Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic weekly update for Malvern Seniors
11th July 2021
COVID LOCKDOWN in ENGLAND
EXIT MOVED TO 19TH JULY
Cases rising sharply in 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 normally 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
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
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 2020.
The app provides a means for warning people who have unknowingly been near someone who has tested COVID positive.
Note: now that the majority of adults have been vaccinated, the need for and benefits of the app are being questioned. From 16th August fully vaccinated individuals won't have to self isolate.
You will need the NHS app installed on your smartphone and be registered with the NHS in order to display your vaccination status.
Note: this is not the NHS COVID-19 app
If you don't have a smartphone you can login from a PC.
11th July 2021
Some Seniors are fearful and concerned about the government lifting COVID restrictions on 19th July, whereas others are not, but the Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Witty and commentator Dr Chris Smith agree it is probably better to lift restrictions now than wait until the winter when people spend more time indoors.
That said, it is unlikely to be plain sailing. Cases of COVID can be expected to follow a bell shaped curve with cases rising steeply in the summer, possibly towards 100,000 cases per day, and falling back in late autumn.
If one in forty new cases is admitted to hospital as Sir David Spiegelhalter suggests, this may lead to a significant load on the NHS and waiting lists increasing.
For the time being life for Seniors remains very much back to normal in the rural Malvern Hills, despite daily cases of COVID-19 rising sharply in Worcestershire during the last fortnight.
Some Seniors may catch COVID, and become poorly, despite being fully vaccinated, though thankfully not needing treatment in hospital in most cases. But we must remember, at a time when cases in Malvern are escalating and the government is planning to lift restrictions, that it is our decision how cautious to be.
It is also worthwhile to bear in mind that in Worcestershire there have been no COVID-19 deaths in recent weeks, and only 8 acute hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.
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.
Adults aged 18+ can now book a jab on-line without having to wait for a call from their GP surgery.
Note: there is a mass vaccination centre at The Three Counties Showground.
Alternatively, if you are registered, you can wait to be contacted by your GP surgery - this may either be by a phone call, or a text message on your mobile.
Extension of vaccination to children aged 12+ could follow but no decision has yet been made.
Two jabs are necessary to protect against the Delta variant of COVID-19.
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 11th July 2021
Total first jabs are reported 45,881,721 to the 11th July. Second jabs are reported 34,764511.
In comparison the adult population of the UK aged 18+ is 54,000,000 and if children are included the total is about 66,000,000 so there is some way to go before the whole country is fully vaccinated.
The PM's target has been to offer all those aged 18+ a first jab by 19th July but it looks like he could be 7M short of this target, largely due to younger adults not taking the vaccine.
His second target is to offer 2nd jabs to two thirds of the adult population by 19th July which is 36M. This target should easily be met and one wonders why the target was not set higher.
The daily total of first and second vaccinations has been steadily falling despite the government saying vaccinations would be 'surged' between 20th June and 19th July. The Vaccines' Minister says this is due to a shortage of takers not a shortage of vaccine.
Vaccination statistics can be found on the Vaccination tab of the Coronavirus Dashboard.
A glimpse of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.
There are many charts which some may find confusing, but look for the chart showing share of people who have received at least one dose of COVID-vaccine.
Hint: click TABLE tab to see more countries.
Vaccination numbers in the EU are creeping up. The share of people who have received at least one dose to 8th July are Germany 57%, Belgium 64%, Spain 58%, Italy 57% and France 51%. In comparison 67% of the UK population (including children) has received at least one dose.
New Zealand 16%, Australia 26%, India 21%, Russia 18% and Japan 28% are still lagging behind, whilst in Africa few have been vaccinated.
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 from 24,809 new cases per day to 31,579. The chart below shows broadly how the daily rate has varied since 1st September.
UK daily confirmed COVID cases 1st September to 11th July 2021
The next chart shows in more detail how daily cases have varied between 1st May and the 11th July. Most new cases are said to be unvaccinated individuals aged under 30 years, but some vaccinated Seniors are also catching COVID.
UK daily new confirmed COVID cases 1st May to 11th July 2021
During the last week the cumulative total of confirmed UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE rose by 217,811 to 5,121245.
In Worcestershire there have now been 37,355 confirmed cases of COVID-19 an increase of 1,729 on last week. The number of daily cases has risen from 142 to 247 suggesting the Effective COVID Reproduction Rate in the county has fallen slightly to 1.7 but it needs to be <1.
