24th January 2021 data update

A couple of things before this week’s data summary. First, this week we published a letter we sent to Gloucestershire County Council calling for clarity around the process for privately and self-employed social care workers in terms of accessing vaccines. The following day, the Council posted their “Step-by-step process for social care employers“, together with “a new online form for vaccination queries from the public and stakeholders“. NHS Gloucestershire have also launched 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”.

SCCR Team Member Rachel Sleigh has posted about the social care workers eligible for vaccination in priority group 2. Please continue to ask us questions/raise concerns and we will signpost to the best information we are aware of and/or pass on concerns as and when appropriate.

Secondly, here are links to some of the best contributions in our Facebook group lately. We’ve been organising posts by topic, see the topic link after each individual for more:

Key local data:

  • The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is still around 250 (251 patients, 28% of all patients in General and Acute beds), but appears to be rising – and we understand there were just 8 unoccupied beds available to further Covid-19 patients – all data as of 19th January – the latest publicly available data. At a national level, the situation in many hospitals remains awful.
  • In Stroud district, 153 people tested positive in the 7 days to the 22nd January, compared to 221 in the week to 15th Jan, and 272 and 310 in the two previous weeks (with the peak the week to 1st January) – not all tests will have been processed yet, but across Stroud district, Gloucestershire (and indeed the country it seems we are passing the peak number of people infected). No room for complacency yet – locally the number of people who tested positive in the most recent week is still higher than in all but the 8 worst weeks in the recent peak and the peak in mid-November.
  • 149 people from Stroud district have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate – as of the 8th January (the most recent publicly available data). This includes 4 people who died in the week to the 8th January. The weekly number has been falling since a recent peak of 9 people in the week to 25th December. Across Gloucestershire as a whole, 871 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate – with 51 dying in the week to the 8th January, the highest total in a week since May. By the 8th January, 95,829 people from the UK had died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate.
  • Using the 2019 ONS projected population estimates, I calculate 85.3% of people aged 80 and over in Gloucestershire have received at least one vaccine dose – while 3.6% of people aged 80 or over have had two doses. Across the UK as a whole, 59.4% of people aged 80+ have had one dose, and 11.3% two doses.
  • For people aged 50-80, 13% in Gloucestershire have received a dose, and 0.7% have received two doses. Those aged under 80 will be care home workers in priority group 1, frontline health and social care workers in priority group 2, as well as – for first doses – the first of those in priority group 3 – people aged 70-79 (with those aged 75 and over prioritised first).

Vaccinations

Thanks to newly available NHS data, we will be reporting on the progress of vaccinations each week from now on. And there’s good news from the start: the Financial Times reported that “Gloucestershire is leading the race in England to vaccinate its most vulnerable residents” (subscriber).

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that:

  • In total, there have been 65,026 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire: 62,140 first doses, and 2,886 second doses.
  • 2,886 people living in Gloucestershire have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine: 1,360 aged 80 and over, and 1,526 aged under 80. A further 30,543 people aged 80 and over have received a first dose, and 28,711 people aged under 80.
  • Using the 2019 ONS projected population estimates, I calculate 85.3% of people aged 80 and over in Gloucestershire have received at least one vaccine dose – while 3.6% of people aged 80 or over have had two doses. Across the UK as a whole, 59.4% of people aged 80+ have had one dose, and 11.3% two doses.
  • For people aged 50-80, 13% in Gloucestershire have received a dose, and 0.7% have received two doses. This compared to 10.3%, and 0.6% of 50-80 year olds, across England.
Source: FT journalist John Burn Murdoch on twitter

Hospitals – local, regional, national

The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is still around 250 across the General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and at 251 as of the 22nd January (the most recent date). The number is double the 13th November number (127). Numbers of patients in hospital tend to lag infections (as it takes time for people who get sick enough to need hospital treatment to get to that point), and it takes time for people admitted to hospital to recover, so it may be some time before we see these numbers fall.

Source: NHS hospital activity

In terms of the proportion of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, in the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals (the blue bars only in the chart above), this hit a new peak of 28% on the 6th January, fell to 25% on the 16th and 17th January, but rose to 28% on the 19th January (the most recent data available). This is over double the recent low of 13% on 21st November (double would be 26%).

Source: NHS hospital activity

Nationally, there are NHS Trusts that have been in much worse positions – where confirmed Covid-19 cases account for over half of General and Acute beds – Guardian article for the week to 12th January “NHS crisis in charts: how Covid has increased strain on health service” (three charts from which copied below)

Source: Guardian/NHS England

Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital appears to be peaking – at nearly 40,000 people (39,159 on the 18th January, 37,899 on the 21st – the most recent data available). This is nearly double (181%) the Spring 2020 peak – 21,684 Covid-19 patients on the 12th April, though testing may be catching more cases now).

The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds is also higher than in the Spring 2020 peak – hitting a new peak of 4,076 on 22nd January, compared to 3,301 on the 12th April (123% of the previous peak). This is despite the fact that other treatment options are often sought now (hence the lower proportion increase compared to for Covid-19 patients above)

Positive test results / estimates of numbers of people with the virus

In terms of positive test results, many of which we may reasonably expect to lead to further hospital admissions in weeks to come, these continue to be high in Gloucestershire – though they appear to be falling rapidly. The number of people testing positive in both December and January (to the 24th) has exceeded 5,000. Nearly 20,000 individual people from Gloucestershire have tested positive since the pandemic began.

In Stroud district, 153 people tested positive in the 7 days to the 22nd January, compared to 221 in the week to 15th Jan, and 272 and 310 in the two previous weeks (with the peak the week to 1st January). I’ve included the positive test numbers from February 2020, but bear in mind that until May tested was restricted to people entering hospital, so the Spring peak captures a much smaller proportion of people who had the virus that tests do now (even though people with the virus are still not always tested now).

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

Looking at daily rate of people testing positive per 100,000 people above and below 60 years of age, it appears that infection numbers are falling for both age groups, and particular fast among people aged 0-59 – hitting a peak on 5th January.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

We sometimes get asked about the number of people being tested – and this has been generally rising in Stroud district – to recent peaks of 4,389 in the 7 days to the 14th January and 4,637 in the 7 days to the 8th January. However, only between 5 and 10 % of people who are tested at the moment test positive – and this number has been much lower when the virus is more under control – see next chart.

Source: gov.uk data download

The proportion of tests that return positive results is a good indicator of how prevalent the virus is. In Stroud district, the two recent peaks were for the seven days to the 1st January (when 9.4% of people tested positive), and the seven days to the 10th November (when 7.9% of people tested positive). In August and September, when the virus was not circulating following the Spring 2020 lockdown restrictions and other restrictions suppressing it, under 1% of people tested were positive – with the lowest rate being in the week to the 6th August when 0.2% of people tested were positive. As well as helping us understnd how prevalent the virus is at different times, and how effective sustained suppression can be, this shows how rare “false positives” are.

Source: gov.uk data download

In Gloucestershire as a whole, 1,215 people tested positive in the week to the 22nd January compared to 1,639 in the week to the 14th January, and 2,258 in the 7 days to 1st January. Again, while not all data is in yet – it looks like a dramatic fall from the peak (though the weekly positive test number is still higher than for any week other than in the past month – there is no cause for complacency!) Again, the daily data is consistent with a falling trend – I’ve not copied the chart here but you can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard.

Source: data.gov download

Across the UK the number of people testing positive each day is falling sharply – but is still very high. The peak date of positive submitted specimins was 4th January with 76,089 people submitting a sample that tested positive. On the 16th January – the most recent date likely to be fully processed, 30,534 people testing positive. This is still much higher than the since before mid-December, so please continue to take care.

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 582,000 people had a symptomtic infection on the 23rd January, compared to a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January.

People who have died with Covid-19

The Office for National Statistics reports that: “Across the UK, there were 20,023 deaths (all causes) registered in Week 1 (week ending 8 January 2021), which was 6,170 deaths higher than the UK five-year average and 8,443 more deaths than in Week 53 (week ending 1 January 2021). Of these deaths, 6,586 involved the coronavirus (COVID-19), 3,162 more deaths than in Week 53 (92.3% increase)”. The sudden rise reflects reporting of death registrations after bank holidays over the new year (which suppressed reporting in previous weeks), as well as the increase in the number of people dying.

By the 8th January, 95,829 people from the UK had died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

For more on the national situation I – as ever – highly recommend the Independent SAGE weekly briefing. This has Kit Yates’s data presentation, followed by questions and answers from the expert panel around mental health, including a section on how to talk to young people about death.

https://youtu.be/NBjlBTO45ZM

For a shorter summary, see Professor Tim Spector from the Kings College London/ZOE Covid-19 app team (5 minutes)

International context

Globally, over 2 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning – deaths continue to rise, with Our World in Data reporting the highest number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as reaching a new high of 14,070 on January 23rd, with no sign that the rate of deaths is slowing globally.

In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries (currently the 4th worst affected of all countries), at 1,437 people per million – behind only Slovenia (1,601 per million), Belgium (1,788 per million) and San Marion (1,915 per million – though obviously a country with a much smaller population than the others).

Several countries have much lower death rates, including Finland (116 per million), Norway (100 per million), Bangladesh (49 per million), Australia (36 per million), South Korea (26 per million), Cuba (17 per million), New Zealand (5 people per million), and Mongolia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Taiwan and Burundi (all under 1 person per million).

The United Kingdom is doing much better in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people – the second highest in the world behind only Israel (not included on chart below on because it’s rate is so high it makes the other comparisons hard to read).

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.

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.


Urgent: vaccination for group 2 social care workers

Below we publish the text of a letter sent by SCCR today, 20th January 2021, to: Councillor Mark Hawthorne (Leader of Gloucestershire County Council), Katie Hopgood, Consultant in Public Health at Gloucestershire County Council, and the six Gloucestershire MPs (and copied to other interested parties who we have previously been in contact with regarding the issue).

Urgent: vaccination for group 2 social care workers

It is our understanding that Gloucestershire County Council is responsible for identifying the frontline social care workers in priority group/cohort 2 to the local NHS vaccination programme lead, in order for those workers to be invited for a vaccination. However, we do not believe this responsibility is being adequately met at present.

Stroud Coronarvirus Community Response has been fielding questions from members of the public across the Stroud district (and Gloucestershire more broadly) and seeking to provide good quality information as part of our efforts to support the community through the pandemic since March. Recently, we have been fielding questions about vaccination. People are understandably keen to know when they will be vaccinated. 

The Novel coronavirus (COVID19) Standard Operating Procedure, COVID-19 vaccine deployment programme: Frontline social care workers (JCVI Priority Cohort 2) Version 1, 14 January 2021 states clearly: 

“Local authorities, working with the CQC and local resilience forum partners, are responsible for ensuring that all employers of frontline social care workers in their area are identified and provided with the necessary information and support to make arrangements for the vaccination of staff.”

The SOP, makes clear on page 5 of the document that this covers “All frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work (for example in people’s own homes, day centres, care homes for working age adults or supported housing); whether they care for clinically vulnerable adults or children; or who they are employed by (for example local government, NHS private sector or third sector employees)” (emphasis added).

Whilst GCC has engaged with some employers, they have not reached out to others, and do not appear to have contacted privately employed or self employed workers. Some employers they have been in contact with are chasing daily for a letter to proceed with no reply.

When we have asked to identify who those who have not been contacted should be contacting within GCC, [name removed from public version of letter], Health Protection Practitioner replied “The rollout of the vaccine in Gloucestershire is being dealt with wholly by the NHS.  I have copied them in on this reply so hopefully they can address your enquiry.”

