Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic weekly update for Malvern Seniors
18th April 2021
COVID LOCKDOWN in ENGLAND
EXIT STEP 2, CASES FLAT-LINING
Risk low within the Malvern Hills district
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:
How 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.
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.
About the COVID Symptom Study app (Zoe)
Please 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.
The app provides a means for warning people who have unknowingly been in the presence of someone who has tested COVID positive
18th April 2021
The vaccination programme is on track, the COVID death rate has fallen to a low level, and daily hospital admissions are falling too. Most Seniors aged 70+ should get their second jab by the end of April. In the last fortnight the incidence of new cases of COVID-19 in the Malvern Hills has averaged one case per day, so the district is almost virus free.
England is now in STEP 2 out of lockdown permitting for example:
Subject of course to social distancing and wearing a face-covering when necessary.
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.
You can see at a glance the percentage of people vaccinated by age group on the Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard - the county has been doing very well and a high percentage of those aged 50+ have now had a jab.
The COVID vaccination programme stepped up a gear with the opening of the mass vaccination centre at The Three Counties Showground.
The next target is to vaccinate all those aged 18+ with a first jab by the end of July.
Those aged 45+ years can now book a jab on-line without having to wait for a call from their GP surgery. Here is the link:
If you are housebound and cannot get out you should contact your GP surgery to ask for a home visit.
If you are 45+ and have not had your first jab contact either the NHS or your GP surgery to book an appointment.
If it is 12 weeks since your first jab, and you haven't been offered an appointment for your second jab, contact your GP surgery.
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.
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.
Vaccinometer as of 18th April 2021
Total first jabs are reported 32,849,223 to the 18th April. Second jabs are reported 9,930,846.
Priority is being given to second jabs, and we expect the total number of second jabs to rise towards 15 million by the end of April, which should be enough to cover those aged 70+ and frontline health workers.
You will find information summarised on the Vaccination tab of the Coronavirus Dashboard.
Number of cases
This week the average rate of people testing COVID positive in the UK reported by PHE on the 'Coronavirus Dashboard' roughly flat-lined at 2,500 cases per day. The chart below shows how the daily rate has varied since 1st September.
UK daily confirmed COVID cases 1st September to 18th April 2021
During the last week the cumulative total of confirmed UK COVID cases reported by PHE rose by 18,045 to 4,387,820.
In Worcestershire there have now been 33,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 81 on the week.
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.
Cumulative cases reported by PHE in Worcestershire to 18th April 2021
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 and yellow areas show how the rate of infection has fallen considerably across the UK since the start of the third lockdown.
Note: the Interactive Map works on desktop PCs but it's possible you may encounter difficulties using a tablet or smartphone.
Weekly cases to 13th April 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.
Public Health England reports that the cumulative total of COVID (28) deaths in UK hospitals and care homes has risen by 183 in the last week to 127,270 while the daily average has fallen from 36 to 26 deaths per day; see chart below which shows the actual daily death rate in red, and our forecast to 30th April in blue.
Daily UK death rate from 7th February to 18th April 2021 in red
Forecast to 30th April in blue
In comparison averaged over recent years 1,700 people die daily from all causes so COVID deaths are now less than 2%.
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 2nd April 2021 (week 13 of 2021) is shown below.
Note: the numbers are from the ONS Death Registrations-Pivot table
Provisional cumulative COVID deaths registered by ONS to 2nd April 2021
There were just 3 COVD-19 deaths in Worcestershire in week ending 2nd April; no deaths were reported in the Malvern Hills.
In England and Wales 400 COVID related deaths were reported by the ONS in the week to 2nd April, 319 lower than the week before, a fall of 44%. Of these 76 were in a care home, 47 at home, 11 in a hospice, 261 in hospital and 5 elsewhere.
The provisional COVID death toll for all weeks of the epidemic is shown in the following table for England and Wales.
COVID death toll in England and Wales to 2nd April 2021 (source: ONS)
Note: in previous weeks we had double counted deaths in Wales by summing rows 9 to 351 of the ONS spreadsheet, which included both LA and Health Board data, rather than 9 - 344 only.
The UK death toll is about 10% higher as deaths for Scotland and Northern Ireland have to be added.
Click for national ONS data on deaths (Excel spreadsheet)
The death toll based on death certificates is about 20% higher than deaths within 28 days reported by PHE.
NHS England figures
The table below shows latest COVID deaths in Worcestershire hospitals reported by NHS England to 17th April.
The main point to note is the COVID death rate has fallen a long way from its peak and there are currently few weekly deaths in Worcestershire.
The UK government Coronavirus Dashboard includes important information about healthcare statistics.
Headline summary of patients in hospital as reported 18th April 2021
These headline figures show the number of COVID patients in hospital has continued to fall and is now 5% of the peak.
Daily admissions are also falling. 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 1,800 patients is on the way.
Last year roughly 10% of new cases were admitted to hospital and of those at least 1 in 5 died.
The latest figures suggest nearly 10% of new cases are still being admitted to hospital.
If it is assumed that due to vaccination just 1 in 15 now dies then 179 hospital admissions per day may suggest 12 UK deaths per day in the first half of May.
Note: these ratios are very rough and ready and will certainly change as more of the population is vaccinated.
