Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic weekly update for Malvern Seniors
10th October 2021
TAKE CARE AS VIRUS WIDESPREAD
We keep an eye on the published government figures and monitor the media to asses the level of risk for Seniors in the Malvern Hills district.
This page is normally updated every Sunday between 1800 and 2400 hours GMT.
Information about Coronavirus can be found on the NHS website:
How to get vaccinated
The most important thing people can do now is get vaccinated. Most Seniors should have been double jabbed by now, but if not get your vaccine, and encourage your friends and loved ones to get theirs.
The effectiveness of the vaccines falls over time so get your booster shot when the time comes.
First vaccinations can still be obtained at the Three Counties Show Ground without an appointment.
Monday to Friday 8.00am to 5.00pm
Saturday 8.00am to 1.30pm
(AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccinations available)
Use Brown Gate entrance, postcode WR13 6NW
How to request a COVID test
In order to protect others it is important to book a test and self isolate if you feel unwell with COVID symptoms.
There are now two types of test you can get. The accurate PCR test involving a throat and nose swab which is sent to a laboratory for analysis and the Lateral Flow Device test.
Getting a PCR test
Click the link below for information on how to get a free NHS PCR test if you think you may have Coronavirus:
In case of difficulty you can try phoning the Coronavirus contact centre by dialing 119.
According to Google there is a 'drive through' COVID testing station at County Hall near the Countrywide Centre, and a 'walk through' at Pershore.
If you cannot get to these you can order a home test kit.
If you test COVID positive you should self-isolate for 10 days.
Getting a Lateral Flow Device test
Lateral Flow tests can now be taken at Great Malvern Library, Evans Pharmacy in Malvern Link, and Claremont Pharmacy in Barnards Green. This test is intended to screen those who show no symptoms and can either be pre-booked on-line or you may be able to walk-in at the library.
You can also collect home test kits, packaged as the COVID-19 Self-Test (Rapid Antigen Test) in boxes of 7 tests, from the library and most pharmacies such as Boots and Murrays in Church Street, Claremont House and Lloyds in Barnards Green, Murrays at Prospect View, Evans and Murrays in Malvern Link, and Boots and Morrisons on the Enigma Retail Park. (Lateral Flow Device shown on the right).
Hint: to see the list, click on 'filter' and then 'pick up sites for test kits' checkbox.
In our opinion, many Seniors will find the home test kit difficult to use as you need to rub the tonsils or thereabouts with the swab-stick without touching the tongue, teeth, cheeks, gums or any other surface. Doing this standing in front of a mirror on your own without gagging while holding a torch in the other hand, won't be easy unless you have a steady hand and good eyesight.
If you test COVID positive you should take a more accurate PCR test to confirm the result, as false positives can occur.
In any event you should report the result at:
Home test kit obtained from Prospect View
About the COVID Symptom Study app (Zoe)
You can help others by downloading the COVID Symptom Study app onto your smart phone or Ipad and reporting how you feel either daily, or as you are able. Note there is no desktop PC version for Windows.
For further details click this link: https://covid19.joinzoe.com
The Zoe app, which is easy to use, allows you to report whether or not you are feeling well and if you have had a test for COVID. This helps Kings College London monitor the spread and symptoms of the disease and give advice to government. This is an important source of data as we progress through the EXIT wave.
If you have had a jab there are questions allowing you to enter the vaccine type and any side effects.
NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app (England)
Release of the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app for Apple and Android smartphones was announced on 24th September 2020.
If you have been close to someone who has tested COVID positive, your smart-phone will be pinged and you will be advised to self-isolate
From 16th August fully vaccinated individuals don't need to self-isolate. However if you are feeling poorly and get pinged it is recommended you take a COVID test, and self-isolate if the result is positive.
Bear in mind fully vaccinated individuals can still catch COVID and pass it on to others.
NHS app and Covid Pass
You will need the NHS app installed on your smartphone and be registered with the NHS in order to display your vaccination status, for example when travelling abroad.
Note: this is not the NHS COVID-19 app
If you don't have a smartphone you may be able to login from a PC to obtain a printed copy.
You can use your NHS login when signing in to report the result of Lateral Flow Device tests taken at home.
10th October 2021
COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in schools and children have begun passing on the infection to their parents and siblings. Consequently daily hospital admissions and deaths have stopped falling and admissions look set to rise a tad next week.
Seniors are advised to continue taking precautions to reduce the risk of catching the virus; such as regular hand-washing, wearing a face covering where recommended, and continuing with sensible distancing.
