COVID latest

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Here’s the latest update on the COVID19 pandemic situation in the UK.

Cases

We saw case numbers falling through the last week.

The trend was reflected in all parts of the UK. No doubt a significant factor will have been the Half Term holidays. This will have had two consequences, first a reduced amount of testing however, reduced social contact through schools and colleges may have assisted with a reduced number of actual infections.

It does seem however that the recent spike in cases was beginning to peak prior to half-term. We may now be beginning to see a double benefit feeding through, first from booster vaccines and second a level of herd immunity emerging in adolescents with recent reports suggesting that around about 75% of under 15s may have already had COVID. If so whilst it is possible that there may be a further spike post half term for a couple of weeks, we should not be surprised to see case numbers dropping, potentially dramatically through November.

Hospital admissions

Admissions have been increasing recently in line with cases (allowing for a 7-10 day lag) though there are signs of this beginning to slow a little and we can expect these to fall back as case numbers decrease.

Crucially the ratio of admissions to cases continues to look healthy at ~2.5%

Based on admission rates of 2.5%, 3% and 3.5% this is what current projections look like for hospitalisations over the next few weeks.

Deaths

With this also being a lag measure, we can expect deaths to be reflecting the situation in case numbers several weeks back. The number of deaths reported daily has been increasing.

As with hospital admissions, the positive news is that the % of deaths within 28 days of cases and within 2 weeks of admission both remain low.

Here’s my projection for mortality over the next few weeks.

Based on cases at the moment, we may expect deaths reported to average between 125 and 207 per day by the end of November. I would expect them to peak at between 142 and 238 daily deaths.

Conclusion

Readers will know that my primary aim in providing analysis and updates on COVID19 is to help church leaders with planning and decision making. What I think we can see from the data is that COVID19 is still very much with us and so we cannot consider ourselves to be risk free. However, some of the worst nightmare scenarios of 200k per day cases and 7000 admissions per day simply have not been realised and indeed it looks unlikely that they will be.

This should give church leaders confidence to progress steadily towards normal Sunday provision. We may continue to leave decisions about mask wearing and any other measures with the personal responsibility of attendees. It is my expectation too that if we now see case numbers reducing, this coupled with the failure of a nightmare winter scenario to emerge will encourage those who have been staying home to begin to return. This means that by January, if people are still not returning in person then we must consider the likelihood that there are other factors in play.

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