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Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic weekly update for Malvern Seniors

4th April 2021



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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 currently updated every Sunday between 1800 and 2400 hours GMT.

Information about Coronavirus can be found on the NHS website:


Bio hazard signHow to request a COVID test (updated)

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 off to a laboratory for analysis and the quicker Lateral Flow test.

Click for government guidance on types of tests

Getting a PCR test

Click the link below for information on how to get a free NHS PCR test if you think you have Coronavirus:


In case of difficulty you can try phoning the Coronavirus contact centre by dialing 119.

There is a 'walk through' COVID testing station at County Hall next to the Countrywide Centre; one has been set up at the Worcester Arena car park on the University of Worcester site in Hylton Road to serve the residents of St Johns; and there is also a drive through pod at the Worcester Royal Hospital.

The nearest COVID testing station is on the upper level of the car park below Great Malvern library on the corner of Victoria Road and Como Road.

These are not drop-ins and you will need to book - but there is said to be good availability and you should get the result back in about 24 hours.

Getting a Lateral Flow test (new)

Lateral Flow tests can now be obtained at Great Malvern Library. This test is chiefly intended to screen working people who may be infected but show no symptoms and can either be pre-booked or you can walk in.

Click for WCC info about Lateral Flow Tests

Click for report in Malvern Gazette

About the COVID Symptom Study app (Zoe)

COVID app logoPlease consider helping 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 that currently 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.

If you have had a jab there are new questions allowing you to enter the vaccine type and any side effects. If you do not see these questions you will need to update the app.

There is also a new mental health questionnaire.

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.

Click this link for NHS Coronavirus app information

The app provides a means for warning people who have unknowingly been in the presence of someone who has tested COVID positive

4th April 2021


It is beginning to feel as though we have turned a corner and the end is in sight.

The vaccination programme is on track, the COVID death rate and daily hospital admissions have continued to fall, and now daily new cases are beginning to decline after flat-lining for almost two weeks.

Some of our friends have expressed anxiety about not yet having had their second jab but we have advised them to be patient and wait to be called by their GP surgery.

England is now in STEP 1B of the gradual move out of lockdown which allows either two households or a group of up to six people to meet outdoors spaced 2 metres apart. So you can now for example meet grandchildren and friends outdoors and play golf and tennis.

STEP 2 out of lockdown begins on 12th April:-

  • Then you will be able to eat and drink outdoors for example in a pub garden

  • Get a haircut

  • Go shopping (non essential retail opens)

Click for BBC article - Countdown to freedom

Click for Easy Read Road Map out of Lockdown


For those interested, 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.

Click for Worcestershire County Council COVID-19 news

Click to skip to our commentary


You can see at a glance the percentage of people vaccinated by age group on the Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard - the county is doing very well.

Click to view Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard

The COVID vaccination programme has stepped up a gear with the opening of the mass vaccination centre at The Three Counties Showground. All those aged 50+ years should be able to book a jab on-line without having to wait for a call from their GP surgery.  Here is the link:

Click to book a Coronavirus vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

The target is to vaccinate all those aged 50+ with a first jab by the 15th of April.

If you are housebound and cannot get out you should contact your GP surgery to ask for a home visit.

According to the Zoe Symptom Study the vaccine offers no protection for the first two weeks but after 3 weeks most vaccinated individuals have some immunity. Remember that a first jab only offers about 80% protection so you may still become ill though in most cases not seriously.

Despite deliveries of vaccine possibly slowing during April the governments still expects to vaccinate all those aged 18+ with a first jab by the end of July.

Newspapers report delivery of 17M Moderna jabs from the USA should start in April and the Prime Minister has hinted supplies of the Novavax vaccine, made in the UK, can be expected later in the year.

The bar chart below shows the population of the UK by age band (1), 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.

COVID vaccination bar chart

Vaccinometer as of 4th April 2021

Total first jabs are reported 31,523,010 to the 4th April. Second jabs are reported 5,381,745.

You will find this information summarised on the Vaccination tab of the Coronavirus Dashboard.


Orange triangleNumber of cases

This week the average rate of people testing COVID positive in the UK reported by PHE on the 'Coronavirus Dashboard'  has fallen from 5,330 to 3,764 new cases per day, but there may be a bump next week as some cases from NI, Wales, and Scotland will be reported after Easter. The chart below shows how the daily rate has varied since 1st September.

