID-19 listed as a cause of death in the most recent week (to 8th April), 5 of them had lived in Stroud district. This is the highest weekly total number of deaths of people who had lived in Gloucestershire since 5th Feb 2021, when 43 people died. We can hope, however, that this might represent a peak and that the number of people dying each week should not be falling.
These deaths bring the total number of people who have died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death cerficiate in Gloucestershire to 1,497, and in Stroud to 283. Of these, 176 in Gloucestershire (11% of the total) and 44 in Stroud have been in 2022 (15% of the total).
The Office for National Statistics produce estimates for the percentage of people that would test positive in a week, based on a large scale PCR-test based ‘infection survey’ designed to represent the population. The chart below shows recent data for Gloucestershire and England.Because of the Easter holidays the ONS infection survey has not produced estimates at the county level. However, the national data is encouragingly showing a peak around the 28th March which prevalence of infections falling since, to around 5.9% or 1 in every 17 people in the week to 16th April (and likely continuing to fall since). This is obviously still very high, but is down from 7.6% or 1 in every 13 people in the week to 3rd April.
Estimates by the ZOE app / Kings College London team, based on reporting of symptoms and test results by app users, more up to date but less representative of the population than ONS – confirm a dip locally in Stroud district as nationally. Their latest estimate is 7,350 people with the virus across the district (6.1%), down from a highest ever total of around 8,800 people in Stroud district (or 7.3%). Regardless of the precise figure, broadly, the high level and new downward trend appear to be confirmed by several sources.
Paul Mainwood’s chart below compares different estimates for the total number of people with the virus at any one time, and the trend. This uses the ONS ‘infection survey’ based on a large representative sample of people being tested (green), and the total numbers of people confirmed to test positive can also be multiplied up to match these other estimates based on a historic ratio (red). Though lower numbers of people testing themselves due to symptoms / as contacts / etc mean ‘case ascertainment’ (ie, identification of infections) is lower, the ONS shows there really is a falling trend.
Read more from the ONS infection survey on a weekly basis. The chart in the tweet below shows rates falling across the nations of the UK:
The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 across the UK has fallen from a recent peak of 20,134 people on the 11th April, to 16,447 on the 21st April. The number of patients in mechanical ventilation beds – 339 – has dropped from a peak of 385 on 12th April. Follow the link to the tweet below for breakdown by English region. Hospital admissions have fallen across the South West by 18%.
A higher proportion of people in hospital with COVID are being treated primarily for something else than previously BUT as the charts below show, the number of people being primarily treated for COVID has nonethless been significant. However, the number of people being treated primarily for COVID is now falling across the South West and all English hospitals.
This week the ONS issued new estimates about the number of people to have been infected over most of the pandemic (excluding the early period before their infection survey was running, and the most recent weeks). They found that: “In England, an estimated 38.5 million people had coronavirus (COVID-19) between 27 April 2020 and 11 February 2022 (90% credible intervals: 36.0 million to 41.2 million), equating to 70.7% of the population (90% credible intervals: 66.0% to 75.6%).”
Adding the weeks at the beginning and end, mean that in reality probably around 80% of people in England have had infections at one time or another (and some will have multiple infections).
1,131 people who had lived in the UK, died with COVID-19 listed on their death certificate in the most recent week of data – to 8th April. The ONS find that “Of the 960 deaths involving COVID-19 [in England and Wales], 64.3% (617 deaths) had this recorded as the underlying cause of death in Week 14, compared with 62.0% in Week 13.” (this is a lower percentage than previously in the pandemic when it was often around 90%. Other death certificate mentions refer to COVID-19 as a contributory cause to death).
13,140 people who had lived in the UK died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate as at least contributing to their death in 2022 so far, of a total 190,124 people since the pandemic began (around 7%).
There are other important things to say about deaths – for instance that the highest rates of deaths are still in the most deprived areas (though this inequality is reducing in recent weeks)
It’s also important to note that – unlike in previous waves in the pandemic, COVID-19 deaths are no longer pushing the number of deaths in a given week well above the average.
In addition to the chart above for England you can view a summary of the trends for the UK on the government dashboard at this link (you can also explore the data by nation, region, or local authority area).
Whether people have access to testing strongly influences confirmed case numbers by continent, but across the world as a whole cases are falling having been rising again until recently. around 5 million people tested positive in the week to 21st April, about half the 10.1 million in the week to the 1st April. This is driven by falls in Asia, Europe, and South America.
Making comparisons between countries with regard to total death rates over the course of the whole pandemic is difficult, in part because of differing ability to record deaths, but also because of wider differences between countries such as what proportion of the population is most at risk. Nonetheless, it’s important to understand how badly some places have been affected. The UK’s death rate of 2,539 per million is less than half that of the two worst affected countries – Peru (more than 6,377 deaths per million people) and Bulgaria (more than 5,300 deaths per million people), and there are more than 20 countries with worst reported death tolls relative to population. Not all countries are shown on the chart below, but a selection of countries with lower death tolls and data considered to be accuate are. By following the links, you can construct your own charts.
It’s also worth saying that we ought to consider ‘excess mortality’ when making comparisons (which will include COVID-19 deaths that haven’t been recorded as such, and the wider impact of the pandemic on healthcare capacity and other causes of death related to the restrictions introducted). The chart below shows how different countries have had very different levels of excess mortality – from Australia, Taiwan and Japan experiencing fewer deaths over the period than would be expected, through the UK at around 10% more deaths, and up to Poland – approaching 20% more detahs since January 2020.
Please refer to the NHS guidance on:
- what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19,
- what to do if you’ve been in close contact with someone with COVID-19,
- how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19
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 have making life difficult for many people. We’re also volunteers with no public health expertise – collating and signposting to other sources for guidance and authoritative data.
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.