The chart below shows how daily cases have ramped up in Worcestershire since 1st June 2021.
Daily cases in Worcestershire between 1st June to 11th July 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 11th July 2021
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.
Bromsgrove and the City of Worcester are now COVID hotspots.
Daily cases in Herefordshire (per head of population) are one third of those in Worcestershire.
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 map shows that infection rates are continuing to rise across the UK.
Note: the Interactive Map works on desktop PCs but it's possible you may encounter difficulties using a tablet or smartphone.
Ripples of the fourth wave are spreading into Worcestershire. Recent weekly cases to 6th July are: North Malvern 13; Malvern Link 10; Pickersleigh 13; Barnards Green 12; Malvern Wells and Priory 15; Callow End and Hanley 11; Upton and Welland 15.
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 203 in the last week to 128,425 while the daily average has increased from 17 to 29 deaths per day.
COVID-19 death rate 1st May to 11th July 2021
On average, the daily rate is increasing by one every day.
In comparison averaged over recent years 1,700 people die daily from all causes.
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 25th June 2021 (week 25 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 25th June 2021
Once again no COVID deaths were recorded in Worcestershire.
So far in England and Wales 98 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported by the ONS in the week to 25th June; 4 less than last week. Of these 8 were in a care home, 18 at home, 1 in a hospice, 70 in hospital and 1 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 9th July.
Risk of COVID-19 death by age band
NHS England provides an analysis of COVID-19 deaths in hospital in England and Wales by age band. Shown below is a breakdown of recent deaths for the period 1st June 2021 to 8th July 2021 when the death rate averaged 10 deaths per day.
Risk of COVID-19 death by age band
Those aged 60+ years still account for 76% of deaths compared to 92% last year, but remember the death rate as a proportion of new cases is much lower than in 2020.
Most fatalities are said to have had a pre-existing condition.
The UK government Coronavirus Dashboard includes important information about healthcare statistics.
Headline summary of patients in hospital as reported 11th July 2021
The daily number of hospital admissions expressed as a 7 day average fell to 100 about 20th May but has crept up to 563 and might be expected to increase further in proportion to the rise in daily cases. If roughly 2,000 new cases per day in May led to 100 daily admissions, then the current (average) 30,000 or so cases per day could see daily admissions rising towards 1,500.
In the past, the steady state number of COVID patients in hospital has been roughly ten time the number of patients admitted daily, so we could see the number of COVID patients in hospital rising towards 15,000 in August, which would be a significant burden on the NHS.
Last week we assumed that due to vaccination 1 in 12 of those admitted to hospital now dies (whereas last year it was 1 in 5). If we relate the latest average of 17 deaths per day to hospital admissions two weeks ago the figure might be nearer 1 in 13, in which case the present 563 hospital admissions per day could point to a COVID daily death rate of about 45 by the end of July.
Tabulated figures for bed occupancy in Worcestershire Acute and Care hospitals can be found on the NHS England website.
An easy to read summary can be found on the Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard.
Recently there have been 8 COVID-19 patients occupying Worcestershire Acute Hospital beds, of which 1 is a ventilated bed; an increase of 2 on last week.
Note: it's possible as hospitals fill in Birmingham, where there are many more cases, part of the overflow could be sent to acute hospitals in Worcestershire distorting local figures.
The main point to note is that the number of Worcestershire COVID-19 beds occupied is much lower than the peak of about 300 beds.
Forecast for the week ahead
Trends suggest that during the next seven days (up to 18th July) the cumulative total of new UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE on the Coronavirus Dashboard could increase by 230,000 towards 5,355,000.
In Worcestershire more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 can be expected, and possibly 200 cases in the Malvern Hills district.
We estimate the number of COVID (28) deaths will increase by about 250 nationally towards 128,675 during the 7 days ending 18th July 2021.
In the county of Worcestershire, assuming a 0.3% death rate, the 1,729 new cases this week should translate to no more than 5 COVID deaths per week towards the end of July.
Longer term forecast
When the Alpha (Kent) variant was predominant commentators suggested that the UK could be approaching herd immunity due to both the success of the vaccination programme, and immunity of those who had already been infected by COVID-19. The flare up of cases across the UK caused by the more transmissible Delta variant indicates a higher level of vaccination such as 85% will be needed to counter the Delta Reproduction Rate estimated 6 to 7, and we are not there yet as only 54% of the population has been fully vaccinated so far.