Tabulated figures for bed occupancy in Worcestershire Acute and Care hospitals can be found on the NHS England website.
You can also obtain a snapshot of bed occupancy from the Coronavirus Dashboard daily update page, by entering your postcode at the bottom of the page, which will show data for Worcestershire; then find and click All Health Data to see bed occupancy. Recently there have been 14 COVID patients in Worcestershire Acute Hospitals of which 3 were on ventilators.
The main point to note is that the number of Worcestershire COVID beds occupied has fallen steeply.
Forecast for the week ahead
Trends suggest that during the next seven days (up to 25th April) the cumulative total of new UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE on the Coronavirus Dashboard could increase by about 17,500 towards 4,405,000.
In Worcestershire there may be up to 100 new cases of COVID-19, and possibly up to 10 cases in the Malvern Hills district.
We estimate the number of COVID (28) deaths will increase by about 130 nationally towards 127,400 during the 7 days ending 25th April 2021.
In the county of Worcestershire, assuming a 0.7% death rate, the 81 new cases this week should translate to no more than one COVID death per week in the first half of May.
Longer term forecast
It's impossible to provide a longer term forecast due to uncertainty about:
So far, rapid rollout of the vaccine, frequent testing of school children and their families, hand washing, masks, and physical distancing seems to have kept COVID under control, in most areas.
STEP 2 permits either two households, or groups of up to 6 people to meet outdoors while keeping 2 metres apart, plus allows shopping and eating out, seated at tables, in outdoor settings - this should be safe providing people are sensible.
COVID rule of six
Pundits are not expecting STEP 2 to make much difference, but are more concerned what will happen after restrictions are eased on 17th May allowing mixing in indoor settings (STEP 3).
However, as the vaccine is beginning to break the link between new cases and both hospitalizations and deaths, new cases should not be of too much concern as long as they are not allowed to spiral out of control and new variants are contained.
COVID deaths have fallen to a trickle so it is anticipated that the (PHE) UK death toll by the end of April 2021 will not exceed 127,600; see commentary.
Remember most of those aged under 50 years have yet to be vaccinated so the public needs to remain cautious until towards the end of June.
Advice for Seniors
The daily number of new cases of Coronavirus has fallen a long way from the peak so this week 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:
Hence the PMs new mantra:-
HANDS, FACE, SPACE, FRESH AIR
A 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.
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 STEPS 1 and 2 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:
COVID advice in Japan
Night clubs, crowded pubs and (student) parties are high risk.
Annex to 18th April update
Little of significance has happened this week.
On Tuesday the government said it had met its target of offering jabs to all those aged 50+ years. Those aged 45+ years can now apply on-line for a jab.
The Moderna vaccine is now available in England, following issue to Wales and Scotland last week.
Forty four cases of the South African variant of COVID have been found in Wandsworth and Lambeth. Consequently there will be surge testing of everyone in those boroughs aged 11+ years.
Rare but severe cases of blood clots have been found with the single shot Janssen vaccine used in the USA, so jabs of the vaccine will be paused for a few days while the medical history of those involved is investigated. The vaccine has still to be approved in the UK.
The government says students can return to university on 17th May (in STEP 3).
On Wednesday surge testing for the South African variant was broadened to include Southark and then Thanet.
Positive Lateral Flow Tests were said to be 82% correct.
On Friday it was announced that pregnant women would be offered either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine when it became time for their age group to be vaccinated, since this had been found to be safe in the USA.
Concern was expressed over soaring cases in India and Brazil.
Prof Tim Spector of the Zoe COVID Symptom Study thinks herd immunity may be starting to take effect in the UK.
It is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays but the restrictions could be relaxed after 27th May 2021.
The PM said a report by a task force would be produced by 12th April outlining prospects for overseas travel in the summer. Progress to date was outlined by Grant Chapps MP and the Department of Transport on 9th April.
It's all rather complicated but in essence you will need to get a COVID test before return to the UK and following arrival. If you return from a green list country you are free to circulate if the tests are clear. If you return from an amber list country you must quarantine for ten days and take two COVID tests. If you arrive from a red list country you must quarantine for ten days in an approved government hotel.
More work has to be done to allocate countries to the red, amber and green lists which may not be published until the middle of May; the cost of getting tests could be a significant burden on holiday-makers, who may also have to provide evidence of vaccination.
Travel abroad this summer may be possible to countries welcoming holiday-makers such as Spain, but probably not countries with closed borders such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
It could be a month or two before the situation clarifies.
List of vaccines (unchanged)
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.
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 flat-lined at 28. In comparison the figure for Worcestershire is now 11, and that in the Malvern Hills 10.
The probability of catching Coronavirus in the Malvern Hills district is 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 areas where rates are falling more slowly 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 26 deaths per day on 18th April. Assuming the death rate falls linearly to 15 deaths per day by the end of April, another 245 deaths can be expected which suggests the UK COVID-19 death toll could be heading towards 127,600 by the end of the month.
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:
The latest projection is for 150,000 deaths by the end of April which is likely to be similar to 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 127,600 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.
Summary of Links
Reporting and how to obtain a test
How to get a test
About joining the Zoe COVID Symptom Study:
ONS data on deaths in England and Wales (Excel spreadsheet)
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 19th April 2021