People are getting out more and life is very much back to normal in the rural Malvern Hills. Like us you may feel 'fireproof' after being fully vaccinated; but the vaccine is not a magic bullet so don't be too surprised if you or some of your friends become poorly. Fully vaccinated individuals can catch the Delta variant of COVID and pass it on to others. Thankfully most should not need treatment in hospital though sadly a minority particularly the elderly and frail with underlying conditions will die of COVID despite being fully vaccinated.
In Malvern, booster jabs have started being rolled out for the most elderly and others such as NHS staff who received their second jab more than 6 months ago and we expect most of those aged 70+ years will have received their booster by Christmas, by which time everyone will be hoping the 'emergency' is over.
Don't forget to get your flu jab as it is expected there will be a greater chance of dying if you are unfortunate and catch flu and COVID at the same time.
England has now moved to the COVID-19 Response Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 which sets out how the government plans to respond to COVID-19 during autumn and winter 2021 to 2022.
A local summary of COVID cases can be found on the Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard.
Note: use the arrow <> buttons at the bottom of the Dashboard screen to move between pages.
According to the UK Health Security Agency COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report for Week 39 about 95% of the elderly population has been fully vaccinated, compared to only 55% of those aged 18 to 30 years. Most of those aged under 18 years are only eligible for a single dose and of those 55% of 16 and 17 year olds have been vaccinated but less than 10% of those aged 12 - 15 years, which has resulted in the present outbreak in schools.
Note: this report covers the period to 26th September so numbers currently vaccinated will be slightly higher.
You can see the percentage of local people vaccinated by age group on the Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard.
Two jabs are essential to protect adults from the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Those aged 16+ can book a first or second jab on-line without having to wait for a call from their GP surgery; those aged 50+ can book a booster shot - see the NHS website for eligibility criteria.
There is a mass vaccination centre at The Three Counties Showground where first vaccinations can be obtained without having to make an appointment.
Strangely, target dates have not yet been announced for completion of vaccination of those aged 12 to 17 years - the new Vaccines Minister, Margaret Throup, would do well to speed up vaccination of this group.
The bar chart below shows the population of the UK by age band (1), extended to include 12 year olds, and the number of first (2) and second jabs (3) given, so that you can see overall progress of the vaccination programme in the UK.
Vaccinometer as of 10th October 2021
The vaccination rate has slowed since the summer and you will see little change to last week's chart, so the situation is about as good as it's going to get. Total first jabs are reported 49,158,835 to the 10th October while second jabs are reported 45,168,344.
Probably the stage has been reached where as many are now achieving future 'immunity' through infection as vaccination - particularly children.
The population of the UK aged 12+ is about 58,000,000 and if younger children are included the total is 66,000,000 so a significant percentage remains unvaccinated; those including the vaccine hesitant (sadly some of whom will die, as did a mother of 3 recently) and those aged under 16 years.
Achieving herd immunity is doubtful as a proportion of the fully vaccinated can catch the Delta variant of COVID-19 but vaccination is still important to protect as many people as possible from debilitating long term loss of smell and taste, Long COVID, serious illness, and death.
Vaccination statistics can be found on the Vaccination tab of the Coronavirus Dashboard.
A chart of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.
Note: click the country list on the left hand side of the screen to add or removed countries from the chart.
Despite the UK being in the vanguard of countries giving first doses to the elderly, the UK has slipped two further places in the last week to 16th place, mostly due to dithering over vaccination of those aged 12 - 17 years during the summer holidays.
Australia and New Zealand are rapidly catching up: about 70% have had a first dose and 49% a second dose.
Number of cases
During the last week the average rate of people testing COVID positive in the UK reported by PHE on the 'Coronavirus Dashboard' rose slightly from 34,572 to 37,255.
The ZOE COVID Study estimates 71,000 cases per day compared to 63,000 last week, double the PHE figure, suggesting the direction of travel is upwards.
The chart below shows broadly how the daily rate reported by PHE has varied since 1st September.
UK daily confirmed COVID cases 1st September 2020 to 10th October 2021
Zooming in, the next chart shows in more detail how daily UK cases have tipped up in the last week.
UK daily new confirmed COVID cases 1st August to 10th October 2021
During the last week the cumulative total of confirmed UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE rose by 253,626 to 8,154,306
In Worcestershire there have now been 62,380 confirmed cases of COVID-19 an increase of 2,612 on last week.
The next chart shows how daily cases have risen in Worcestershire.