COVID daily new cases

UK daily confirmed COVID cases 1st September to 4th April 2021

After flat-lining for almost two weeks daily cases have again begun to fall.

During the last week the cumulative total of confirmed UK COVID cases reported by PHE rose by 26,346 to 4,359388.

In Worcestershire there have now been 33,184 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 196 on the week. The average number of new cases fell from 43 to 28 cases per day indicating the effective Reproduction Rate is still below 1.

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: these figures are based on the 'Cases by area' (whole pandemic) data set of the Coronavirus Dashboard.

Districts of Worcs Cases Weekly increase Population
Bromsgrove 6,222 +21 98,529
Malvern Hills 2,765 +14 77,545
Redditch 6,227 +39 85,317
Worcester 6,040 +30 103,542
Wychavon 6,405 +49 126,240
Wyre Forest 5,525 +43 100,957
TOTAL 33,184 +196 592,130
County of Hereford 6,893 +41 195,000
Leicester (city of) 35,936 +321 400,000

Cumulative cases reported by PHE  in Worcestershire to 4th April 2021

Interactive map

At the bottom of the Coronavirus Dashboard (daily update) page there is an Interactive Map which is coloured to show the variation in infection rate across the country. The light green areas show how the rate of infection has fallen across the UK since the start of the third lockdown.

Click for Interactive Map of COVID cases

Note: the Interactive Map works on desktop PCs but it's possible you may encounter difficulties using a tablet or smartphone.

Weekly cases to 30th March are: North Malvern <3; Malvern Link <3; Pickersleigh <3; Barnards Green <3; Malvern Wells and Priory <3; Callow End and Hanley <3; Upton and Welland <3.

Number of deaths

Statistics on COVID deaths are published by Public Health England, The Office of National Statistics, and NHS England; the daily death rate continues to fall steadily.

PHE figures

Public Health England reports that the cumulative total of COVID (28) deaths in UK hospitals and care homes has risen by 244 in the last week to 126,836 while the daily average has fallen from 62 to 35; see chart below which shows the actual daily death rate in red, and our forecast to 16th April in blue.

Forecast of daily COVID death rate UK

Daily UK death rate from 7th February to 4th April 2021 in red

Forecast to 16th April in blue

The forecast is based on an exponential function multiplied by a factor to take account of vaccinations.

Click to view the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

In comparison averaged over recent years 1,700 people die daily from all causes so COVID deaths are now less than 2%.

ONS figures

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 NI and Scotland.

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 19th March 2021 (week 11 of 2021) is shown below.

Districts of Worcs Deaths
Week 11 only
Bromsgrove 164 96 0 98,529
Malvern Hills 61 81 1 77,545
Redditch 108 81 3 85,317
Worcester 87 111 2 103,542
Wychavon 157 113 0 126,240
Wyre Forest 171 96 1 100,957
TOTAL 748 578 7 592,130

Provisional cumulative COVID deaths registered by ONS to 19th March 2021

So far just one COVID death has been recorded in the Malvern Hills in week ending 19th March.

In England and Wales 1,010 COVID related deaths were reported by the ONS in the week to 19th March a fall of about 35% on the week before. Of these 161 were in a care home, 101 at home, 19 in a hospice, 719 in hospital and 10 elsewhere.

Note: the daily death rate has fallen significantly since these figures were compiled.

The provisional COVID death toll for all weeks of the epidemic is shown in the following table for England and Wales. (The UK total is about 10% higher as deaths for Scotland and Northern Ireland have to be added).

Year Provisional cumulative COVID related deaths in England and Wales
2020 85,686
2021 57,246
TOTAL 142,932

COVID death toll in England and Wales to 19th March 2021 (source: ONS)

Click for national ONS data on deaths (Excel spreadsheet)


NHS England figures

The table below shows all COVID deaths in Worcestershire hospitals reported by NHS England to 3rd April.

Worcestershire Cumulative deaths Weekly increase
Acute hospitals 799 +2
Care hospitals 63 no change
TOTAL 862 +2

Click for NHS COVID-19 Daily Deaths


Healthcare numbers

The UK government Coronavirus Dashboard includes important information about healthcare statistics.

Hospital cases (UK) Number Weekly change
Patients currently in hospital 3,536 -1,114
Patients on ventilation 517 -98
Patients admitted daily 273 -70

Headline summary of patients in hospital as reported 4th April 2021

These headline figures show the number of COVID patients in hospital has continued to fall and is now 9% of the peak.