Until GCC acknowledges its responsibilities, and publicises a point of contact, these employers and privately and self employed workers cannot start the process. This is massively delaying their vaccinations, putting the vulnerable people they care for at higher risk for longer, whilst the general population in their 70s (i.e. group 3 ahead of group 2) are being vaccinated.

Denying these workers access to the vaccinations when they are entitled to them, for these people to be forgotten again, can only be described as discrimination, as ableism, and must be resolved as a matter of urgency. These are workers who have previously left behind when PPE stocks were most pressured, which likewise raised the risk to those they care for – people who are disproportionately at risk from the virus.

On a practical level, many organisations are directing workers to register with their GP. Some GPs have then directed people to ring Gloucestershire Royal. Their switchboard has directed at least one person to just turn up at a vaccination hub. Of the people we have spoken to in the NHS (GPs, practice managers, the CCG), no-one has anywhere to refer these people. Meanwhile, they are absorbing valuable GP surgery staff time, at a time when these staff are under pressure to arrange vaccinations for patients, without benefit.

This is information that should be easily available. That it is not is causing a lot of distress, and requires urgent resolution. We ask that you:

  • Confirm it is GCC’s responsibility to identify eligible workers
  • Provide clear information on the GCC website and social media for these workers and how they can access vaccine appointments, including any requirements to demonstrate eligibility
  • Communicate the list of eligible people in this category to organisations involved in booking appointments

Many thanks in anticipation,

Best wishes

Rachel Sleigh, James Beecher, Sarah Dixon 

On behalf of Stroud Coronavirus Community Response


17th January 2021 data update

Before this week’s data summary, a note that we’ve had some really useful contributions in our Facebook group lately – and we are trying to keep these organised by topic. Click the links below for posts on:

  • Covid vaccines – including updates on the local rollout
  • Local online entertainment/activities (including free course off from South Gloucestershire and Stroud College)
  • Food offers – including takeaways operating in lockdown, The Long Table’s “Freezers of Love” and more
  • Education and parenting resources, including new posts from team member and teacher, Polly Stratton – who will be providing a weekly post of ideas
  • Tackling misinformation – details of scams, and a Stroud Town Council statement on coronavirus misinformation (which amongst other things signposts to us, for which we are grateful!)

Key local data:

  • The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals appears to be plateauing, at around 250 (more than a quarter of all patients in General and Acute beds). With recent infections it seems possible this will rise a little, but infections are hopefully peaking so we can start to hope that pressure on the local NHS may begin to lift soon. At a national level, the situation in many hospitals remains awful.
  • In Stroud district, 215 people tested positive in the 7 days to the 14th January, compared to 286 in the week to 7th Jan – not all tests will have been processed yet, and the number of people who have tested positive in the week is still much higher than in all but the past two or three weeks, but across Stroud district, Gloucestershire and indeed the country it seems we are passing the peak number of people infected. No room for complacency yet – but hope that despite the new variant transmission can be brought under control.
  • In Stroud district, a total of 147 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in 2020 – 11% of the total 1,354 people from Stroud district who died this year. 55 of those who died with Covid-19 died in the ‘second wave’ so far, compared to 92 in the ‘first wave’.
  • Across Gloucestershire as a whole, a total of 850 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in 2020 – 12% of the total 6,932 people from the county who died this year. 265 of those who died with Covid-19 died in the ‘second wave’ so far, compared to 585 in the ‘first wave’.
  • By the end of 15th January, all Gloucestershire care home residents (bar those in one home with a current outbreak) should have been vaccinated, along with the vast majority of the staff – according to Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (which has oversight over the local NHS). Meanwhile, Berkeley Vale Primary Care Network had contacted all over 80s who could be expected to get to The Vale for a vaccine, and people in their 70s are now being vaccinated in the district. More than 10,000 doses have been given to health and social care staff in Gloucestershire. Both represent really good progress compared to the national picture, which itself is really good nationally (with over 6 doses per 100 people).

Hospitals – local, regional, national

The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals appears to be plateauing, at around 250 across the General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and 253 as of the 12th January (the most recent date). The number is doubled the 13th November number (127). Numbers of patients in hospital tend to lag infections (as it takes time for people who get sick enough to need hospital treatment to get to that point), so sadly with recent rises in infections (see below) we are still likely to see the numbers in hospitals rise before we see them fall.

Source: NHS hospital activity

In terms of the proportion of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, in the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals (the blue bars only in the chart above), this hit a new peak of 27.5% on the 6th January, and has been stable since (27.1% as of the 12th January – the most recent data). This is approaching double the recent low of 14.9% on 4th December (double would be 29.9%).

Source: NHS hospital activity

Nationally, there are NHS Trusts in much worse positions – where confirmed Covid-19 cases account for over half of General and Acute beds – Guardian article “NHS crisis in charts: how Covid has increased strain on health service” (three charts from which copied below)

Source: Guardian/NHS England

All regions in England have more Covid patients than they had in the first wave – including the South West where numbers are essentially double the spring level.

Source: Guardian/NHS England

By 10th January, over 1,000 more adult critical care beds were occupied in England than at any point in the past five winters. Don’t let anyone tell you this is ‘just the flu’, let alone that ‘hospitals are empty’.

Source: Guardian/NHS England

Positive test results / estimates of numbers of people with the virus

In terms of positive test results, many of which we may reasonably expect to lead to further hospital admissions in weeks to come, these continue to be high in Stroud district and Gloucestershire – though there is some sign that rates are not rising as quickly as they were (this could be an artefact while we wait for tests to be processed):

In Stroud district, 215 people tested positive in the 7 days to the 14th January, compared to 286 in the week to 7th Jan, and 266 in the 6 days to the 31st December. The number of people who have tested positive is still higher than for all of November and all but the most recent three weeks so there is no cause for complacency but there is a good sign here. It seems likely that the district has passed the current peak – this is clearer when looking at daily numbers, see below.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

Looking at daily rate of people testing positive per 100,000 people above and below 60 years of age, it appears that infection numbers are falling – hitting a peak on 5th January. Data since does not include all test results as they take time to process but is so far consistent with a falling trend.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

In Gloucestershire as a whole, 1,625 people tested positive in the week to the 14th January compared to 2,266 in the week to the 7th January, and 1,883 in the 6 days to 31st December. Again, while not all data is in yet – it looks like the peak has passed (though the weekly positive test number is still higher than for any week other than the previous fortnight – there is no cause for complacency!) Again, the daily data is consistent with a falling trend – I’ve not copied the chart here but you can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard.

Source: data.gov download

People who have died with Covid-19

There are a number of different ways to measure the number of people who have died with Covid-19, and – contrary to claims – there is a set of data that distinguishes those who have died because of Covid-19, in the opinion of clinicians. The below is a presentation of the data to aid understanding of the impacts of the pandemic – it is very impersonal as such, for which I can only apologise. My condolences to all who have lost a family member or loved one.

In Stroud district, a total of 147 people died with Covid-19 mentioned by a clinician on their death certificate in 2020 – 11% of the total 1,354 people from Stroud district who died this year. 55 of those who died with Covid-19 died in the ‘second wave’ so far, compared to 92 in the ‘first wave’.

Across Gloucestershire as a whole, a total of 850 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in 2020 – 12% of the total 6,932 people from the county who died this year. 265 of those who died with Covid-19 died in the ‘second wave’ so far, compared to 585 in the ‘first wave’.

The total number of people to die with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate from each part of Gloucestershire, and the percentage of the county Covid-19 total, is as follows:

  • Cheltenham: 193 / 23%
  • Gloucester: 193 / 23%
  • Stroud: 147 / 17%
  • Tewkesbury: 135 / 16%
  • Cotswold: 103 / 12%
  • Forest of Dean: 79 / 9%

The Office for National Statistics reports that: “The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 1 January 2021 was 11,541, which was 2,304 higher than the five-year average; of deaths registered in the UK in Week 53, 3,417 deaths involved COVID-19, 220 higher than in Week 52.”

By the 1st January, 89,243 people from the UK had died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Data from death certificates comes in around two weeks after people die, and from data on people who have died within 28 days of a positive test, we can expect that sadly the numbers of people recorded as dying with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate is set to rise considerably over the coming weeks. Positive test and Hospitalisation numbers also indicate that deaths will rise – as, again, as they are earlier indiciators. 89,261 people from the UK have died within 28 days of a positive test.

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

More national and international context

The following slides are from Professor Christina Pagel’s presentation as part of this week’s Independent SAGE briefing – which as ever is highly recommended.

The number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases by day reported is falling – though there is a possible rise/blip in the most recent days.

There have now been more hospital admissions in the ‘second wave’ than in the first: 172,044 compared to 114,143 as of data to 12th January. There were over 100,000 admissions since 1st December alone.

Covid outbreaks in workplaces are increasing – a worrying sign given that more workplaces are open than in the first lockdown.

Professor Pagel presented the following really useful chart which shows how the different age groups account for different proportions of the population, and other categories. It shows that 15-44 year olders account for a higher proportion of confirmed cases than they do of the population. However, in terms of hospital admissions, people aged 65+ account for more than half of these, and people aged 75-84 and 85 and above, account for much bigger proportions than they do of the population as a whole (as we would expect – we know the virus tends to affect older people worst).

This is starkest in terms of the proportion of people to die with a positive test: more than 70% are aged over 75. This is the group that are currently being vaccinated – so the vaccination programme should have a really good impact on lowering the numbers of people dying.

However, as you can see, the proportion of ICU admissions is not the same. A hugher proportion of these, around 40%, are of people aged 45-64 – who will not be being vaccinated until later in the year. Hence, the pressure on the NHS is unlikely to be fully relieved in the near future.

There is good progress on vaccines – over 35% of over 80s have now been vaccinated (and the picture is even better in Gloucestershire), and the UK is on track for 2 million vaccination doses a week soon.

For more on the national situation I – as ever – highly recommend the Independent SAGE weekly briefing. This has Professor Christina Pagel’s data presentation (from which some charts above are taken), followed by questions and answers from the exert panel around mental health, workplaces, schools, nurseries, vaccine rollout and more – including three young people (aged 16-17) in discussion about their experiences of the pandemic.

International context

Globally, over 2 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning – deaths continue to rise, with Our World in Data reporting the highest number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as reaching a new high of 13,641 on January 16th, with no sign that the rate of deaths is slowing globally.

In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries (currently the 7th worst affected of all countries), at 1,307 people per million – behind Czechia (1,327 per million), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1,344 per million), Italy (1,352 per million), Slovenia (1,510 per million), Belgium (1,760 per million) and San Marion (1,915 per million – though obviously a country with a much smaller population than the others).

Several countries have much lower death rates, including Finland (112 per million), Norway (95 per million), Australia (36 per million), South Korea (24 per million), and New Zealand (5 people per million).

The United Kingdom is doing much better in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people – the second highest in the world behind only Israel (not included on chart below on because it’s rate is so high it makes the other comparisons hard to read).

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.

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.


10th January data update

Since 5th January, Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. Thanks to Sharon Bishop for sharing an Easy Read version of the national lockdown guidance to our Facebook group. The key points laid out in the easy read version are:

  • “Coronavirus is spreading very quickly. Lots of people are poorly.
  • We are being asked to ‘stay at home’ as much as possible. The government call this ‘lockdown’.
  • Most places are now closed until the end of February 2021
  • ‘Essential services’ will stay open like the NHS, supermarkets and pharmacies.
  • Staying at home can help keep ourselves and other people safe”

The first part of the guidance itself reads:

“You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local – unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work. Stay local means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work”

There are a number of exemptions and much more detail – and we’ve been addressing questions about the guidance in our facebook group, we welcome further questions and will do our best to signpost to the appropriate sections – though please bear in mind that we are doing this as part of a wider effort to control the spread of the virus, not because we are employed by the government or endorse the detail of their approach – we simply pass on the relevant information.