Daily cases in Worcestershire from 1st August to 10th October 2021
The breakdown by Worcestershire Lower Tier Local Authorities (LTLA) is shown in the following table, together with comparisons for Herefordshire, a more sparsely populated county, and the city of Leicester.
Note: the cumulative cases are copied from the 'Cases by area' (whole pandemic) data set of the Coronavirus Dashboard. The weekly increase is the difference between this week and last week's total.
Cumulative cases reported by PHE in Worcestershire to 10th October 2021
The prevalence of COVID-19 remains high in Worcestershire.
Note: the weekly increase is indicative; the seven day average by area, which varies day to day, is an alternative metric that can be found on the Coronavirus dashboard.
At the bottom of the Coronavirus Dashboard (daily update) page there is an Interactive Map which is coloured to show infection rates across the country.
Note: the Interactive Map works on desktop PCs but it's possible you may encounter difficulties using a tablet or smartphone.
Recent weekly cases to 5th October are: North Malvern 30; Malvern Link 12; Pickersleigh 25; Barnards Green 13; Malvern Wells and Priory 15; Callow End and Hanley 14; Upton and Welland 11.
Another map can be found on the Zoe COVID Study website indicating extrapolated cases based on reports from those using the Zoe app.
The Zoe map shows pockets of high infection scattered across England.
Number of deaths
Statistics on COVID deaths are published by Public Health England, The Office of National Statistics, and NHS England.
Public Health England reports that the cumulative total of COVID (28) deaths in UK hospitals and care homes rose by 782 in the last week to 137,735 while the daily average flat-lined at about 112 deaths per day.
COVID-19 death rate 1st July to 10th October 2021
In comparison averaged over recent years 1,700 people die daily from all causes, so COVID deaths contribute 7%.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) separately reports registered deaths in England and Wales where COVID-19 is mentioned on the death certificate. The ONS figures lag the PHE figures by 10 - 14 days and do not include Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Click for national ONS data on deaths (Excel spreadsheet)
The ONS figures are broken down by District providing a glimpse of where deaths are occurring. The provisional cumulative total of COVID related deaths in Worcestershire reported by the ONS up to 24th September 2021 (week 38 of 2021) is shown below.
Note: the numbers are from the ONS Death Registrations-Pivot table
Provisional cumulative COVID-19 deaths registered by ONS to 24th September 2021
In week 38 there were 2 COVID deaths in hospital in Bromsgrove; 1 death in hospital in the Malvern Hills; 1 death in hospital in Redditch; 1 death in hospital in Wychavon and 1 death in hospital in Wyre Forest.
In England and Wales 887 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the week to 24th September, 38 more than the week before. Of these 79 were in a care home, 74 at home, 726 in hospital and 6 elsewhere.
Note: summation of rows 9 to 339 of the ONS deaths Registrations-Pivot table.
The provisional UK COVID-19 death toll (as reported by PHE and ONS) for all weeks of the epidemic can be found on the Deaths tab of the Coronavirus Dashboard.
NHS England figures
The table below shows latest COVID deaths in Worcestershire hospitals reported by NHS England to 8th October 2021.
The UK Coronavirus Dashboard reported one death in the Malvern Hills on 9th October.
Risk of COVID-19 death by age band (unchanged)
NHS England provides an analysis of COVID-19 deaths in hospital in England and Wales by age band. Shown below is a breakdown of deaths for the period 1st August 2021 to 15th September 2021 when, despite much of the population being protected by the vaccines, particularly the elderly, the death rate rose to 143 deaths per day.
Current risk of COVID-19 death by age band
Those aged 60+ years now account for about 84% of deaths, not far from the figure of 92% last year, but remember that due to vaccination the death rate as a proportion of new cases is five to ten times lower than in 2020.
The majority of these deaths could be of the vaccine-hesitant, those with underlying conditions such as Diabetes, the frail, and those that are immuno-compromised. The overweight and deprived individuals with a poor diet are also said to be at increased risk.
Probably a significant number of these COVID deaths are now of the fully vaccinated.
The UK government Coronavirus Dashboard includes important information about healthcare statistics.
Headline summary of patients in hospital as reported 10th October 2021
We expect hospital admissions to rise a little next week.
Worcestershire hospital beds
Tabulated figures for bed occupancy in Worcestershire Acute and Care hospitals can be found on the NHS England website.
A summary can be found on the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard which reports on 5th October there were 36 COVID-19 patients occupying Worcestershire Acute Hospital beds, of which 3 were ventilated beds; roughly 13% of the peak experienced last January. Bed occupancy has dipped slightly in recent weeks.