The next chart shows the rolling average of daily cases in red and an exponential curve fitted to June data in blue. This was suggesting that daily cases could have risen to 70,000 by the 11th July Surprisingly in the last 10 days the rolling average shows signs of possibly approaching a plateau, of about 34,000 cases per day. However were the present slope to be maintained, and the curve not turn over, the rolling 7 day average of daily new cases could alternatively approach 40,000 new cases per day by 19th July when restrictions are to be lifted in England.
Chart showing cases are not rising exponentially at present
Households mingling at home and groups meeting inside and outside pubs to watch the Euro football matches will have helped push up the numbers.
Once the government lifts restrictions, and families travel on summer holidays, more pockets of infection are likely to flare up as the virus moves across the country seeking out the frail and unvaccinated. The government seems fairly sure that this time the NHS won't be overwhelmed by COVID, although Sajid Javid acknowledges 'bed blocking' by COVID patients could seriously extend waiting lists.
Scientists are saying the size and duration of the expected increase in cases during August cannot be predicted with any certainty and will partly depend on vaccine uptake and how cautious people are.
So far the COVID death rate during the 'fourth wave' has remained low and our guess is that it won't rise much above 100 before falling back in the autumn, as the percentage of the population vaccinated rises, and survivors develop immunity.
A ripple of cases amongst unvaccinated children and teenagers cannot be ruled out - either in August or when pupils go back to school in September.
We'll just have to wait and see how things pan out in coming weeks and adjust our behaviour accordingly.
Advice for Seniors
Due to vaccination the death rate this summer is broadly a factor of 15 times lower than last year. However the daily number of new cases of Coronavirus in the Malvern Hills district has been rising sharply, and 76% of deaths are still amongst those aged 60+ years, despite most Seniors having had 2 jabs. We therefore judge the risk of death from COVID-19 for vaccinated Seniors to be in the range LOW for the healthy to MODERATE for the frail; 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. Encourage your children and grand children to be vaccinated.
Click for our risk of death table (for those who have not been vaccinated)
It seems possible, despite a second jab, for Seniors to become ill with COVID-19; some might have mild symptoms like hay fever, while others could feel very poorly, but few except the frail will need to be admitted to hospital.
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 hand gel.
2) Two metres is further than you think - roughly an arm and a walking stick away.
Annex to 11th July update
Much to report during the last week in which the PM stated his intention to end the lockdown on 19th July despite cases rising sharply in the UK. There is an emerging view amongst both MPs and scientists that now the most vulnerable have been vaccinated we must get used to living with COVID before the winter sets in when more time is spent indoors.
On Monday the PM announced that England would very likely move to STEP 4 of the Road Map out of lockdown on 19th July when most legal COVID restrictions would be lifted. Expect a briefing from the PM on 12th July.
It will then be our personal responsibility to decide what precautions should be taken to protect against COVID, for example the wearing of face masks and social distancing.
A target is for all those aged 18+ years to be offered a vaccine by the 19th July and for two thirds of adults to be offered two doses. Finally for all adults to be offered two jabs by mid-September.
The PM spoke about a five point plan to keep the country safe, the chief measures being:-
In answer to questions it seems the government is waiting for more safety evidence from other countries before deciding whether or not to vaccinate those aged 12+ years, and is unsure exactly how fast hospital admissions and deaths might rise after controls are lifted on 19th July.
The SPI-M modelling group had provided projections dated 9th June of what might happen if the country were to move to STEP 4 on 21st June.
Our reading of these suggests cases could have risen to 250,000 per day by mid August. In consequence hospital admissions could have risen to 2,500 per day; COVID hospital beds could have risen to 20,000 and deaths could have risen to 300 per day. Projected cases followed a bell shaped curve of broadly 6 to 8 weeks duration.
We assume SPI-M is producing a new analysis for unlocking on 19th July when more people will have been vaccinated and the projected number of cases could be fewer. However modellers say the projections are very sensitive to the assumptions so the outcome is in any event very uncertain.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has suggested daily new cases might reach 50,000 by 19th July and could peak at about 100,000.
On Tuesday the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs that:
The emphasis is moving from isolating to frequent testing.
On Wednesday the Health Secretary Sajid Javid made a statement to MPs about moving to STEP 4. Little new was announced.