Local situation

The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals continues to rise, to a high of 256 as of the 5th January (compared to 241 on the 30th December a week ago, and over 100 more than the 151 a month ago). The number has doubed since 13th November (127). And I sadly can’t see a sign of the rate slowing down, particularly not given the latest infection numbers (see below).

Source: NHS hospital activity

In terms of the proportion of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, in the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals (the blue bars only in the chart above), this has risen to a new peak of 26.5% as of the 5th January. This is approaching double the recent low of 14.9% on 4th December (double would be 29.9%).

For an insight into what it’s like on the Covid wards locally, please see the below film from Points West – filmed by staff in the wards so no visits were necessary, and with videocall interviews by Steve Knibbs.

In terms of positive test results, many of which we may reasonably expect to lead to further hospital admissions in weeks to come, these continue to be high in Stroud district and Gloucestershire – though there is some sign that rates are not rising as quickly as they were (this could be an artefact while we wait for tests to be processed):

In Stroud district, 259 people tested positive in the 7 days to the 8th January, compared to 309 in the week to 1st Jan, and 229 in the week to the 25th December.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

In Gloucestershire as a whole, 2,096 people tested positive in the week to the 8th January compared to 2,110 in the week to the 1st January. Both weeks are hugely higher than the weeks preceding: 1,291 in the week to 25th December and 1,109 in the week to the 18th December.

Source: data.gov download

In terms of age groups, there is some indication that in Stroud district positive tests are no longer rising among people aged 60 and over, but continue to rise among younger people. While it is a good sign that rates are not rising as fast among those who are more at risk from the virus, the chart suggests it is hard to keep community transmission at high rates among under 60s separated from those aged 60 and over.

Source: data.gov website

It’s worth adding that the Kings College London / ZOE Covid-app estimates suggest active infections are higher – at 769, and continuing to rise (doubling from 385 last week). This equates in the latest data to an estimate that 1 in every 153 people in the district has an active infection. These estimates haven’t quite tracked confirmed cases lately, but throughout the pandemic have tended to be a leading indicator locally and nationally.

Source: ZOE app

In terms of positive tests (as opposed to estimates), in the most recent 7 days relative to population, Stroud is one of the less badly affected areas, with 288 positive tests per 100,000 people (1 in every 347 people), compared to 526 per 100,000 in Gloucester (1 in every 190 people), 599 in Swindon, and rates over 1,000 in parts of London: 1,025 per 100,000 in Southwar and 1,627 in Barking and Dagenham (1 in every 61 people)

Source: data.gov cases download

Sadly, the number of people from Gloucestershire who have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate continues to rise, 31 people’s deaths were registered in the week to 25th December, bringing the total since September to 199, of the total 781. Due to lags in reporting, these weekly numbers will not reflect the current situation, and due to the lag between testing positive, entering hospital, and dying, they are sadly likely to be exceeded in the weeks to come.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – deaths in Gloucestershire

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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

National context

In terms of the number of people with the virus, the ONS infection survey resulted in the following estimates:

  • “In the most recent week, the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England has continued to increase; during the most recent week (27 December 2020 to 2 January 2021), we estimate 1,122,000 people (95% credible interval: 1,070,600 to 1,175,700) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19), equating to around 1 in 50 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 50 to 1 in 45).”
  • “During the most recent week of the study (27 December 2020 to 2 January 2021), London had the highest proportion testing positive; we estimate that 3.56% of people in London had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 3.26% to 3.87%), equating to around 1 in 30 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 30 to 1 in 25).”

In terms of people to have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, the ONS say:

  • “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths up to 25 December 2020 was 604,029, which is 72,900 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 25 December 2020, 78,467 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is 13.0% of all deaths in England and Wales.”
  • “The number of deaths registered in England and Wales was affected by the Christmas Day Bank Holiday; 11,520 deaths were registered in the week ending 25 December 2020 (Week 52), 1,491 fewer deaths than in Week 51; trends in this week’s release should be interpreted with caution.”
  • “In Week 52, the number of deaths registered was 44.8% above the five-year average (3,566 deaths higher) but this increase should be treated with caution; the five-year average was particularly low in Week 52 as the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, all contained two bank holidays, whereas Week 52 of 2020 only contained one bank holiday so would likely have more deaths registered.”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 52, 2,912 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 25.3% of all deaths in England and Wales; in Week 52, deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) decreased compared with Week 51 (by 74 deaths).”
  • “Of the 2,912 deaths involving COVID-19, 2,497 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (85.7%).”

The following slides are from Professor Christina Pagel’s presentation as part of this week’s Independent SAGE briefing – which as ever is highly recommended.

The number of people testing positive for the first time is rising really rapidly, close to doubling each week (735,000, compared to 413,000 and 220,000 in the weeks before).

The new variant in dominant in London at an estimated 80% of cases, but is now rising in prevalence in the South West and neighbouring West Midlands at an estimated 50%+ of cases.

The number of patients in ICU-level beds with Covid-19 is rising extremely rapidly and almost at the levels of the Spring peak in England and Wales, with Scotland and Northern Ireland also seeing rapid rises and NI approaching their Spring peak too.

Due to persistent misinformation about Covid and flu that goes around on social media, it’s worth sharing this graphic from John Burn Murdoch at the Financial Times comparing Covid-19 patients in ICU to flu over recent years. Check out the animated version.

Overall hospital admissions are rising in all regions – with the rise in London particularly concerning (and a worrying sign of what could come in other regions). Hence, Sadiq Khan the Mayor has announced a major incident.

For a look at the situation inside a London hospital, see this BBC report.

There is good progress on vaccines, with over 300,000 people receiving a vaccine in each of the last three weeks but… a long way to go to 2 million doses a week

Last week I shared a chart showing how the number of people from Gloucestershire to have died throughout the pandemic relative to the population relates to death rates in other parts of the country. The chart below does the same for Stroud district. Last week’s data was based on the more robust measure based on mentions of Covid-19 on people’s death certificates, but this data is not available for smaller local authorities. The chart below uses the measure of deaths within 28 days of a postive test. Some of these will be for other reasons, but as this caveat applies across all local authorities it allows us to make comparisons between areas. It shows that at around 108 people to have died per 100,000 (or approximately 1 in every 926 people) compared to the higest local rate in Cheltenham (127 per 100,000 – in in every 787 people), and much lower than the worst rates in Sunderland (204 per 100,000 or one in every 490 people) or Folkestone and Hythe (255 per 100,000 or one in every 392 people).

However, this rate is also considerably above the rate for the nearby Forest of Dean (88 per 100,000 or one in every 1,136 people), and other areas in the South West (Bath and North East Somerset at 48 per 100,000 or one in every 2,083 people).

Source: government data dashboard on deaths

The above numbers are through the entire pandemic, and do not fully reflect the current situation in terms of where the virus is spreading more considerably (see the above chart on cases in the last 7 days).

For more on the national situation I – as ever – highly recommend the Independent SAGE weekly briefing. This has Professor Christina Pagel’s data presentation (from which some charts above are taken), followed by questions and answers from the exert panel around mental health, schools, nurseries, vaccine rollout and more. Please also see the details below regarding the guidance and some resource.

There have also been a number of government press conferences recently, including around the introduction of the new national lockdown. If you want to catch up, you can click on the following links:

International context

Globally, the situation remains concerning – deaths continue to rise, with Our World in Data reporting the highest number of people to be reported as dying to reach a high of 15,512 on December 29th. 1.93 million people have been attributed to have died with Covid-19 involved in some way (subject to different counting methods in different countries) as of the 9th January.

In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries (currently the 9th worst affected of all countries), recently passing Peru (1,150 people have died per million), to reach 1,158 per million – behind Italy (1,278 per million) and Belgium (1,720 per million). Several countries have much lower death rates, including Finland (105 per million), Norway (86 per million) and South Korea (21 per million).

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.

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.


3rd January 2021 data update

Happy New Year to all followers of these regular data summaries from Stroud Coronavirus Community Response – fortunately there are some signs of hope for this year… but unfortunately we’re starting the year in about as bad a place with the pandemic as we could be nationally. As ever, I’ll focus on the local situation but there is some important national context to include too – in brief, things are really bad both locally and nationally, please follow the guidance to reduce the spread of the virus, the likelihood it reaches those of us most at risk, and the pressure on NHS services.

A lot has changed since the last update I did on the 20th December. I’ll cover the usual data points below but it is important to start with some key news:

[Edit – immediately after the update, since 5th January, Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. Easy read version and more to come in the next update on the 10th January]
Gloucestershire, including Stroud District, is in “Tier 4” of the government’s system of restrictions as of 31st December 2020. Tier 4 is a new level of restrictions introduced in London, the South East and East of England on 19th December. Read the Tier 4 guidance on the gov.uk website. In summary: “If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’.” Support bubbles continue (and the criteria to make them has been recently expanded), and there are important aspects and exemptions detailed in the guidance via the previous link – please ask in our Facebook group if you need help navigating the guidance. Thanks to Sharon Bishop for posting an Easy Read copy of the the Tier 4 England guidance. Details of business support are available from the County Council.

Gloucestershire will be in Tier 4 until further notice: Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP’s statement to parliament reads: “The regulations will require the government to review the allocations at least every 14 days. We will also take urgent action when the data suggests it is required.”

Gloucestershire had already been moved up from Tier 2 to Tier 3 on the 26th December. I hope the data I provide below will help to explain the rapidly changing situation, but think it is best to provide the information given by the government first – this covers the data sources that lead to the decision to move areas up (or down) in the Tier system:

“In the last week, the picture in Gloucestershire has further deteriorated with an increase in all epidemiological indicators in all 6 of the local authorities. The case rate for all ages is high across the area with the highest rates seen in Gloucester (304 per 100,000 per week), which is also showing the highest rates in people aged over 60 (246 per 100,000 per week). Increases in case rates of more than 60% have been seen in 3 of the local authorities in the past week, with the greatest increase seen in Cheltenham of 73% (to 175 per 100,00 per week). Test positivity is at or above 5% across the area with two local authorities above 8%. COVID admissions are high in the local NHS (Gloucestershire STP) and increasing whilst the numbers in bed is high and increasing, as is critical care. The rate of increase of the epidemiology indicators is concerning and warrants escalation to Tier 4.”

Source: Department of Health and Social Care, 30th December 2020

Before getting fully into the local data, I think it’s important to start by mentioning that once again there is substantial misinformation circulating locally. Sadly, the latest local example – misleading videos of Gloucester Royal Hospital made by Debbie Hicks, who has since been arrested – went viral well beyond our locality (as discussed in an Amplify Stroud article), and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust put out a response statement, which I think is worth quoting in full:

“Contrary to what you may have seen through ‘secret filming’ on Facebook, our hospitals are and remain extremely busy and colleagues at both our hospitals have been working hard throughout the festive period to care for our patients. We are currently caring for more than 200 patients with COVID-19, including many who require treatment in our critical care departments and a further 500+ non-COVID patients who need our care and expertise.Every day, we provide urgent treatment for more than 300 patients at our Emergency Departments at Gloucester and Cheltenham and this continues every day of the year. This includes patients who walk in and those who come by ambulance; of these 300 patients, around 100 will require admission or further treatment on our wards. While outpatient departments and some shops in the hospitals have been closed at times over the Christmas break, food and drink options for staff remain open in staff-only areas. Filming patients who are waiting in A&E without their consent is both intrusive and upsetting as maintaining patient confidentiality is key to our hospitals being a safe space for you to receive the care you need. We cannot stress highly enough how important it is to continue to follow hands-face-space guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the most vulnerable in our community in Gloucestershire. Our Trust and our colleagues throughout the NHS are dedicated to caring for you around the clock, every day of the year. We know that the vast majority of our local community in Gloucestershire appreciates the extraordinary dedication and expertise of our NHS and we’re extremely grateful to you all for your continued support.”