Note: Healthcare statistics can be found on the Healthcare tab of the UK Coronavirus Dashboard. At the top of the page where it says Healthcare in United Kingdom, click the drop down arrow to select Area Type as NHS Trusts, and Area Name as Worcester Acute Hospitals.
Forecast for the week ahead
Trends suggest that during the next seven days (up to 17th October) the cumulative total of UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE on the Coronavirus Dashboard could increase by 250,000 towards 8,400,000 with the 7 day rolling average of daily new cases hovering around 35,000.
In Worcestershire about 2,500 new cases of COVID-19 can be expected, and 200 cases in the Malvern Hills district.
We estimate the number of UK COVID (28) deaths will increase by about 770 towards 138,500 during the 7 days ending 17th October 2021, with the average daily death rate flat-lining at about 110 deaths per day, and rising a little the week after that.
In the county of Worcestershire, assuming a 0.2% death rate, the 2,612 new cases this week may translate to 5 COVID deaths per week in the first half of November.
Hospital admissions in England will probably rise a tad next week following the trend in daily cases.
Longer term outlook
Daily cases amongst adults in England have been rising following a steep increase in cases in unvaccinated schoolchildren but we expect a downturn in cases by Christmas as the resistance to infection of the school population rises, either due to vaccination or catching COVID, and the elderly receive their booster jabs.
Modelling figures from University College London suggest the 7-day average of daily deaths and the prevalence of infection should decline slowly reaching a minimum in December.
For a fixed level of vaccination, daily cases are a signpost to whether daily hospital admissions and deaths are going to go up or down. Based on our heuristic 'rules of thumb' - hospital admissions, cases of Long COVID and deaths were expected to follow daily cases roughly in the ratio:
While a significant proportion of cases involve schoolchildren, most of whom will not fall seriously ill, these ratios will overestimate admissions and deaths.
Advice for Seniors
Recently there have been no more than 6 COVID related deaths per week in Worcestershire which has a population of 600,000 so we judge the risk of death for fully vaccinated Seniors to be fairly LOW while the risk of Long COVID might be MODERATE; see our annex and riskometer opposite.
Remember, if you are elderly, have not been vaccinated, and were to catch COVID there is a significant chance that you will either die or your long term health may be seriously damaged, so if you are able get both doses of your vaccine and continue to take care of yourself and those you love. Also encourage others to be vaccinated.
Click for our risk of death table (for those who have not been vaccinated)
Like Health Minister Sajid Javid, it is quite possible, despite a second jab, for Seniors to become ill with COVID-19; some might have mild symptoms like a common cold or hay fever, while others could feel very poorly, but few except the frail and vulnerable will need to be admitted to hospital.
Until daily cases fall markedly the simple safeguards to remember are to:
1) Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face to avoid transferring virus from contaminated surfaces to your mouth, eyes and nose. If outdoors use an alcohol based hand gel.
2) Two metres is further than you think - roughly an arm and a walking stick away.
Annex to 10th October update
Little new to report this week when daily cases rose a little due to the virus running amok in schools, and daily hospital admissions and the death rate stopped falling.
Those vaccinated with Novavax during trials currently don't count as 'fully vaccinated' as approval for the vaccine has not been sought by the manufacturer; this could make overseas travel difficult Click for BBC report.
People are encouraged to get their flu jab as it is expected infection by both flu and COVID could lead to a bad outcome Click for BBC report.
A neighbour who received a COVID booster jab in one arm and a flu jab in the other felt pretty groggy for a day or two but is fine now. If concerned you could ask to have the vaccinations on different days.
Public Health England has been disbanded. The part that deals with preparation for future pandemics has been rebadged as the UK Health Security Agency led by Dr Susan Harries. The other half which deals with preventing ill health is being moved to a new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities within the Department of Health and Social Care.
The usual charts showing vaccination take-up and COVID cases over time by age band can be found in the Zoe and Independent SAGE weekly updates below.
COVID weekly updates
The Independent SAGE weekly briefing of 8th October reports how the numbers have been changing and further discusses ventilation and a possible scheme for labelling the ventilation status of rooms on doors.
Someone on the Independent SAGE panel suggested a new mantra:
MASK, VACCINATE, VENTILATE
The problem is when we enter a room or building such as Malvern Theatres we do not know at present how adequate the ventilation is for minimising the spread of respiratory infections.
Malvern U3A groups have resumed. Some groups are continuing to meet using Zoom while others are meeting in person.
