The UK reported 504 more Covid-19 deaths today, 6,336 deaths in the last 14 days, signs of a turnaround in these data are too delicately balanced to call, Dr Joe Pajak writes.

First published in December 2020.

504 more deaths have been reported today (4 December) each following a reported positive test result for COVID-19 within 28 days of their death, the reported figure was 414 yesterday.

The detail within the official UK government data indicates that 6,336 people have died in the past 14 days (each following a reported positive test result for COVID-19 within 28 days of their death).

Looking at the chart below, some of the UK data appears to be approaching a ‘turning point’. For example, Government data indicates that there have been 218,209 new cases reported in the past 14 days. This is around a 32% reduction on the 14-day figures reported on 21 November. However, while the levels of virus infection across the UK appear to be falling overall, the 14-day data for deaths reported (while it might be reaching a peak) is not yet falling.

Given this fact, it is possible that the new restrictions (or Tiers System) introduced in England on 2 December, may need longer than 14 days to reveal their true impact.

It’s also worth noting a report published on 3 December by the Nuffield Trust. According to the report’s authors, John Appleby, Director of Research and Chief Economist at the Nuffield Trust, and Billy Palmer, Senior Fellow at the Nuffield Trust, “the latest death registration figures from the Office for National Statistics show numbers of Covid-19 deaths rising (from a relative low during the summer) to account for 22% of all deaths for the week ending 20 November. Total deaths for that week are the highest they have been this century, 12% higher than the average of the last 20 years and over 17% higher than the same period last year.

Their summary says it all, for the time being:

Covid-19 deaths are likely to continue to rise for a week or so beyond 20 November, but the path for all deaths through winter and into early spring remains uncertain. The future will very much depend on the success of continued restrictions and the mass uptake of an effective vaccine.”

Meanwhile, today’s headline UK Covid-19 data, as reported on 4 December 2020 are as follows:

  • 16,298 positive tests
  • 504 more deaths in the last 24 hours
  • 1,364 hospital admissions (reported as of 30/11)
  • 14,917 hospital in-patients (reported as of 02/12)
  • 1,261 patients on ventilation beds (reported as of 03/12)
  • 218,209 new cases reported in the last 14 days according to government data.

The wider context since the first reported UK case, at the end of January 2020, is that there have been 1,690,432 cases of coronavirus in the UK; and according to today’s government figures 60,617 people have died.

However, these data include only those who have died within 28 days of testing positive; other measures suggest the number of deaths is actually higher: 69,752 being reported today as “the total number of deaths of people whose death certificate mentioned COVID-19 as one of the causes, registered up to Friday, 20 November 2020.”🔷

Data source:

Dr Joe Pajak, Professional experience applied scientific research and development, then director of a national children’s charity, trustee of a disability charity, and governor of NHS foundation trust hospitals.

[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 4 December 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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