Daily admissions are continuing to fall. In the past the steady state number of COVID patients in hospital has been roughly ten time the number of patients admitted daily, suggesting a fall to 2,700 patients is on the way.

Tabulated figures for  bed occupancy in Worcestershire Acute and Care hospitals can be found on the NHS England website, but it is quicker to look at a graph at the bottom of the Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard homepage which shows at a glance the number of beds occupied by COVID patients in Worcestershire Acute hospitals.

Click for Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard

Click for NHS England COVID-19 Hospital bed Activity

Notes on projected figures for deaths

Statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University speaking on BBC TV last year said that, using his rule of thumb, hospital admissions were likely to be about 10% of reported new cases, one week after symptoms; and deaths were likely to be about 2% of new cases, 2 to 3 weeks after that - which would point to no more than 80 deaths per day in UK hospitals by the third week in April. COVID deaths as a percentage of new cases are already beginning to fall to very roughly 0.7% of new cases as a result of vaccination so a figure of about 28 UK deaths per day is much more likely.

Forecast for the week ahead

Trends suggest that during the next seven days (up to 11th April) the cumulative total of new UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE on the Coronavirus Dashboard could increase by about  26,000 towards 4,386,000.

In Worcestershire up to 200 new cases of COVID-19 can be expected, and possibly up to 15 cases in the Malvern Hills district.

We estimate the number of COVID (28) deaths could increase by about 175 nationally towards 127,000 during the 7 days ending 11th April 2021 and that the daily death rate will fall to 25.

In the county of Worcestershire, assuming a 0.7% death rate, the 196 new cases this week should translate to no more than 2 COVID deaths per week towards the end of April.

Longer term forecast

It is once again impossible to provide a long term forecast this week due to uncertainty about how much the lockdown STEPS and the behaviour of the public will put up the Effective Reproduction Rate of the virus, and how effective the vaccines will be at reducing the transmission of COVID-19.

This week the effective Reproduction Rate of the virus is still reported on the Coronavirus Dashboard between 0.7 and 0.9 suggesting, so far, rapid rollout of the vaccine, frequent testing of school children and their families, hand washing, masks, and physical distancing has been largely keeping COVID under control during STEP 1A of the exit from lockdown.

 STEP 1B of the exit from lockdown permits either two households, or groups of up to 6 people to meet outdoors while keeping 2 metres apart - this could put up the COVID-19 Reproduction Rate were significant numbers of people to flout the rules.

COVID Rule of Six

COVID rule of six


So far however daily new cases have been tipping down slightly, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next fortnight.

The vaccine is breaking the link between new cases and both hospitalizations and deaths, so new cases should not be of concern as long as they are not allowed to spiral out of control.

COVID deaths have fallen to a trickle so we now anticipate that the (PHE) UK COVID death toll by the end of April 2021 is unlikely to exceed 127,400; see commentary.

Advice for Seniors

COVID risk highThe daily number of new  cases of Coronavirus has fallen a long way from the peak so we judge the risk to be LOW for most Seniors in the Malvern Hills district who have been vaccinated more than 3 weeks ago; see our annex and riskometer opposite.

But remember, if you are elderly, have not been vaccinated, and catch COVID there is a significant chance that you will either die or your long term health may be seriously damaged, so continue to take care to protect yourself and those you love. 90% of COVID deaths are in those aged over 60 years according to NHS England statistics.

Click for our risk of death table (for those who have not been vaccinated)

It's possible, despite a first jab, for up to 20% of Seniors to become ill with COVID, though not seriously in most cases, so it makes sense to continue taking reasonable precautions until the epidemic fizzles out.

The simple safeguards to remember are to:

  • wash your HANDS thoroughly, using soap and hot water, for 20 seconds, including after handling deliveries to your home, to kill virus picked up from contaminated surfaces see note 1;

  • wear a FACE mask when unavoidably near other people for example when shopping, visiting hospital or the chemist, and using public transport;

  • SPACE at least 2 metres from people outside your bubble see note 2;

  • meet friends and other households outdoors in the FRESH AIR;

  • keep TIME near strangers as short as possible, see note 3;

  • self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste).

Hence the PMs new mantra:-


Pulse Oximeter

Pulse OximeterA doctor in Bournemouth speaking on the evening news suggested that if you were sick with COVID at home it would be a good idea to have a little device known as a Pulse Oximeter handy (see photo on right). This measures the oxygen saturation in the blood and pulse rate by clipping the device on a finger and pressing a button; the reading should normally be at least 97%.