Members are being asked not to attend meetings if feeling unwell. Names will be taken at meetings and could be passed to NHS Test and Trace if a member subsequently tests COVID positive. Refreshments are being provided by some groups but not others.
The prevalence of COVID in the UK is now much higher than in Europe, so don't be surprised if the UK is put on the 'red list' of other countries.
Meanwhile Singapore says it will accept fully vaccinated travellers from the UK. Click for BBC report
List of vaccines
Here is the updated list of COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK. It looks as though the government has settled on Pfizer as first choice with Moderna second and Astrazeneca now held in reserve.
Valneva has been cancelled, and approval has not yet been sought for using Novavax in the EU and US although approval has been sought for use in third world countries.
For two doses plus boosters, only about 200M doses will be needed for the population of the UK, so it's possible the government will cancel orders for those vaccines marked in red which have been slow to come to market.
Table of vaccines ordered by the UK government
Present rate of new cases and risk
The average rate of infection per 100,000 population per week in England remains at about 340 while in comparison the figure for Worcestershire is now 388 and the Malvern Hills 235.
As a yardstick we suggest a figure of below 10 can be considered LOW.
The probability of fully vaccinated Seniors without underlying conditions catching and dying from COVID-19 is now possibly somewhere in the range 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 per year so we judge the risk fairly LOW. Perhaps as many as 3% to 5% of people who catch COVID suffer from Long COVID so that risk might be assessed MODERATE.
The risk of death from Coronavirus for unvaccinated children and healthy teenagers is said to be small so for them the risk is LOW.
About the UK COVID-19 final death toll
The UK is probably going to have to live with COVID-19 and a background level of infection which may increase every winter as more time is spent indoors. Barring new variants, this could result in many thousands of COVID deaths per year, as with flu. So in that respect there can be no 'final' death toll.
The present 2020/2021 death toll will likely climb from 138,000 towards 145,000 by Christmas 2021 based on the PHE definition of deaths. If ONS figures are used the UK toll could be heading towards 200,000.
Worldwide, this pandemic is not played out and it could be a further 2 to 3 years before the 'dust' finally settles and third world countries are vaccinated. The PM has promised an independent inquiry in Spring 2022 to learn lessons for the future.
At the start of the epidemic on 17th March 2020 the Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Valance, questioned by the Health Select Committee, did not disagree with Jeremy Hunt's suggestion that a death toll of 20,000 might be a reasonable outcome.
On the other hand, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College warned in some scenarios the death toll might be as high as 250,000; while we thought, in the very worst case assuming up to 1% of the UK population died the outcome might have been nearer 400,000 taking into account some build up of herd immunity.
So how well will the UK have done? When Jeremy Hunt and Sir Patrick Valance spoke there had been few deaths and they clearly underestimated what was to come. Professor Neil Ferguson was nearest the mark. A few might consider an outcome of about 145,000 deaths during 2020 and 2021 a fair result compared to a greater number of people dying in a very short space of time, more being permanently disabled by Long COVID, temporary collapse of the NHS and patients dying at home or queued in ambulances outside hospitals. You have only to look at the recent situation in India to imagine what could have happened.
Members of the Labour Party and others will no doubt say the UK has done poorly compared to the best performing countries such as New Zealand and Singapore where deaths have been much lower, not to mention the enormous expense of supporting those out of work and huge damage to the economy. Bear in mind the situation in New Zealand has not played out. NZ has been slow to vaccinate and it has yet to be seen whether their border controls will stop the spread of the Delta variant.
With hindsight, deaths might have been much lower if the second lockdown had been continued into December and January, but that would have meant cancelling Christmas, and who knows to what extent the public would have complied.
A member of the marketing team at US company 'My Bio Source' sent us a link to a History of Pandemics. Let's hope our brilliant scientists can continue to protect us from future threats.
Summary of Links
Reporting and how to obtain a test
How to get a test
About joining the Zoe COVID Symptom Study:
COVID Alert states
ONS data on deaths in England and Wales (Excel spreadsheet)
A glimpse of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.
A forecast of the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic can be found on a University College London (UCL) website.
A projection of the future COVID-19 death toll and daily deaths can be found on The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation website.
The bigger picture
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control info
World Health Organisation info
Window on the USA
Worcestershire County Council COVID-19 information:
Here you will find a useful link,
'Website: Number of new cases by date in Worcestershire'
which displays interesting COVID charts and statistics for Worcestershire
Views of Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health
The interpretations and opinions expressed are our own
Last updated 11th October 2021