Source: Gloucestershire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

On this topic it is worth emphasising that hospital corridors are quieter because of visitor restrictions. As the local NHS community Trust explains: “General visiting to adult wards is suspended during the Tier 4 Period for Gloucestershire“. There are exemptions to allow visits in some cases– “limited visiting is allowed for adults who require support in special circumstances by an established carer who is a household member or a member of their support bubble”, “Visiting is allowed for those receiving especially bad news or for those patients who are at the end of their life. This should be limited to household members or members of the support bubble.” (see a similar webpage on visiting restrictions for Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals) Further,

“The Trust asks all visitors, as well as patients attending appointments, to wear a face covering and comply with social distancing and hand hygiene guidance as advised by our staff. During a period of self-isolation, visiting is not allowed under any circumstances in accordance with the national regulations. It is important that people of all ages still attend medical appointments and patients can be reassured that, due to careful infection prevention and control procedures, transmission rates in our hospitals remain very low. Those attending appointments are encouraged to attend alone whenever possible, to reduce the number of people in hospital buildings.”

Source: Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust

Member of Parliament for Stroud constituency Siobhan Baillie also issued a statement condemning “Covid misinformation and anti-vax”, including the paragraph:

“Attempting to undermine our health professionals and encouraging misinformation as facts is just about as irresponsible as it can be during a pandemic. I would like the government and social media platforms to do more to stop it. This is harming our community, potentially risking lives and our recovery from the virus.”

Read Siobhan Baillie’s full statement on Facebook

Finally, before the data update:

Covid-19 testing locations: 4 – 10 January:

Covid-19 testing units are open throughout the county, including at Dursley Rugby Club on 4,5 and 6 January. The mobile unit will not be at Stratford Park this week. Please note that you must book an appointment in advance via the NHS website or by calling 119 (see our regular weekly Facebook post on test sites for more details).

Key local data:

  • 269 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week of data (with tests submitted to the 1st January still likely to be waiting for results) – higher than the previous weeks 229, and much higher than the 176 (up from 141 as reported in my last update before all the results were in) and 151 in the previous weeks. This is a new high (though testing during the Spring peak was limited and numbers of infected people in April were potentially higher).
  • The situation across Gloucestershire as a whole is even worse. In the most recent week a total of 1,886 people have tested positive, a huge increase on the 1,291 from the previous week (before full data are in), and approaching double the previous high from the week ending 13th November (1,002).
  • As of the 29th December (the latest data publicly available), there were a total of 241 patients with confirmed Covid-19 in beds in Gloucestershire Hospitals. This is an increase of 19 since the previous week, and 63 in the past month. The trend is clearly rising. While 34 patients are in the community/district hospitals (like Stroud Hospital), 207 are in Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham Hospital’s General and Acute beds (most in Gloucester – the local designated Covid hospital, but apparently some cases are in Cheltenham too now).
  • Newly public NHS data means I can pass on that the 207 patients represent 26.4% of all the General and Acute beds in the two hospitals. This has risen from 22.3% a week ago and 18.7% a month ago. The proportion of beds which are unoccupied (hospitals need some unoccupied at all times to manage new patients arriving, and in case of emergencies) has fallen as low as 7.3% on the 21st December – when there were only 57 beds available. This figure was 69 on the 29th December, but has been falling since the 23rd December. Given that it isn’t just beds but staff that are needed, it should be clear to anyone that the hospitals are under pressure already, and that it is getting worse. Below I mention how this relates to the national context.
  • In the most recent week of data (to the 18th December), 33 people from Gloucestershire died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate. This brings the total number of people who have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate from the county since the beginning of the pandemic has reached 750, with 168 dying since September. This is a rate of 117.7 people per 100,000 (one in every 850 people in the county). This rate is higher than 75 other equivalent local authority areas (the lowest rate is 42.3 per 100,000 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly), and lower than 96 (the highest rate is 247 per 100,000 in Rhondda Cynon Taff).
  • Across the UK, the ONS say (in a reduced weekly mortality bulletin because of Christmas): “In Week 51, the number of deaths registered was 12.7% above the five-year average (1,463 deaths higher). Of the deaths registered in Week 51, 2,986 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 22.9% of all deaths in England and Wales; in Week 51 deaths involving COVID-19 increased compared with Week 50 (by 230 deaths), following decreases in Week 49 and Week 50… all English regions had a higher number of deaths than the five-year average for the sixth week in a row”.
  • As of the previous week, the ONS report that: “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths up to 11 December 2020 was 579,491, which is 67,864 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 11 December 2020, 72,546 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is 12.5% of all deaths in England and Wales.”
  • You should be able to enter you postcode via this link and receive up to date information for your local area, the Stroud district, Gloucestershire, the South West and more.

Further detail on data:

I’ll start with the hospital data given the local misinformation around this. The chart below shows the rapid increases in the number of confirmed Covid-19 patients occupying hospital beds in Gloucestershire since December – from an already elevated position in November. There is no sign of the rise slowly, and the rising infection numbers below would suggest the increase will continue for some time (we know that hospitalisations lag infection data as it takes a while for the people who end up needing hospital treatment to get sick enough for this to be the case).

NHS England is now making public data on how many beds in each hospital with General and Acute beds are occupied not only by Covid-19 patients but generally, together with total bed capacity. The below chart shows the numbers for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals. You can see the number and proportion of Covid-19 patients rising from 135 (17%) on the 17th November, to 197 and 26.4% by the 29th December. There are changes in capacity, which I do not know enough to explain myself but believe to reflect the fact that ‘beds’ does not refer only to physical beds but the staff available to treat a patient.

Earlier this week, John Burn-Murdoch – a Financial Times journalist – shared similar charts for other hospitals around the country. You can hopefully see how dramatic the shifts are in hospitals like North Middlesex (63.1%) and Medway (57.6%) where over 50% of beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients and there are no unoccuped beds, and the risks for Gloucestershire. North Middlesex was on 18.3% on the 15th December (when Gloucestershire was on 21.2%) and Medway was on 24.3% on the 17th November (see full percentages and trends in a spreadhseet image shared by Independent journalist Shaun Lintern).

Source: John Burn-Murdoch

In terms of the number of people who have died in Gloucestershire, I hope the chart below puts things in perspective. Of neighbouring/South West areas, Gloucestershire has a worse death rate – 117.7 per 100,000 or one in every 850 people, considerably worse than the more urban City of Bristol (77.3 per 100,000 or one in every 1,294 people), and Swindon (91.8 or one in every 1,089 people). However, the death rates in this part of the world are generally much less bad than in others – including some nearly places like Cardiff (137.4 per 100,000 or one in every 728 people), Newport (150 per 100,000 or one in every 667 people), and Rhondda Cynon Taff – the worst affected area in the country in terms of rate (596 people, or 247 people per 100,000, or one in every 405 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate this year).

The chart below shows the number of people testing positive in from Stroud district each week – from the week ending 22nd May 2020 to the seven days ending with the 1st January 2021. There is a clear and sharply rising trend.

Source: gov.uk data dashboard – daily spreadsheet downloaded and collated

I’ve been using the above style chart of my own for week, but now better data visualisations are available from the government I’m going to switch to theirs (see below). These show, an average of 38 people testing postive per day for the most recent 7 days, compared to an average of 14/day on the 27th Nov, and 4/day at the start of October (the chart is the same data as mine above, but displayed daily rather than weekly, and with a seven day average line to represent the weekly trend).

Source: gov.uk data dashboard – Stroud district filter

The government now break test data down by people testing positive above and below 60 years of age (who are, on the whole, more likely to be at risk of serious consequences from the virus). The data for Stroud district shows numbers are rising faster for people aged under 60 – but also that higher numbers of people aged over 60 are testing positive, and the clear relationship between the two trends (note that in the spring only people admitted to hospital could be tested, hence the lower numbers for people under 60 who were less likely to be admitted as a result of generally having milder symptoms).

Source: gov.uk data dashboard – Stroud district filter

We know not everyone will get tested (for a variety of reasons), so I regularly report on the Kings College London/ZOE Covid-19 symptom tracking app estimates. These numbers are generally higher, and the trends generally track (and usually anticipate) the trends for people to get tested.

In the most recent data, Stroud district as having 2,422 active symptomatic cases per million people (lower than surrounding districts, with the Forest of Dean the highest rate per million people) – see below

However, recent data suggests the number of active cases has been falling recently, with the estimate being that there are currently 286 people with active symptomatic Covid, up by 17 from last week and approximately at the level at the start of October after peaking in November… it’s important to note that this estimate now diverges quite a bit from the trend in positive test results – and I’m not entirely sure why (my best guesses are that the symptom study app isn’t accounting for the rise in either/both asymptomatic people or older people with the virus – their estimates in the past were limited to people under the age of 64, and we can expect that fewer people over this age are using the app as smartphone ownership is much lower for that age group. It may also be possible that people testing positive at the moment are less likely to be app users generally (regardless of age), or that app users are more likely to be avoiding infections… but it would seem strange for these things to be new phenomena. I will see if I Professor Tim Spector from the team responds to a tweet asking what the explanation might be.

Meanwhile, in Gloucestershire as a whole, the number of people testing positive is rising very quickly. While numbers are rising in Stroud, this essentially tells us they are rising faster in the rest of the county. I’ll look into the other districts in more detail next week.

Source: gov.uk data dashboard – daily spreadsheet downloaded and collated

The short version of the national data at the UK level is that all the trends are moving rapidly in the wrong direction:

  • The number of people testing positive in the last 7 days is – at 366,435 – up 118,326 on even the previous week’s new high, and despite the fact that thenumber of tests conducted fell by 479,224 on the previous week (likely becaus of Christmas).
  • The number of patients admitted to hospital in the last seven days is – at 14,987 – 2,463 higher than the previous week.
  • There were 23,823 confirmed Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals as of the 28th December, higher than the April peak of 21,683.
  • And data on the numbers of people dying within 28 days of a positive test and with Covid-19 recorded on death certificates are rising. In the data to the 18th December, 3,270 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificates, a rise of 7% on the previous week – and in more-up-to-date but potentially less robust 28 day measure, 4,228 people died in the past 7 days, 833 more people than in the previous week – or 25% higher. This is a really terrible situation, and I send sincere condolences to the families and friends of those affected (one of whom who lost a colleague and friend over Christmas is a friend of mine).

Lastly, I mentioned some signs of hope…
As far as I know there is no official local data available yet, but national data about vaccination progress is availabe.

At time of writing, this shows a total of 786,000 people have received their first dose – 524,439 of them aged 80+, and 261,561 aged 16-79 (likely mainly healthworkers). As of the 2018 ONS population estimate there were 2,768,734 people aged 80 or over in England, so by my caclulations approximately 19% of people aged 80 or over have received their first dose, so far (as of 27th December)

That’s all I have time for this week . For more on the national situation I – as ever – recommend the Independent SAGE weekly briefing (which as well as a 20 minute presentation on the data features frontline healthcare workers talking about their experiences and a discussion on schools). Please also see the details below regarding the guidance and some resource. I’ll try to include some international commentary next week.