If the reading falls to about 93% you should call your doctor for advice, and if the reading is consistently below 92% you should consider calling an ambulance or visiting A&E.

Pulse Oximeters can be purchased from Amazon for £18 to £25; alternatively your doctor's surgery might loan you one if you are unwell and have tested COVID positive.

Hopefully you will have been vaccinated and won't need one now!

Remember, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 at home and can't count from one to ten out loud due to shortness of breath, you should immediately call your GP, 111 or 999 for advice.

Click for UK government Coronavirus guidance on what you can and cannot do


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 hand gel.

2) Two metres is further than you think - roughly an arm and a walking stick away.

3) During lockdown STEP 1 you should not mix with other households indoors.

Minimise exposure time if you unavoidably find yourself mixing in a confined setting - an invisible mist of virus can build up in the air if the space is shared with an infectious person; imagine people exhaling cigarette smoke. Unless you wear a well fitting FFP3 hospital grade face mask you can breath this in; a face covering will offer little protection. The likelihood and extent you get sick will depend on both the density of the airborne virus, which can be reduced by opening windows, and the duration of your exposure.

This advice is mirrored by Japanese advice to avoid the three Cs, see poster below:

  • Crowded spaces with poor ventilation

  • Crowded places with many people nearby

  • Close-contact settings such as close range conversations

The three Cs - Covid advice in Japan

COVID advice in Japan

Night clubs, crowded pubs and (student) parties would seem high risk.


Annex to 4th April update


On Monday the PM held the first COVID briefing from the new Downing Street Press Briefing Room to launch STEP 1B of the exit from lockdown. He praised the public for following the rules and said Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) would be filling and packaging the Novavax vaccine being manufactured in the UK for delivery later this year.

Click for PM statement

On Tuesday the BBC reported people brawling and drinking in a Nottingham park and leaving litter for others to clear up on the day restrictions eased. Other events were reported in Cardiff, Bristol and Herefordshire.

Click for BBC report - Covid: 'Madness' as hundreds descend on Nottingham park

Concern was raised about black people being reluctant to take the vaccine. Lenny Henry and others have produced a video to encourage uptake.

There was some discussion in the media about COVID mainly being spread by aerosols in indoor settings.

On Wednesday there was further mention of the Astrazeneca vaccine possibly causing rare blood clots. As a precaution Germany and other countries are suspending routine use of the vaccine in those aged under 60 years.

Click for BBC report on Germany limiting use of AstraZeneca Covid jab for under-60s

On Thursday a survey suggested only 1 in 5 of those feeling ill took a COVID test and only 40% of those tesing positive fully self isolated. Another survey suggested 1M people were suffering from Long COVID in March.

There has been more froth in the media about vaccine passports. The PM is expected to make a statement next week.

Getting vaccinated

Colin related his experience of getting vaccinated at The Three Counties Showground:

I was in and out of the showground facilities in just 12 minutes - and that included them checking my name and booking number four times! Most people arrive by car, but it's equally easy to arrive by bicycle or walk in.

Afterwards they ask you to wait in the car park for 15 minutes to make sure there is no immediate adverse reaction.

To make it more comfortable they have thoughtfully provided benches, a coffee truck and a little mobile van decked out as a corner shop!

They use the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine there. The needle itself was inconsequentially tiny and I barely felt it. But I'm generally a bit susceptable to anything that's going around, and I had to take the next day off as I collected the full set of common side effects - I was tired, feverish and unable to think clearly; Paracetomol didn't really help this.

The next day I was pretty much back to my normal self. But I'm the only person I know who has had this reaction - my friends were unaffected other than a sore arm; I suppose it shows that my immune system is working.

And now I feel like I've joined everyone else on our journey out of this strange world. Although we've been suffering comfortably here in Malvern, it has prompted me to think about where we want to visit (in the UK) when the leash loosens. I should write a list!

Colin's experience is not unusual, friends have also mentioned feverishness, headaches, aches and pains, and nausea, whilst we just felt very tired.

Advice: be prepared to take the next day off following your jab.


Another friend has written in the Guarlford and Madresfield Parish Magazine, 'The Grapevine' about volunteering for vaccination clinics. Click on the link below and then go to page 6.

A day in the life of a volunteer

We found the remarks about 'herding' the elderly amusing.

