Weekly Update of England’s Coronavirus Figures: 5th-11th April

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 cumulative number of people vaccinated (first and second dose separated)

Because of the data used, the weekly update will come in stages:

  • Monday – Vaccinations; people in hospital; and people on ventilation
  • Tuesday – 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: 5th-11th April

Summary:

  • The weekly number of positive cases decreased by 12.6% (from 18,048 cases to 15,771)
  • The weekly number of people admitted to hospital decreased by 9.0% (from 1,341 admissions to 1,220)
  • The average number of people in hospital with coronavirus per day this week decreased by 19.9% (from 2,985 people to 2,392)
  • The average number of people on ventilation with coronavirus per day this week decreased by 20.3% (from 473 people to 377)
  • The weekly number of people dying from coronavirus (28-day cut-off) decreased by 27.7% (from 191 people to 138)
  • The cumulative number of people vaccinated with their first dose increased by 1.2% (from 26,778,032 people to 27,107,590)
  • The cumulative number of people vaccinated with their second dose increased by 45.5% (from 4,355,141 people to 6,338,332)

CASES

Here is a graph showing England’s weekly positive cases and where we could end up if we continue to follow our current trajectory:

Data taken from the UK Government’s COVID-19 Dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (accurate to 15th April)

The rate of decline decelerated significantly from -39.1% to -12.6% this week, meaning weekly case numbers fell from 18,048 to 15,771. This is entirely expected in the week following a Bank Holiday as figures start to stabilise again after being unusually low. We are now 95.5% down on January’s peak and 89.6% down on Lockdown 2.0’s peak. If we continue to follow our current trajectory, we would reach 7,030 weekly cases by 17th May and 3,585 by 21st June.

*The weekly PCR and LFD positivity report has not been released yet but I will update when it does*

HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS

Here is a graph showing England’s weekly hospital admissions and where we could end up if we continue to follow our current trajectory:

Data taken from the UK Government’s COVID-19 Dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (accurate to 13th April)

The rate of decline decelerated significantly from -30.7% to -9.0% this week, meaning weekly hospital admissions decreased from 1,341 to 1,220. This puts us 95.3% down on January’s peak and 88.7% down on Lockdown 2.0’s peak. Though it is the smallest decline we have seen since hospital admissions peaked in January, there is no reason to panic as it could be the result of the Easter bank holiday making its way out of the figures. Last week’s decline of -30.7% was far higher than the week previous (-17.2%) so this would also fit with a bank holiday effect, but we won’t know until next week so it is worth keeping an eye on. Even with this slower decline, we could still see 693 weekly admissions by 17th May and 432 by 21st June, which would be incredibly low numbers.

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:

Data taken from the UK Government’s COVID-19 Dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (accurate to 12th April)

This week the rate of decline decelerated from -23.6% to -19.9%, meaning the average number of people in hospital with coronavirus fell from 2,985 to 2,392. We are now 92.9% down on January’s peak and 83.3% down on Lockdown 2.0’s peak. The slightly slower decline only pushes the projections back by two weeks. If we continue falling at our current rate, we would see an average of 632 people in hospital by 17th May and we would surpass the lowest levels achieved last summer by the week of 31st May-6th June – three weeks before the Phase 4 reopening on 21st June.

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:

Data taken from the UK Government’s COVID-19 Dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (accurate to 12th April)

The rate of decline accelerated slightly from -19.8% to -20.3% this week, meaning the average number of people on ventilation with coronavirus fell from 473 to 377. We are now 90% down on January’s peak and 70% down on Lockdown 2.0’s peak. Because the week-on-week rate is so similar, our projections remain basically unchanged. If we continue falling at our current rate of decline, we would see an average of 97 people on ventilation by 17th May and we would surpass the lowest levels achieved last summer by the week of 7th-13th June – two weeks before Phase 4 reopening.

DEATHS

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:

Data taken from the UK Government’s COVID-19 Dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (accurate to 16th April)

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 5-10% (range has increased since numbers are now incredibly small). To account for this, I create confidence intervals based on 5-10% of the weekly total (as of 16th April) 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.

The weekly total of deaths for 5th-11th April currently stands at 129, giving us a 5-10% confidence range of 134-142. The middle point, 138 deaths, means the rate of decline has effectively stayed the same from -27.9% to -27.7%. We are now 98.3% down on January’s peak and 95% down on Lockdown 2.0’s peak. At our current rate of decline, we would surpass the lowest levels reached last summer by the week of 3rd-9th May.

VACCINATIONS

Here is a graph showing the weekly number of vaccinations carried out in England, first and second doses separately:

Data taken from the UK Government’s COVID-19 Dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (accurate to 12th April)

And 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:

Data taken from the UK Government’s COVID-19 Dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (accurate to 12th April)

In the week of 5th-11th April, England administered 329,558 first doses and 1,983,191 second doses of the coronavirus vaccine. This represents a ~550k decrease in first doses and a ~450k increase in second doses from last week’s totals. It brings our cumulative totals up to ~27.1m for first doses and ~6.34m for second doses – an increase of 1.23% and 45.54% respectively.

This is the second consecutive week where the amount of second doses exceeded that of first doses, yet the gap between the two has widened further. There were ~675k more second doses than first doses last week, but this difference has now grown to ~1.65m. Our ability to administer first doses appears to be suffering for two reasons: (1) the need to accommodate a vast number of second doses thanks to our initially quick vaccine roll-out; and (2) supply constraints restricting our overall ability to vaccinate.

We can see this better in graph form when plotting the combined weekly totals of first and second doses:

Data taken from the UK Government’s COVID-19 Dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (accurate to 12th April)

After two great weeks of administering 3m-3.5m doses, we are now back down to 2.3m-2.4m, which has restricted our ability to maintain a solid flow of first doses as second doses has ramped up. Unfortunately, this has ramifications for how quickly we can vaccinate the population. At our current rate, we would not reach the whole adult population in England (~44 million) for another 51 weeks, so it is important that the number of first doses administered starts increasing soon as this would be too slow. Ministers appear confident that this will happen and that we can meet this third target by summer so hopefully we start to see first doses increasing again soon.

*This will be the last weekly update of England’s coronavirus figures. I started these updates in January as a way to gauge progress as we dealt with containing the devastating Winter peak. Though coronavirus is still a concern, its risk has significantly decreased thanks to the third national lockdown and the increasing portion of the population vaccinated. So, as more restrictions are eased, it feels like the right time to move away from providing weekly updates, especially as numbers are now so low and more noisy. Privately, I will be keeping an eye on our figures and if anything drastically changes, I will provide ad-hoc updates when necessary.*

Previous Weekly Updates

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