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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

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. [Edit: Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here (originally this update went out with a link to then current Tier 4 guidance)]. If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

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.

20th December 2020 data update

Dear followers of the Stroud Coronavirus Community Response updates. This will probably be my last data summary for the year. I am sorry that I’m not able to pass on better news in it – but nonetheless send my seasonal greetings to all readers, and wish you the best over the next couple of weeks. It’s been a really difficult year, and yesterday’s press conference bringing ubrupt changes to plans is obviously challenging in lots of ways for lots of people. Below is the usual summary of the latest local data, with some national and international context, but – because of it’s importance – I’ve started with a summary of links to the new guidance and some additional resources around Christmas.

Christmas and Tier Updates

Key data points

  • There were 218 patients who have tested positive in Gloucestershire hospitals as of the most recent data (15th December), this is the highest it has been in the dataset (since 1st August), and a dramatic rise from last week’s 183.
  • Across Gloucestershire, over 10,000 individual people have now tested positive through the course of the pandemic: 10,191 as of the 19th December. This is a rate of 1,600 per 100,000 people – 16 people in every 1,000, or one in every 63 people.
  • In the most recent week (to 18th December) 869 people from Gloucestershire have already tested positive – higher than the previous week (864) even before all test results have been processed. This number is much higher than the week before that – 593, and higher than the number for the week to the 6th November which preceded the previous Autumn peak in the week to the 13th November – when 1,006 people tested positve in one week.
  • Here in Stroud district, 141 people from the Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week (to the 18th December). Not everyone will have had their test results back so this number will likely rise (last week I reported 140 positive test results, this is now 151 and a few test results may yet come in). The increase from the week before (96) is dramatic, though there is a hint that numbers are plateauing at this level in the district and hopefully we will see falls again soon.
  • A total of 691 people from Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, as of data to week 49 (4th December). 23 people have been added to this total in the most recent week (a lower number than in the previous week: 29). Three people from Stroud district died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate with the death registered in that week. The total number of people from Stroud district to have died is now 115. Of the other 20 people: 6 were from Gloucester, 4 were from Cotswold district, 4 were from Tewkesbury 4 were from Cheltenham, and 2 were from the Forest of Dean. Our condolences to all affected.
  • Across Gloucestershire, there have been 108.5 deaths per 100,000 people – this is a little lower than the England average of 115.6 per 100,000. The lowest rate for England and Wales ‘Upper Tier Local Authorities (ie. County Councils or equivalent) is 37 in Devon. The highest rate is 227.8 in Tameside, more than double the Gloucestershire rate. However, nearby Somerset (46.8), Bath and North East Somerset (54.3), City of Bristol (71), South Gloucestershire (80.7) and Swindon (85.5) all have lower deather per 100,000 people than Gloucestershire, sometimes less than half as high.
  • Across the UK, the Office for National Statistics say: “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths up to 4 December 2020 was 567,199, which is 66,322 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 4 December 2020, 69,771 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is 12.3% of all deaths in England and Wales.”
  • You should be able to enter you postcode via this link and receive up to date information for your local area, the Stroud district, Gloucestershire, the South West and more.

National

Watch the Coronavirus press conference from yesterday, 19th December, where the new Tier 4 was introduced and Christmas restrictions updated.

Though it came out before the press conference introducing Tier 4 and changing the government’s approach to Christmas, this week’s Independent SAGE video is absolutely worth watching. The 20 minute data summary by Kit Yates makes clear the situation the country is in, there are useful questions and answers, and at the end the members of the Independent SAGE answer a question about their own Christmas plans – it’s useful to hear how they are approaching the different situations they are in.

In brief:

  • Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 17th December was 18,771 (up 2,162 on the previous week). For comparison, at the peak in the ‘first wave’ on 12th April 19,849 patients in hospital. In other words, the number of patients in hospitals is 95% of the previous peak.
  • As of the 15th December, there were 265 people with at least on positive Covid-19 test result per 100,000 people in the previous 7 day period. This has rising dramatically since 8th December – one week earlier – when it was 174. The rate is now higher than it reached at the peak on 13th November (258/100,000)
  • Compared to last week, the number of people testing positive is up (51%), deaths within 28 days of a positive test are up (10% – data based on mentions on death certificates is covered below), the number of patients being admitted to hospital with Covid is up (18%). The rate of testing cannot explain these rises – as it is only up 4%. See the UK summary via the gov.uk dashboard for more.

Charts and information for the local area

Source: gov.uk data download

I am pleased to pass on that the government data dashboard now provides public information about the number of tests, and the positivity rate, by district or county (click for Stroud district testing data). Every time I post about the number of positive tests rising, someone pops up to suggest this is only because of a higher number of tests being conducted (oddly the same doesn’t happen when positive test numbers fall). Until now I’ve had to rely on UK and South West level positivity rates to say “no, the proportion of tests that are positive is also rising”, but the chart below now makes this clear for the district. You can see that the pattern is broadly similar to the test data. From the 3rd – 19th July, the proportion of people testing positive was 0.1% at the most, and no-one tested positive for three days in the month (6th-8th). During July between 900 and 1,200 tests were being completed across each 7 day day period.

That intro aside, the recent data is concerning: the proportion of people testing positive was rising sharply to the 15th December (the latest day for which data is available) – from 3.7% on the 8th December, to 5.6% a week later.

The government data dashboard now helpfully breaks down positive test results by age – first, simply, by people aged over or under 60 (a crude but still useful metric of how damaging infections may likely be – as those of us aged over 60 are at much greater risk). The two lines on the chart below show how the proportion of people testing postive aged 60 or over tracks proportions for those aged under 60 – except in the early part of the pandemic, likely because only those being hospitalised were tested and this would largely have been older people who were more badly affected. The recent dramatic rise in positive test results for people aged 60 or over is hugely concerning. It shows the clear risk of community transmission at high rates among the population broadly. It is not possible to expect the virus to avoid those of us most at risk if it is being transmitted by others.

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

The updated government dashboard also includes a “heatmap” of positive tests by age bracket with 5 year age bands – for Stroud district or other areas at district, county, or national level. The chart below for Stroud district shows how rates have risen for all age groups recently (around November), falling back for those aged 35-75, but remaining high or experiencing another rise for people aged over 75, and for aged 25-34. Again, this should underline that protecting those of us most at risk from the virus requires suppressing it among all age groups.

We know that not everyone with Covid-19 can or does get a test, for a variety of reasons. As such, the estimates provided by the Kings College London/ZOE team (behind the Covid-19 symptom tracker app) are useful for a broader picture of infections. The chart below represents estimated cases, but you can see how it broadly tracks the numbers that are confirmed through testing (though it is a daily rather than weekly chart and starts in September rather than May as above). This week they estimate 269 people in the district have active infections, down from 596 last week. Their daily estimates – which are based on app users reporting positive tests and/or symptoms and which have broadly tracked and anticipated other data sources, suggests a recent rise may be back under control and falling again. Fingers crossed this is an early indicator of a decline just as previous data has been an early indicator of increases.

Source: Kings College London/ZOE app – you can only see this chart via the app

Across the UK as a whole, the Kings College London/ZOE Covid Symptom Study team estimate “There are currently 26,897 daily new symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 13 December (excluding care homes)”.

With just a week until Christmas Day it’s a bleak picture across the UK, particularly for Wales and London. Our data shows that cases and hospitalisations are rising again, which worryingly could mean the start of a third wave earlier than we expected. Sadly, Christmas 2020 won’t be normal . People should stay in small groups, avoid travelling to and from higher risk areas and socialise outdoors. People also need to know about the 20+ symptoms of early infection they can experience including fatigue and headache and not take risks if they start feeling unwell. There are no exceptions, everyone needs to take care, but we are urging people to consider postponing Christmas socialising until Easter.”

Tim Spector OBE, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London
Source: gov.uk data download

The chart below compares positive test results for Gloucestershire by month. Even if cases have passed a peak in Gloucestershire, there have still been more people testing positive in the first 11 days of December than in the whole month of September (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. 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 were 218 patients who have tested positive in Gloucestershire hospitals as of the most recent data (15th December), this is the highest it has been in the dataset (since 1st August. A different dataset shows the previous peak was 244 on the 18th April), and a dramatic rise from last week’s 183. The government data dashboard now provides this data by NHS Trust (there are two Trusts in Gloucestershire: Gloucestershire Hospitals – which runs Cheltenham and Gloucester “Acute” hospitals, and Gloucestershire Health and Care – which runs the district hospitals including Stroud and the Vale in Dursley).

Source: NHS Covid-19 Hospital Activity

Across the South West the number of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients is rising again – 1,005 as of the 15th December. This is just below the recent Autumn peak of 1,038 on the 24th November. At 218, Gloucestershire patients account for over 1 in 5 of Covid-19 patients in the South West (22%) – as opposed to 1 in 7 on the 24th November (14%).

Source: NHS Covid-19 Hospital Activity

The chart below show weekly deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate for Gloucestershire. 100 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the five weeks across November and the first week of December, compared to 591 in the 32 weeks from the end of March to the end of October.

Source: gov.uk data dashboard / ONS

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).

Seven-day rolling rate of new positive test results by MSOA (parts of Stroud district) for the week ending 15th December are as follows. If this doesn’t include your area, click through to the map to find your details.

  • 40 – Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (up from 9, a rate of 583.0 per 100,000 people). This high number of positive test results is sadly likely associated with a care home outbreak.
  • 18 – Cam (up from 13, a rate of 208.9 per 100,000, above the England average)
  • 16 – Dursley (same as last week, a rolling rate of 209.2 per 100,000 – above the England average)
  • 14 – Upton St Leonards & Hardwicke (up from 6, rate of 139.4 per 100,000 – below the England average)
  • 13 – Berkeley & Sharpness (up from 7 – rate of 201.4 – in line with the England average)
  • 13 – Michinchimhamptom & Amberley (up from 5 – rate of 194.5 per 100,000)
  • 11 – Stonehouse (down from 14, rate of 137.0 per 100,000, below the England average)
  • 9 – Ebley & Randwick (up from 8 – rate of 75.8 per 100,000)
  • 9 – Leonard Stanley & Uley (down from 0-2 – rate of 130.2 per 100,000)
  • 9 – Wotton-under-Edge & Kingswood (up from 4 – rate of 101.4 per 100,000)
  • 8 – Stroud Town (same as last week, rate of 68.5 per 100,000)
  • 3 – Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe (down from 6, rate of 45.4 per 100,000)
  • 3 – Nailsworth (same as last week)
  • 3 – Chalford & Bussage (up from 0-2)
  • 3 – Rodborough & Thrupp (up from 0-2)

The highest number of people testing positive per MSOA in Gloucestershire in the past week was once again Barton in Gloucester, with 34 positive test results in the week (33 last week) – the chart below from the government’s interactive map no longer shows areas in Stroud district and Gloucestershire with below 3 positive tests – in short, there are people who have tested positive around the district and county.

More national information and charts

The chart below shows the number of people who died in England and Wales with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate in the weeks to the 4th December, and how these compare to deaths not involving Covid-19, and how the total number of deaths each week relates to the 5 year average. The chart shows that, as the ONS say:

  • “In Week 49, the number of deaths registered was 15.0% above the five-year average (1,608 deaths higher).”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 49, 2,835 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 23.0% of all deaths in England and Wales, a decrease of 205 deaths compared with Week 48; this is the first decrease since Week 36 (week ending 4 September 2020).”
  • “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths up to 4 December 2020 was 567,199, which is 66,322 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 4 December 2020, 69,771 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is 12.3% of all deaths in England and Wales.”