The German government announced that the ban on travellers from the UK would be lifted. Visitors who are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine. Non-vaccinated travellers would still be required to quarantine for up to 10 days, with the option to end their quarantine early with a negative test on the fifth day.
On Thursday the Transport Secretary Grant Chapps announced from 19th July those arriving back in England from Amber list countries won't have to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated; but they would have to pass a COVID test before returning to the UK and take another test within 2 days of their arrival, at their own expense.
Reciprocal arrangements for fully vaccinated tourists are still being worked up.
There are rumours that 16 and 17 year old unpaid carers can get the vaccine through their GP surgery.
A COVID state of emergency was announced in Tokyo. No visitors would be allowed at the Olympic Games.
On Friday Border Force warned of possibly delays at airports due to the need to check COVID related paperwork.
Concern was expressed at the high number of people being pinged by Test and Trace as new cases escalate; you might not be aware there could be a £1,000 fine for those who refuse to quarantine.
In a press release dated 6th July Sajid Javid says as part of STEP 4 fully vaccinated individuals won't have to isolate after 16th August.
Meanwhile Grant Chapps has suggested the NHS app might be tuned to make it less sensitive:
Meanwhile some individuals are taking matters into their own hands by either turning off their phones or removing the app.
On Sunday Susanna Reid of ITV Good Morning Britain, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University and Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi appeared on the Andrew Marr show.
Susanna Reid said only half of men aged between 18 and 24 years had been vaccinated. An incentive was being able to go on holidays abroad, and return from Amber list countries without having to quarantine.
It was rumoured that the gap between first and second jabs might be reduced to 4 weeks.
David Spiegelhalter gave some insight on the protection offered by the vaccines.
Vaccines' Minister Nadhim Zahawi agreed with Andrew Marr that vaccination rates had fallen steeply in the last month, but said this was due to lack of demand, not shortage of vaccines.
He said of the 2,300 COVID patients in hospital last Friday:-
62% were aged under 55 years, compared to the majority being over 65 years last year.
15% were aged over 75 years - which was being closely monitored.
The first nine minutes of the weekly Independent SAGE briefing on mental health is worth looking at if you are interested in charts and how the numbers are changing:-
The UK and other nations are debating reciprocal arrangements for vaccinated travellers but much of the summer may have gone before this is widely agreed.
It is now possible to get an NHS Vaccination Pass for overseas travel, which will require you to prove your identity for example by providing a photo of your passport; this should facilitate return from Amber list countries.
List of vaccines
Here is the list of vaccines ordered by the UK - a shortage of vaccine had been limiting the vaccination rate in the UK earlier in the year, but possibly not now. Plenty of vaccine is on order for delivery later in the year some of which may be needed for booster jabs and vaccinating those aged under 18 years.
Table of vaccines ordered by the UK government
Present rate of new cases and risk
The hotspots in England and Scotland are expanding across the whole of the UK and the general infection rate is now very high; were it not for the vaccines the death rate would be heading towards 500 deaths per day.
The average rate of infection per 100,000 population per week in England has risen from 208 to 301 while in comparison the figure for Worcestershire has risen to 236 and the Malvern Hills to 171.
As a yardstick we suggest a figure of below 10 can be considered LOW.
Areas of high infection still include Blackburn 370, Ribble Valley 408, Rossendale 636, Bolton 319, and Salford 520.
Other areas with many cases include Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Wigan, Manchester, County Durham, Newcastle on Tyne, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh
There is now a fair chance of catching COVID-19 within the Malvern Hills, but as most Seniors have been vaccinated with 2 jabs we judge the risk of death LOW for the healthy, and MODERATE for the 'frail'.
The risk of death from Coronavirus for unvaccinated children and healthy teenagers is said to be small so for them the risk is LOW. There is however emerging concern that one in six youngsters might suffer from Long COVID.
The middle aged can suffer from debilitating Long COVID so for those that have not been vaccinated the risk might be judged fairly HIGH.
About the final UK COVID-19 death toll (unchanged)
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 nearer the mark. A few might consider an outcome of about 128,000 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, 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 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.
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.
Worldwide, this pandemic is not played out and it could be a further 1 to 2 years before the 'dust' finally settles. The PM has promised an independent inquiry in Spring 2022 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)
A glimpse of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data 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 13th July 2021