The UK reported 397 more Covid-19 deaths today, 6,392 deaths in the last 14 days – worrying data regardless of the decrease in reported infections, Dr Joe Pajak writes.

First published in December 2020.

397 more deaths have been reported today (5 December) each following a reported positive test result for Covid-19 within 28 days of their death, the reported figure was 504 yesterday.

The detail within the official UK government data indicates that 6,392 people have died in the past 14 days (each following a reported positive test result for Covid-19 within 28 days of their death).

Government data indicates there have been 213,873 new cases reported in the past 14 days. This is around a 33% reduction on the 14-day figures reported on 22 November. However, while the levels of virus infection across the UK appear to be falling quite noticeably, the 14-day data for deaths reported (while it might be reaching a peak) is still not yet falling. The new restrictions (or Tiers system) introduced in England on 2 December may need longer than 14 days to reveal their true impact.

In the meantime, while we wait for more extensive roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021, appropriate epidemiological tools can be useful to provide a better understanding of the situation. In particular, the need for continuing restrictions to suppress virus transmission as far as possible, subject to any specific local contexts. Such information is clearly vitally important for governments to prevent overwhelming their health and care facilities.

With this in mind, for committed followers of the trajectory of the Covid-19 epidemic, there is an update of the excellent tool developed by Imperial College London’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, and Jameel Institute, in partnership with Bio Nano Consulting.

This ‘scenario’ analysis tool (first released in May 2020 and co-funded by the Wellcome Trust and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), allows users to make projections of the course of the epidemic for all countries in the world, and project the ‘expected’ number of people requiring hospitalisation and critical care facilities.

The model is “automatically re-calibrated weekly to the cumulative Covid-19 deaths reported up to the previous week.” Importantly, the developers emphasise the fact the simulation outputs should not be interpreted as predictions.

It is interesting to refer to it today, given the trendline chart below.

Back to the UK Covid-19 headline data, reported on 5 December 2020:

  • 15,539 positive tests
  • 397 more deaths in the last 24 hours
  • 1,444 hospital admissions (reported as of 01/12)
  • 14,556 hospital in-patients (reported as of 03/12)
  • 1,274 patients on ventilation beds (reported as of 04/12)
  • 213,873 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 1,705,971 cases of coronavirus in the UK; and according to today’s government figures 61,014 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 5 December 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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