ONS also say:

  • “Of the 2,835 deaths involving COVID-19, 2,469 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (87.1%).”
  • “In England, the total number of deaths decreased from 11,645 (Week 48) to 11,450 (Week 49); all English regions had a higher number of deaths than the five-year average for the fourth week in a row.”
  • “The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 4 December 2020 was 13,956, which was 1,820 deaths higher than the five-year average; of the deaths registered in the UK in Week 49, 3,160 deaths involved COVID-19, 211 deaths fewer than in Week 48.”

The below chart – based on deaths as they are reported daily by Public Health England (people who have died within 28 days of a positive test, a less robust measure but more up to date measure than the ONS method based on death certificates which take a couple of weeks to come in) shows that the daily number of new Covid-19 deaths appears to be rising again in the UK and is around 450 people dying each day – roughly half as many people as were dying each day as during the first peak (at worst, around 900 deaths per day). The chart is interactive, so you can change how it displays and add countries for comparisons.

Below 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 6.4% (of people tested on December 16th, more than one in every 20 people tested, tested positive). The changes in the proportion of tests that are positive make clear that ‘false positives’ are not driving the changes in numbers of positive tests (as we’d expect the proportion of false positives to remain roughly the same). The rising positivity rate is sign that infections are rising.

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:

  • The percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England has increased; during the most recent week (6 to 12 December 2020), we estimate 567,300 people (95% credible interval: 533,600 to 602,300) within the community population in England had the COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 95 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 100 to 1 in 90)” (a significant increase since last week “(29 November to 5 December 2020), we estimate 481,500 people (95% credible interval: 450,800 to 513,600) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19), equating to around 1 in 115 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 120 to 1 in 105).”)
  • “Over the most recent week, the percentage of people testing positive has increased sharply in London, with other increases in the East of England, the East Midlands, and the South East; the percentage of people testing positive in the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber has continued to decrease in the most recent week.”

Read more about the ONS methdology.

Global

I no longer have time to do much in the way of global updates. Please do visit the OurWorldInData website for more comparisons and trends. Some key data on the numbers of people dying and excess mortality are covered below.


The chart below compares cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people for selected countries. As of December 12th, there have been 1,592 Covid-19 deaths per million people in Belgium – the worst affected country by this measure. Italy is next most badly affected – 1,123, then Peru at 1,118. In the UK 981 people per million have died with Covid-19 mentioned, comparable to other badly affected countries like the United States (947), Spain (1,046) – where deaths continue to rise sharply. Deaths are still increasing in Sweden – almost as badly affected (791). European countries that had relatively better pandemics are also seeing deaths increase – though the number of people who have died per million population is still much lower in Germany (308), and Greece (390), and there remain a number of countries where less than 1 person per million has died because of Covid-19 (Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan) and Finland (88), South Korea (13) and others all have figures below 100 people per million.

From OurWorldInData’s page on “Excess Mortality”: “The chart here shows excess mortality during the pandemic for all ages using the P-score.9 You can see that some countries – such as [the United States,] England & Wales10 and Spain – suffered high levels of excess mortality… [though] others – such as Germany … experienced much more modest increases in mortality.”
(“It is important to note that because the P-scores in this chart combine all ages, they are impacted by differences in mortality risk by age and countries’ age distributions. For example, countries with older populations – which have a higher mortality risk, including from COVID-19 – will tend to have higher all-age P-scores by default. When comparing countries it is informative to look at the P-scores for different age groups.”)

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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

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 on the “Tier 2” restrictions that apply to Gloucestershire here online (last updated 19th December). If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

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.

13th Dec 2020 data update

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

  • 140 people from the Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week (to the 11th December). Not everyone will have had their test results back so this number will likely rise. This is already a significant increase on last week (now 96 – 91 at time of reporting last week), and – a worse sign – higher than the week before. It’s not possible to strip out the effect of any increased testing, but it seems unlikely to explain a rise over such a short period of time. It is frustrating that signs of decline have stalled.
  • We know that not everyone with Covid-19 can or does get a test, for a variety of reasons. As such, the estimates provided by the Kings College London/ZOE team (behind the Covid-19 symptom tracker app) are useful for a broader picture of infections. This week they estimate 596 people in the district have active infections, a rise of 229 from last week. Their daily estimates – which are based on app users reporting positive tests and/or symptoms and which have broadly tracked and anticipated other data sources, now shows a trend rising in the district pretty much as it was before the national lockdown.
  • The number of people testing positive by week has also risen, though less dramatically, across Gloucestershire as a whole (ie, some areas will be falling, but Stroud district and other parts of the county are pushing the numbers up). In the week to the 11th December, 647 people tested positive. This is higher than the 599 for last week – and, as above, may still rise as results come trhough. It is, currently, lower than the previous week, however – that was 682. Nonetheless, there’s now no evidence of a falling trend, and hence no room for complacency. Please follow the Tier 2 guidance.
  • This is underlined by the most recent data on the number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals. At 183 patients on the 8th December, this is the highest it has been in the dataset (since 1st August. A different dataset shows the previous peak was 244 on the 18th April). Last week it appeared the number of patients in hospital was stabilising, it is concerning that there is no sign of it beginning to fall – and if anything it may be rising.
  • A total of 668 people from Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, as of data to week 48 (27th November). 29 people have been added to this total in the most recent week (a higher number than in the previous week: 22, and higher than all but the worst 6 weeks of the first wave). Two people from Stroud district died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate with the death registered in that week. The total number of people from Stroud district to have died is now 112. Of the other 27 people: 8 were from Gloucester, 7 were from Cotswold district, 5 were from Tewkesbury 4 were from Cheltenham, and 3 were from the Forest of Dean. Our condolences to all affected.
  • Across Gloucestershire, there have been 104.9 deaths per 100,000 people – this is close to the England average of 110.9 per 100,000. The lowest rate for England and Wales ‘Upper Tier Local Authorities (ie. County Councils or equivalent) is 34.5 in Devon. The highest rate is 222.5 in Tameside, more than double the Gloucestershire rate. Nearby South Gloucestershire and Swindon have lower rates: 72.3 and 85.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • You should be able to enter you postcode via this link and receive up to date information for your local area, the Stroud district, Gloucestershire, the South West and more.

National

For a summary of the situation in terms of people testing positive, being admitted to hospital, and dying nationally – and by English region and age group – please watch the 20 minute summary by Christina Pagel for the weekly Independent SAGE briefing. This week’s Independent SAGE briefing also includes a presentation on the vaccines by Professor Danny Altmann, who answers questions. Highly recommended.

Also worth a watch are Professor Tim Spector’s short (6 minute) updates based on the data collected by the Kings College London/ZOE Covid-19 symptom tracking app. Spector discussed regions which might move tiers – noting that nearby Bristol may be moved out of Tier 3 and into Tier 2. This week the same team have also published a guide to Covid-19 symptoms beyond the ‘classic’ 3 (e.g. “skin rashes in the app, which we now know are present in around 8% of positive cases“). They’ve also posted about how you can now log if you have had a Covid-19 vaccine in the app.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJBPiGwItPE

In brief:

  • Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 10th December was 16,531 (up 992 on the previous week), and approaching the ‘second wave’ peak of 16,661 on the 23rd November. For comparison, on the 27th March – the earliest data for comparable data, there were 7,043 patients, and at the peak in the ‘first wave’ on 12th April 19,849 patients in hospital. In other words, the number of patients in hospitals is 83% of the previous peak.
  • Across the UK, the number of people who tested positive in the 7 days to the 8th December was 115,887, which compares to 101,580, in the week to 1st December, and 167,740 in the week to the 10th November. However, this is still some way above the number who tested positive in the week to 8th September: 23,550.
  • See the UK summary via the gov.uk dashboard.

Charts and information for the local area

Source: gov.uk data download

The chart below represents estimated cases, but you can see how it broadly tracks the numbers that are confirmed through testing (though it is a daily rather than weekly chart and starts in September rather than May as above).

Source: Kings College London/ZOE app – you can only see this chart via the app
Source: gov.uk data download

The chart below compares positive test results for Gloucestershire by month. Even if cases have passed a peak in Gloucestershire, there have still been more people testing positive in the first 11 days of December than in the whole month of September (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. 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

In a piece titled “Worries for Wales and London as cases rise“, the KCL/ZOE team identify Gloucestershire – along with nearby Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset, and Wiltshire and Swindon – as the worst performing regions in Tier 2 (along with Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea) – on the basis of prevalence rate, prevalence rate in the 60+ age group (people more at risk), and % NHS bed occupancy with Covid-19. In Gloucestershire, the prevalence rate is 407 per 100,000 people – compared to 569 in London (which will no doubt get more national media coverage so is a useful comparison). In the over 60 age group, prevalence is 90 per 100,000 people (165 in London). R is 0.9 (below 1 should mean numbers are falling, but only just – in London it is estimate to be 1), and NHS bed occupancy is 8.9% compared to 11.6% in London. By constrast, “Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset” (as an area) is one of the “Best peforming regions in Tier 3” – prevalence is still higher than Gloucestershire County area: 558 compared to 407. But prevalence among the over 60s is now the same: 90, as is % NHS bed occupancy with Covid-19. If Bristol comes out of Tier 3 into Tier 2, we can hope that Gloucestershire will stay in Tier 2… but it doesn’t look possible (as it did last week) that Gloucestershire might move down a Tier. If anything, the county is nearing a trend where it may be moved up a Tier. Again, there is no room for complacency – please continue to follow the Tier 2 guidance.

Source: NHS Covid-19 Hospital Activity

Across the South West the number of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients has stablised at around 1,000 (946 on 11th December). It sadly seems there is little sign of a significant downward trend.

Source: NHS Covid-19 Hospital Activity

The chart below show weekly deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate for Gloucestershire.

Source: gov.uk data dashboard / ONS

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).

Rates have largely fallen back to low number save in a Dursley and Cam where they are falling but still 10 people testing positive in a week. Only in Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington is the number of people who tested positive higher than the previous week, and the rate per 100,000 people higher than the England average.

Seven-day rolling rate of new positive test results by MSOA (parts of Stroud district) for the week ending 8th December are as follows. Rates per 100,000 people are recorded only for the places with the highest numbers of people testing positive – if this doesn’t include your area, click through to the map to find your rate.

  • 16 – Dursley (up from 10 last week, a rolling rate of 209.2 per 100,000 – above the England average )
  • 14 – Stonehouse (up from 5, rate of 174.3 per 100,000, above the England average)
  • 13 – Cam (up from 11, a rate of 150.9 per 100,000, in line with the England average)
  • 9 – Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (down from 12, a rate of 131.2 per 100,000 people)
  • 8 – Stroud Town (same as last week, rate of 68.5 per 100,000)
  • 8 – Ebley & Randwick (up from 5)
  • 7 – Berkeley & Sharpness (up from 3)
  • 6 – Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe (up from 5)
  • 6 – Upton St Leonards & Hardwicke (down from 10, rate of 59.7 per 100,000)
  • 5 – Michinchimhamptom & Amberley (down from 6)
  • 4 – Wotton-under-Edge & Kingswood (down from 7)
  • 3 – Nailsworth (down from 4)
  • 0-2 – Chalford & Bussage (down from 4)
  • 0-2 – Leonard Stanley & Uley (down from 4)
  • 0-2 – Rodborough & Thrupp (down from 7)

The highest number of people testing positive per MSOA in Gloucestershire in the past week was once again Barton in Gloucester, with 33 positive test results in the week (down from 44 last week) – the chart below from the government’s interactive map shows a number of areas in Stroud district and Gloucestershire with very low numbers (below 3 appears as white on the map). However, as above, some areas of the county are still seeing rises.

