This piece is part of a series of weekly blog posts that aim to summarise England’s progress throughout lockdown, showing (1) how far we have come; and (2) how far we could go if we maintain our current rates of decline. It provides an updated summary detailing the weekly change in:
- Positive cases (by specimen date)
- Hospital admissions
- People in hospital with coronavirus (average across the week)
- People on ventilation with coronavirus (average across the week)
- Deaths (by date of death)
- The culminative number of people vaccinated (by date of vaccination – first dose only)
Because of the data used, the weekly update will come in stages:
- Monday – Vaccinations
- Tuesday – People in hospital, and on ventilation
- Wednesday – Hospital admissions
- Thursday – Cases (by specimen date)
- Friday – Deaths (by date of death)
This is due to the length of time it takes for the each dataset to become complete. Some of the data takes longer (four to five days) because of using the specimen date for cases (the date the test was carried out rather than reported) and date of death for deaths (instead of date reported). The reasoning why these measures are used instead of the daily reported figures is because they give us a more accurate picture of what is happening in the community on any given day, whereas reported figures consistently oscillate between underreporting or overreporting infections and deaths, making it difficult to fully trust trends in its data.
WEEKLY UPDATE: 8th-14th February
- The weekly number of people testing positive decreased by 29.4% (from 106,124 to 74,961)
- The weekly number of people admitted to hospital decreased by 25.7% (from 13,683 hospital admissions to 10,167)
- The average number of people in hospital with coronavirus per day this week decreased by 21.1% (from 25,440 people to 20.069)
- The average number of people on ventilation with coronavirus per day this week decreased by 14.4% (from 3,243 people to 2,776)
- The culminative number of people vaccinated with their first dose increased by 22.3% (from 10,519,729 people to 12,862,909)
Here is a graph showing England’s weekly positive cases and where we could end up if we continue to follow our current trajectory:
It was good news all round for cases numbers this week. The rate of decline accelerated from -27.0% to -29.4%, meaning the number of weekly cases dropped from 106,124 to 74,961. We are now 79% down on January’s peak and 50% down on Lockdown 2.0’s peak. If we continue on this trajectory, we would be on course for <300 daily cases by the end of April.
Here is a graph showing England’s weekly hospital admissions and where we could end up if we continue to follow our current trajectory:
After a slight plateau in the rate of decline last week, weekly hospital admissions are accelerating again. This week we registered a -25.7% decline (bettering last week’s -22.5%), meaning weekly hospital admissions fell from 13,683 to 10,167. This brought up an important milestone: dropping below Lockdown 2.0’s peak of 10,808. It also means we are now 60% below January’s peak and are on course to reach <400 weekly admissions by the end of April (if we continue following our current trajectory). All in all a great week.
PEOPLE IN HOSPITAL WITH CORONAVIRUS
Here is a graph showing the average number of people in hospital with coronavirus in England and where we could end up if we continue to follow our current trajectory:
It has been another good week for England’s hospitalisation figures. The rate of decline accelerated from -16.2% to -21.1%, bringing the average number of people in hospital with coronavirus down from 25,440 to 20,069. It means we are now 40% down on the January peak. However, it will still take a couple more weeks to fall below Lockdown 2.0’s November peak of 14,343. Yet if we continue on our current trajectory, we will reach <1,500 people in hospital with coronavirus by the end of April, which will be an incredible achievement.
PEOPLE ON VENTILATION
Here is a graph showing the average number of people on ventilation per day with coronavirus and where we could end up if we continue to follow our current trajectory:
The average number of COVID-19 patients requiring ventilation has also seen a good decrease this week. Thanks to a decline acceleration from -8.7% to -14.4%, the average has fallen from 3,243 people to 2,776, which is a 24% decrease on the January peak. Though the numbers aren’t going down as quickly as they are with the other measures (cases, admissions, hospitalisations and deaths), the fact that the decline keeps accelerating week-on-week means there is no reason to panic. For example, if we continue following our current trajectory, numbers will fall to an average of ~500 people requiring ventilation by the end of April, which would still put us in a great position. They could even fall further and faster once we start seeing a vaccination effect in the groups most susceptible to serious illness.
Here is a graph showing the weekly number of people dying from coronavirus in England within 28 days of a positive test (by date of death), and where we could end up if we continue to follow our current trajectory:
Before giving detail on this week’s numbers, I want to explain the difficulty of tracking deaths (by date of death). They are more time-lagged than cases, which means we tend to see a high number of revisions, even after the 4-5 days typically given to count the dataset as complete. Though it varies week-to-week, these revisions typically tend to be around 5-7.5%. To account for this, I create confidence intervals based on 5-7.5% of the weekly total (as of 19th February) and then use the middle figure to calculate the week-on-week percentage change. This means that deaths are more of an estimate than the others, but it is accurate enough to gauge how well we are doing.
As of 19th February, the weekly total for 8th-14th February is 3,264 deaths, giving us a 5-7.5% confidence range of 3,427-3,509 deaths. The middle point, 3,468 deaths, means the rate of decline is -27.2%, which broadly in line with last week’s decrease. We are now 56% down on January’s peak and should fall below Lockdown 2.0’s peak sometime next week. It also means we are on track to reach ~100 weekly deaths by the end of April, which would be an incredible achievement.
Here is a graph showing the culminative number of people vaccinated with their first dose in England and where we could end up if we continue to follow our current trajectory:
In the week of 8th-14th February, we vaccinated 2,343,180 people, which was down on the previous week by 94,194. However, it still lead to a 22.3% increase in the culminative number of people vaccinated, up from 10,519,729 people to 12,862,909. It meant the government reached its first target of vaccinating ~12 million people in England (~15 million for the United Kingdom) three days early. Its next target, to vaccinate ~27 million people in England (~32 million people in the UK) by the end of April is also ahead of schedule. If we continue at current pace, we could reach the target by the week of 22nd-28th March. However, there are a couple issues that might slow this next phase of the roll-out, such as supply issues and moving resources to give people their second dose.
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