List of vaccines

Here is the list of vaccines ordered by the UK -  you will see there is plenty of vaccine in the pipeline for delivery later in the year.

COVID-19 vaccine Doses ordered (million) Status
Pfizer BioNTech, two dose, -70 deg C 40 Approved, delivery has started, made in Belgium (EU)
Astrazeneca, two dose, fridge 100 Approved, delivery has started. Batches made in UK, Belgium and India.
Moderna, two dose, -20 deg C 7+10 Approved, first deliveries expected from the USA in April 2021.
Valneva, two dose 60+40 A jab from French company Valneva will be made in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland. Delivery to start in second half of 2021.
Janssen, single dose 30 A jab from Belgian firm Janssen, owned by Johnson and Johnson; phase III trials complete. Approved for use in the USA and EU; possibly available from May.
Novavax 60 A jab manufactured by US firm Novavax is being made in Stockton-on-Tees UK; phase III trials complete, awaiting approval. Should be available later this year. Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) has been contracted to fill and package vials.
GSK Sanoft 60 Some delay due to adjusting the formula to give better protection to the elderly; possible availability late 2021.
Curevac 50 Contract placed with German company Feb 2021. Possible source of new variant vaccine later in 2021

Table of vaccines ordered by the UK government

Present rate of new cases

This week, the average rate of infection per 100,000 population per week in England fell from 55 to 47. In comparison the figure for Worcestershire is 41, and that in the Malvern Hills 18.

The probability of catching Coronavirus in the Malvern Hills district is now low, and as most Seniors have been vaccinated we judge the risk LOW.

The risk of death from Coronavirus for unvaccinated healthy teenagers is small so for them the risk is also LOW. The middle aged can suffer from debilitating Long COVID so for those that have not been vaccinated and live in an area where rates are not falling the risk might be judged LOW to MODERATE.

Forecast of death toll to the end of April

The rolling 7 day average death rate was 35 deaths per day on 4th April and the rate is continuing to fall steadily.

Assuming the death rate falls linearly to 10 deaths per day by the end of April, another 585 deaths can be expected which suggests the UK COVID-19 death toll will reach approximately 127,400 by the end of the month.

Date Forecast UK COVID-19 death toll (PHE basis)
April 4th 126,836
April 30th +585
Total 127,421

Forecast UK COVID-19 epidemic death toll by the end April 2021

Another projection of the future COVID-19 death toll and daily deaths can be found on The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation website:

Click for IHME projection of COVID-19 deaths

The latest projection is for 150,000 deaths by the end of April which could be a tad higher than the figure reported by the ONS.

At the start of the epidemic in March the Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Valance, suggested a death toll of 20,000 would be a good 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 Sir Patrick Valance spoke off the top of his head there had been few deaths and he clearly did not want to 'scare the horses'. Professor Neil Ferguson was nearest the mark. A few might consider an outcome of 127,400 deaths 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, and temporary collapse of the NHS. Members of the Labour Party and others will no doubt say the UK has done very poorly compared to the best performing countries such as Australia, 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. But, worldwide, this pandemic is not played out and it could be a further 1 to 2 years before the 'dust' finally settles.

At the appropriate time there will no doubt be a full inquiry to learn lessons for the future.


Back to top



About COVID symptoms

Article about the effects of Coronavirus on the human body


Reporting and how to obtain a test

How to get a test


About joining the Zoe COVID Symptom Study:




UK government Coronavirus guidance



Guidance on tiers: what you need to know

Government postcode checker to find tier for other areas



UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

Coronavirus Dashboard Interactive Map

ONS data on deaths in England and Wales (Excel spreadsheet)

NHS England COVID-19 Daily Deaths

NHS England COVID-19 Hospital Admissions

NHS England vaccination statistics


Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard

Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard




ONS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Roundup


The bigger picture

Worldometer summary of coronavirus cases worldwide

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control info


World Health Organisation info



Window on the USA

Centre for Disease Control (CDC)

American Association of Retired People (AARP)





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

COVID Outbreak Control Plan



Spanish Flu

Dr Jeff Kildea's commentary about the 1919 outbreak of Spanish Flu in Australia


Views of Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health

Follow Martin McKee on Twitter


SAGE membership

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE)


Scottish government:

Link to Scottish Government website

Link to Postcode checker for COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland


Welsh Government:

Guidance on COVID alert levels in Wales


The Malvern Hills logo

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The interpretations and opinions expressed are our own