More national information and charts

The chart below shows the number of people who died in England and Wales with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate in the weeks to the 27th November, and how these compare to deaths not involving Covid-19, and how the total number of deaths each week relates to the 5 year average. The chart shows that, as the ONS say:

  • “In Week 48, the number of deaths registered was 20.3% above the five-year average (2,099 deaths higher).”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 48, 3,040 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 24.4% of all deaths in England and Wales; an increase of 343 deaths compared with Week 47.”
  • “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths up to 27 November 2020 was 554,893, which is 64,711 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 27 November 2020, 66,907 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is 12.1% of all deaths in England and Wales.”

ONS also say:

  • “Of the 3,040 deaths involving COVID-19, 2,637 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (86.7%).”
  • “In England, the total number of deaths decreased from 11,675 (Week 47) to 11,645 (Week 48); all English regions had a higher number of deaths than the five-year average for the third week in a row.”
  • “The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 27 November 2020 was 14,106, which was 2,329 deaths higher than the five-year average; of the deaths registered in the UK in Week 48, 3,371 deaths involved COVID-19, 331 deaths higher than in Week 47.”

The below chart – based on deaths as they are reported daily by Public Health England (people who have died within 28 days of a positive test, a less robust measure but more up to date measure than the ONS method based on death certificates which take a couple of weeks to come in) shows that the daily number of new Covid-19 deaths appears to be declining in the UK from a seven day average of around 485 people dying each day roughly half as many people as were dying each day as during the first peak (at worst, around 900 deaths per day). Though there appears to have been a peak, there is sadly not yet a clear sign of a declining trend. The chart is interactive, so you can change how it displays and add countries for comparisons.

Below 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 5.0% (of people tested on December 2nd, one in every 20 people tested, tested positive). The changes in the proportion of tests that are positive make clear that ‘false positives’ are not driving the changes in numbers of positive tests (as we’d expect the proportion of false positives to remain roughly the same). The stable positivity rate is sign that infections are not declining.

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 dramatic decrease in the proportion of people testing positive in the community is a really good sign. Both figures are below 5% – the WHO threshold (above this they say there is a risk cases are being missed). As they are falling, they indicate that rising test trends in the South West region as a whole could be as a result of increased testing (this is a good sign that a higher proportion of cases are being identified, which should help stop the spread).

* The proportion of “Pillar 2” tests (conducted for people in the community) that returned positive results across the South West was 2.9% in the most recent week (to 4th December) – still falling from a peak of 7.7% three weeks previously – though still far from a low of 0.3% in mid-July.

* The proportion of “Pillar 1” tests (conducted for people in hospital) that returned positive results across the South West was 3.2% in the most recent week (to 4th December) – still failing a peak of 5.1% three weeks ago, but well above the low of 0.1% in August.

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

PHE also present an interesting chart on positivity rate by whether someone reported having symptoms or not. We can see that people are much more likely to test positive if they have symptoms (in week 49, around 15% of people with symptoms test positive, compared to under 2.5% of people without symptoms).

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:

  • “In the most recent week, the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England has continued to decrease; during the most recent week (29 November to 5 December 2020), we estimate 481,500 people (95% credible interval: 450,800 to 513,600) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19), equating to around 1 in 115 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 120 to 1 in 105).” (down a bit from the previous week: “In the most recent week, the positivity rate in England has decreased; during the most recent week (22 to 28 November 2020), we estimate 521,300 people (95% credible interval: 490,600 to 552,600) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19), equating to around 1 in 105 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 110 to 1 in 100).”)
  • “Over the most recent week, the percentage of people testing positive has increased in London and there are early signs that rates may have increased in the East of England; the percentage of people testing positive has decreased in all other regions.”

Read more about the ONS methdology.

The ONS also produce data on the social impacts of the pandemic (thanks to Wendy Thomson for highlight this).

“This week, over the period 2 to 6 December, based on adults in Great Britain:

  • compliance with most measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high, with 89% reporting always or often handwashing after returning home, 97% using a face covering, and 89% avoiding physical contact when outside their home
  • around 3 in 10 (28%) adults felt that life will return to normal in six months or less, an increase from 1 in 10 (9%) on 21 to 25 October

We also look at the mental health of adults (depression and anxiety) over the period 11 to 29 November:

  • In November 2020, 19% of adults experienced some form of depression, indicated by moderate to severe depressive symptoms, while 17% of adults experienced some form of anxiety.
  • The proportion of adults experiencing some form of depression in the latest period is similar to earlier in the pandemic (19% in June 2020); however, these rates have almost doubled from around 1 in 10 (10%) before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020).
  • A higher proportion of younger adults, women, disabled adults and those whose households were unable to afford an unexpected but necessary expense of £850 reported some form of depression and some form of anxiety.”

Please see our resources on emotional and mental health – we hope neighbour networks and local mutual aid groups can also be a source of support, with regard to self-isolating, but also emotional and mental health and financially.

Global

I no longer have time to do much in the way of global updates. Please do visit the OurWorldInData website for more comparisons and trends. Some key data on the numbers of people dying and excess mortality are covered below.
This week I did read a sad summary of the awful situation in the United States. The blogpost is worth reading in full but here is the intro summary: “By nearly all measures it has been a horrible week, a horrible month (nine days in), and a horrible year. The United States set pandemic records in all three metrics that measure the pandemic’s severity this week, recording a total of 1.4 million new cases and 15,966 deaths. Yesterday, states and territories reported 3,088 deaths from COVID-19—a record no one wanted to see—and the average number of deaths per day this week exceeded 2,000, surpassing the highest average we saw in the spring’s deadly first surge. More than 106,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19″. It is worth noting that while things are currently very bad in the US, the UK still has a worse rate of people dying per million population, see below.

The chart below compares cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people for selected countries. As of December 12th, there have been 1,527 Covid-19 deaths per million people in Belgium – the worst affected country by this measure. Peru is next most badly affected – 1,108. In the UK 945 people per million have died with Covid-19 mentioned, comparable to other badly affected countries like the United States (890), Spain (1,018), and Italy (1,059) – where deaths continue to rise sharply. Deaths are still increasing in Sweden – almost as badly affected (744). European countries that had relatively better pandemics are also seeing deaths increase – from 110 in September to 261 per million in Germany, and from 36 per million in Greece to 340. There remain a number of countries where less than 1 person per million has died because of Covid-19: Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan, and Finland, South Korea and others all have figures below 100 people per million.

From OurWorldInData’s page on “Excess Mortality”: “The chart here shows excess mortality during the pandemic for all ages using the P-score.9 You can see that some countries – such as [the United States,] England & Wales10 and Spain – suffered high levels of excess mortality… [though] others – such as Germany … experienced much more modest increases in mortality.”
(“It is important to note that because the P-scores in this chart combine all ages, they are impacted by differences in mortality risk by age and countries’ age distributions. For example, countries with older populations – which have a higher mortality risk, including from COVID-19 – will tend to have higher all-age P-scores by default. When comparing countries it is informative to look at the P-scores for different age groups.”)

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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

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 on the “Tier 2” restrictions that apply to Gloucestershire here online (last updated 30th November). If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

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.

6th December data update

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

  • 91 people from the Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week (to the 4th December). Not everyone will have had their test results back so this number will likely rise. However, the number of people testing positive in a week in the district does appear to be falling – from 112 last week, and from 182 and 189 in the weeks before that. We can hope that the week ending 4th December will produce a final total of people testing positive lower than the week ending 30th October (154).
  • The number of people testing positive is also falling across Gloucestershire. In the week to the 4th December, 544 people tested positive. While this may increase a little, the previous week saw 683 people test positive, compared to 960 and 1,002 in the weeks before that.
  • The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals hit a recent peak of 178 on the 30th November, but appears to have broadly stabilised at around 150 people (similar stablisation of people in hospital are visible across the South West and England as a whole).
  • Across the month of November, 3,617 people tested positive across Gloucestershire – 1.8x the number for October (2,013). The rate of increase was much lower than October compared to September (407 positive test results, 5x). In Stroud district, 714 people tested positive in November, 2.1x October’s 342 – which was 5x September’s 69.
  • A total of 639 people from Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, as of data to week 47 (20th November). 43 people have been added to this total in the most recent fortnight (since my last update). Sadly, fifteen people in this figure were from Stroud district (the total for Stroud district is now 110). Twelve were from Cotswold district, six were from Cheltenham, five were from Gloucester, four were from Tewkesbury and one was from the Forest of Dean.
  • Across Gloucestershire, there have been 100 deaths per 100,000 people – this is close to the England average of 105.9 per 100,000. The lowest rate for England and Wales ‘Upper Tier Local Authorities (ie. County Councils or equivalent) is 28.9 in Ceredigion. The highest rate is 217.2 in Tameside, more than double the Gloucestershire rate.

National

For a summary of the situation in terms of people testing positive, being admitted to hospital, and dying nationally – and by English region and age group – please watch the 20 minute summary by Christina Pagel for the weekly Independent SAGE briefing. You can view her slides alone.

In brief:

  • Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 3rd December was 14,556. The number has fallen since a peak in the second wave at 16,661 on the 23rd November. 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, the number of patients in hospitals reached 84% of the previous peak (but is now down to 87% of the second peak).
  • Across the UK, the number of people who tested positive in the 7 days to the 1st December was 84,152, which compares to 167,740 in the week to the 10th November. However, this is still some way above the number who tested positive in the week to 17th September: 24,061.

Charts and information for the local area

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
Source: NHS Covid-19 Hospital Activity

Across the South West the number of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients has stablised at around 1,000 (971 on 1st December). We can hope that this represents a peak, and send our wishes that these people are safely discharged. (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)

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).

Rates have largely fallen back to low number save in a Dursley and Cam where they are falling but still 10 people testing positive in a week. Only in Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington is the number of people who tested positive higher than the previous week, and the rate per 100,000 people higher than the England average.

Seven-day rolling rate of new positive test results by MSOA (parts of Stroud district) for the week ending 1st December are as follows. Rates per 100,000 people are recorded only for the places with the highest numbers of people testing positive – if this doesn’t include your area, click through to the map to find your rate.

  • 12 – Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (up from 4 for the week to 24th November, a rate of 174.9 per 100,000 people)
  • 11 – Cam (down from 13, a rate of 127.7 per 100,000, in line with the England average)
  • 10 – Dursley (down from 31, a rate of 130.7 per 100,000)
  • 10 – Upton St Leonards & Hardwicke (down from 16, rate of 99.6 per 100,000)
  • 8 – Stroud Town (down from 8, rate of 68.5 per 100,000)
  • 7 – Rodborough & Thrupp (down from 7)
  • 7 – Wotton-under-Edge & Kingswood (down from 4)
  • 6 – Michinchimhamptom & Amberley (down from 7)
  • 5 – Stonehouse (up from 3)
  • 5 – Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe (up from 4)
  • 5 – Ebley & Randwick (same as previous 7 day average)
  • 4 – Chalford & Bussage (down from 5)
  • 4 – Nailsworth (down from 5)
  • 3 – Berkeley & Sharpness (same)
  • 0-2 – Leonard Stanley & Uley (down from 4)

The highest number of people testing positive per MSOA in Gloucestershire in the past week was once again Barton in Gloucester, with 44 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.

More national information and charts

The chart below shows the number of people with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate in the weeks to the 20th November, and how these compare to deaths not involving Covid-19, and how the total number of deaths each week relates to the 5 year average. The chart shows that, as the ONS say:

  • “In Week 47, the number of deaths registered was 20.8% above the five-year average (2,155 deaths higher).”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 47, 2,697 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 21.5% of all deaths in England and Wales; an increase of 231 deaths compared with Week 46.”
  • “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths up to 20 November 2020 was 542,440, which is 62,615 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 20 November 2020, 63,852 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is 11.8% of all deaths in England and Wales.”

ONS also say:

  • “Of the 2,697 deaths involving COVID-19, 2,361 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (87.5%).”
  • “In England, the total number of deaths increased from 11,495 (Week 46) to 11,675 (Week 47); all English regions had a higher number of deaths than the five-year average for the second week in a row.”
  • “The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 20 November 2020 was 14,276, which was 2,473 deaths higher than the five-year average; of the deaths registered in the UK in Week 47, 3,038 deaths involved COVID-19, 199 deaths higher than in Week 46.” (the chart and data above refers to England and Wales or England only)

The below chart – based on deaths as they are reported daily by Public Health England (people who have died within 28 days of a positive test, a less robust measure but more up to date measure than the ONS method based on death certificates which take a couple of weeks to come in) shows that the daily number of new Covid-19 deaths appears to be declining in the UK from a seven day average of around 485 people dying each day roughly a little less than half as many people were dying each day as during the first peak (at worst, around 900 deaths per day). Hopefully this represents a peak and the number of deaths will start to fall. The chart is interactive, so you can change how it displays and add countries for comparisons.

Below 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 5.2% 8.1% (of people tested on December 2nd, one in roughly every 20 people tested, tested positive). The changes in the proportion of tests that are positive make clear that ‘false positives’ are not driving the changes in numbers of positive tests (as we’d expect the proportion of false positives to remain roughly the same). The number of tests being conducted is fairly stable at the moment, so a declining positivity rate is a good sign that there are a lower number of people with the virus.

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 dramatic decrease in the proportion of people testing positive in the community is a really good sign. Both figures are below 5% – the WHO threshold (above this they say there is a risk cases are being missed).

* The proportion of “Pillar 2” tests (conducted for people in the community) that returned positive results across the South West was 4.0% in the most recent week (to 27th November) – rising from a low of 0.3% in mid-July, and from a peak of 7.7% two weeks previously (though the rise appears to be slowing).

* 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 27th November) – rising from a low of 0.1% in August, and from a peak of 5.1% the previous week.

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:

  • “In the most recent week, the positivity rate in England has decreased; during the most recent week (22 to 28 November 2020), we estimate 521,300 people (95% credible interval: 490,600 to 552,600) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19), equating to around 1 in 105 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 110 to 1 in 100).” (down a bit from the previous week: “15 to 21 November 2020), we estimate 633,000 people (95% credible interval: 599,200 to 668,200) 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).”)
  • “Over the most recent week, the percentage of people testing positive has decreased in all regions, except the North East; rates are highest in the North East, the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber.”
  • “Over the last week, there appears to be a decrease in positivity rates among all age groups; rates remain highest among secondary school-aged children.”

Read more about the ONS methdology.

Global

I no longer have time to do much in the way of global updates. Please do visit the OurWorldInData website for more comparisons and trends.

The chart below compares cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people for selected countries. As of December 5th, there have been 1,479 Covid-19 deaths per million people in Belgium – the worst affected country by this measure. Peru is next most badly affected – 1,098. In the UK 894 people per million have died with Covid-19 mentioned, comparable to other badly affected countries like Spain (989), Italy (974). Deaths are still increasing in Sweden – almost as badly affected (700). European countries that had relatively better pandemics are also seeing deaths increase – from 110 in September to 225 per million in Germany, and from 36 per million in Greece to 278. There remain a number of countries where less than 1 person per million has died because of Covid-19: Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan, and Finland, South Korea and others all have figures below 100 people per million.

From OurWorldInData’s page on “Excess Mortality”: “The chart here shows excess mortality during the pandemic for all ages using the P-score.9 You can see that some countries – such as [the United States,] England & Wales10 and Spain – suffered high levels of excess mortality… [though] others – such as Germany … experienced much more modest increases in mortality.”
(“It is important to note that because the P-scores in this chart combine all ages, they are impacted by differences in mortality risk by age and countries’ age distributions. For example, countries with older populations – which have a higher mortality risk, including from COVID-19 – will tend to have higher all-age P-scores by default. When comparing countries it is informative to look at the P-scores for different age groups.”)

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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

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 on the “Tier 2” restrictions that apply to Gloucestershire here online (last updated 30th November). If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

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.

22nd November 2020 data update

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

  • Sadly, for the first time since week 24 (ending 12th June), I am reporting that people from Stroud district have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificates. Three people died with their deaths registered in this way in week 45 (ending 6th November), all in care homes. A total of 95 people from Stroud district have now died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate. These 95 people represent 7.7% of the 1,241 people to have died from Stroud district this year.
  • Concerningly, the most recent data shows the number of people with Covid-19 in Gloucestershire hospital beds continues to rise – 151 people (17th November), nearly double the 84 the week previously (10th November – double would be 168), which was slightly more than double the 40 the week before (3rd Nov).
  • There have been 167 positive test results associated with someone living in Stroud district providing a specimen in the week up to the 20th 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). However, while not all test results will have been processed so the most recent week cannot be treated as a definite trend downward, the last two weeks saw a fall from 210 positive results to the 6th November, falling to 188 to the 13th November. It’s possible more tests results will come in, but only two have been added to the total for the week to 13th November since last week’s report.
  • In the most recent week there have been 910 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 945 to 1,001 and may still rise as results are processed (see chart below). Unlike in Stroud district, we don’t yet have evidence of a decline across Gloucestershire as a whole
  • Across the month of November, there have already been more positive test results across Gloucestershire (2,680) than there were in October (2,008). However, the rate of increase appears to be much lower than October compared to September (404 positive test results)
  • A total of 596 people from Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, as of data to week 45 (6th November). 5 people have been added to this total in the most recent week. Two were from the Forest of Dean and died in hospital, three were from Stroud district. The 596 people to have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificates represent 9% of the 6,586 people to have died from Gloucestershire this year.

National

  • Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 16th November was 16,324. A rise of 1,974 (15.2%) since midnight on the 9th November (14,260). 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 82% as many COVID-19 patients in them as at the previous peak (compared to 72% last week).
  • Across the UK, the number of people who tested positive in the 7 days to the 17th November was 158,742, which compares to 167,740 in the week to the 10th November. As you can see, the number is lower – even though it is still high. For further comparison – in the week to the 17th October, 121,015 people tested positive, in the week to 17th September, 24,061.

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

  • “In Week 45, the number of deaths registered was 14.3% above the five-year average (1,481 deaths higher).”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 45, 1,937 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 16.4% of all deaths in England and Wales; this is an increase of 558 deaths compared with Week 44 (when there were 1,379 deaths involving COVID-19, accounting for 12.7% of all deaths).”
  • Of the 1,937 deaths that involved COVID-19, 1,743 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (90.0%); of the 2,267 deaths that involved Influenza and Pneumonia, 307 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (13.5%).” [“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 6 November 2020 was 517,650, which is 58,555 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 6 November 2020, 58,645 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate; this is 11.3% of all deaths in England and Wales.”
  • You can get a summary of the latest data at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/. There you can also enter your postcode or filter data on a particular topic (positive tests, deaths, people in hospital) by local areas – though not always for the Stroud district (data is sometimes only available for Gloucestershire or the South West as a whole).

Charts and informaiton for the local area

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
Source: NHS Covid-19 Hospital Activity

Across the South West the number of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients has reached over 900 (approximately doubling in three weeks since the 1st November), but appears to be stabilising at this point. We can hope that this represents a peak, and send our wishes that these people are safely discharged. (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.)

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:

“Good news! There is clear evidence that the wave is flatting out in our area.
Not quite such good news. There is no evidence as yet of the wave being reversed.
I.e. We are seeing steady number of cases coming through but at least the rate is no longer increasing.
This implies, if it can be maintained, that the wave will start to fall back soon because for the wave to level off, the R number must have fallen which in turn eventually will push the wave back down. 
So, we need to keep up the good work that everyone is doing…
Further afield:
South Gloucestershire: Infections to the South remain far more numerous than up in Stroud. No significant improvement there as yet I would say.
Swindon: Case rate appears to be falling back a little in Swindon.”

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, falling in most – but rising in Ebley & Randwick, Upton St Leonards & Hardwicke, Rodborough & Thrupp, and Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (bear in mind these are positive test results. There could be more people with the virus who have not gone to get tests).

Positive test results by MSOA (parts of Stroud district) for week 46 (ending 13th November) are as follows

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

The highest number of people testing positive per MSOA in Gloucestershire in the past week was once again Barton in Gloucester, with 39 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.

More national information and charts

The below chart shows that the daily number of new Covid-19 deaths appears to be stabilising in the UK at a seven day average of around 400 people dying each day. This is roughly a little less than half as many people were dying each day as during the first peak (at worst, around 900 deaths per day). Hopefully this represents a peak and the number of deaths will start to fall. 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 8.1% (of people tested on November 18th, one in roughly every 12 people tested, tested positive. The changes in the proportion of tests that are positive make clear that ‘false positives’ are not driving the changes in numbers of positive tests (as we’d expect the proportion of false positives to remain roughly the same).

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 7.7% in the most recent week (to 19th November) – rising from a low of 0.3% in mid-July, and from 7.4% in the previous week (though the rise appears to be slowing).

* The proportion of “Pillar 1” tests (conducted for people in hospital) that returned positive results across the South West was 4.9% in the most recent week (to 12th November) – rising from a low of 0.1% in August, and from 4.1% the previous week.

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:

  • “There are substantial differences in positivity rates by region leading to a national positivity rate in England, which is similar to last week; during the most recent week (8 November to 14 November 2020), we estimate 664,700 people (95% credible interval: 628,300 to 701,200) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19), equating to around 1 in 80 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 85 to 1 in 80). (up, but only just, from last week: “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).”)
  • “The highest positivity rates are seen among secondary school-aged children and older teenagers and young adults, although trends vary between these groups; rates continue to increase in primary school-aged children and positivity rates appear to be levelling off in people aged 25 years and over.”
  • “During the most recent week (8 November to 14 November 2020), we estimate there were 7.14 new COVID-19 infections for every 10,000 people per day (95% credible interval: 6.29 to 8.09) in the community population in England, equating to around 38,900 new cases per day (95% credible interval: 34,300 to 44,100); the incidence rate appears to have levelled off in recent weeks.”
  • Read more about the ONS methdology.

Global

I no longer have time to do much in the way of global updates. Please do visit the OurWorldInData website for more comparisons and trends.

The chart below compares cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people for selected countries. As of November 22nd, there have been 1,078 Covid-19 deaths per million people in Peru, 912 per million in Spain, 805 in the UK, 634 in Sweden, 167 in Germany, and less than 1 per million in Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan.

From OurWorldInData’s page on “Excess Mortality”: “The chart here shows excess mortality during the pandemic for all ages using the P-score.9 You can see that some countries – such as [the United States,] England & Wales10 and Spain – suffered high levels of excess mortality… [though] others – such as Germany … experienced much more modest increases in mortality.”
(“It is important to note that because the P-scores in this chart combine all ages, they are impacted by differences in mortality risk by age and countries’ age distributions. For example, countries with older populations – which have a higher mortality risk, including from COVID-19 – will tend to have higher all-age P-scores by default. When comparing countries it is informative to look at the P-scores for different age groups.”)

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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

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 on “the new national restrictions” online (last updated 20th November). If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.

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.

15th Nov 2020 data update

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.