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

22nd August 2021


Take care as virus widespread

ChadSkip preamble and go to summary

Skip to advice

Skip to links at end

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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 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 you booster shot when the time comes.

During August first vaccinations can 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

Bio hazard signHow 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.

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 may 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 had 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 has been a drive through pod at the Worcester Royal Hospital.

The COVID testing station on the upper level of the car park below Great Malvern library on the corner of Victoria Road and Como Road has closed due to lack of demand, so you may either have to go into Worcester or order a Home Test Kit.

If you test COVID positive you must 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.

COVID Lateral Flow DeviceYou 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).

Click for NHS information on Rapid Lateral Flow Test sites and collection sites in Malvern

Hint: to see the list, click on 'filter' and then 'pick up sites for test kits' checkbox.

Click for WCC info about Lateral Flow Tests

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)

COVID app logoYou 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.

Click this link for NHS Coronavirus app information

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 won'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

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 may be able to login from a PC to obtain a printed copy.

Login from a desktop computer or laptop

Some months ago Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said the government had no intention of introducing vaccine passports. Now it seems the PM thinks it's a jolly good idea calling it the NHS Covid Pass; it's an option still being considered by HMG and other governments.

You can use your NHS  login when signing in to report the result of Lateral Flow Device tests taken at home.

22nd August 2021


During the last week, the UK rolling average of daily new cases reported by PHE has increased from 28,618 to 32,484 which is very high, especially remembering that a year ago during the first lockdown, and before vaccination, cases had fallen to 800 new cases per day; so take care.

Hospital admissions and the death rate are now creeping up and with the autumn Bank Holiday, pupils returning to school, students to university, and more time being spent indoors in the winter do not be surprised if the situation deteriorates. The virus has not gone away.

The Effective Reproduction Rate of the virus is thought to be hovering close to one so that small changes in behaviour can cause daily cases either to tip up or down; so it's still in the public's power to influence events.

Meanwhile life for Seniors remains very much back to normal in the rural Malvern Hills; like us you may feel 'fireproof' after being fully vaccinated. But don't be too surprised if you or some of your friends become poorly. It turns out fully vaccinated individuals can catch COVID and pass it on to others, but thankfully most should not need treatment in hospital. Unfortunately a minority, particularly those with underlying conditions, may die of COVID despite being fully vaccinated.

To avoid infection, it is recommended that you continue following coronavirus advice such as regular hand-washing, wearing a face covering where recommended, and continuing with physical distancing.

Click to view our advice.

Click for guidance on what you can and cannot do

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 for Simple Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard

Click to go to our annex/commentary


You can see the percentage of people vaccinated by age group on the Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard.

Click to view Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard

Adults aged 18+ can book a jab on-line without having to wait for a call from their GP surgery and very soon those aged 16 and 17 years will be able to get a first jab without the need for parental consent.

Note: there is a mass vaccination centre at The Three Counties Showground where first vaccinations can be obtained during August without having to make an appointment.

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

Alternatively contact your GP surgery.

Extension of vaccination to all children aged 12+ may follow but for now vaccination will be restricted to the most vulnerable children and those living with vulnerable adults.

Two jabs are essential 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.

COVID vaccination bar chart

Vaccinometer as of 22nd August 2021

Only younger age groups and the vaccine hesitant remain to be jabbed.

Total first jabs are reported 47,643,064 to the 22nd August. Second jabs are reported 41,688,636.

The adult population of the UK aged 15+ is about 55,000,000 and if children are included the total is 66,000,000 so there is some way to go for the whole country to be fully vaccinated. Achieving herd immunity now seems unlikely as the fully vaccinated can catch COVID, but it's still important to protect as many people as possible from serious illness.

The bulk of the first phase of the vaccination programme  has been completed, in so far as most people aged over 18 years have been offered a first dose. However the take-up by those aged under 30 years is only about 70% and some older individuals remain hesitant so full vaccination can never be achieved, as has been found in Israel.

The government and universities have begun to offer incentives to encourage young people to take the vaccine, but the proposal to make vaccination compulsory for university students has been dropped. Pregnant mothers are now actively encouraged to take the vaccine while the older 'vaccine hesitant' are likely set in their ways and perhaps little more can be done to get them jabbed.

The current target is to offer all those aged 18+ a second jab by mid September,

All 16 and 17 year olds are to be offered a first jab, or the chance to book one, by 23rd August 2021.

The NHS has a new video warning young people of the dangers of the virus for the unvaccinated

Vaccination statistics can be found on the Vaccination tab of the Coronavirus Dashboard.

Vaccinations Worldwide

A glimpse of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.

Click for worldwide statistics

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.

Click for chart showing % vaccinated

Hint: click TABLE tab to see more countries.

Vaccination numbers in the EU are now similar to those in the UK. The share of people who have received at least one dose reported 21st August are Germany 63%, Belgium 72%, Spain 76%, Italy 68% and France 70%. In comparison 70% of the UK population (including children) has received at least one dose.

New Zealand 34%, Australia 41%, India 32%, Russia 29%, Japan 52% and Malaysia 55% are some way behind, whilst in Africa few have been vaccinated.

Orange triangleNumber 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 28,618 to 32,484 cases per day, but so far there are no signs of cases rising exponentially.

The ZOE COVID Study on the other hand estimates 48,737 cases per day which seems  more in line with rising hospital admissions and deaths. We wonder if fewer people are getting tested.

The chart below shows broadly how the daily rate reported by PHE has varied since 1st September.

COVID daily new cases

UK daily confirmed COVID cases 1st September to 22nd August 2021

The next chart shows in more detail how daily cases have crept up in recent days.

Daily COVID cases to 2nd May 2021

UK daily new confirmed COVID cases 1st July to 22nd August 2021

During the last week the cumulative total of confirmed UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE rose by 225,469 to 6,492,906.

In Worcestershire there have now been 48,928 confirmed cases of COVID-19 an increase of 1,699 on last week. During the last week the number of daily cases has risen only slightly from 218 to 243 cases per day suggesting the Effective COVID Reproduction Rate is not far from one.

The next chart shows how daily cases have varied in Worcestershire in recent days roughly following the national picture.

COVID cases in Worcestershire

Daily cases in Worcestershire from 1st July to 22nd August 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.

Districts of Worcs Cases Weekly increase Population
Bromsgrove 9,546 +406 98,529
Malvern Hills 4,384 +223 77,545
Redditch 8,469 +248 85,317
Worcester 9,337 +263 103,542
Wychavon 9,142 +311 126,240
Wyre Forest 8,050 +248 100,957
TOTAL 48,928 +1,699 592,130
County of Hereford 10,527 +703 195,000
Leicester (city of) 48,928 +1,496 400,000

Cumulative cases reported by PHE  in Worcestershire to 22nd August 2021

The increase is similar to last week, except for Bromsgrove and the Malvern Hills which have seen a significant rise.

Cases have risen sharply in Herefordshire, believed to be caused by unvaccinated youngsters socialising and then infecting their families.

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.

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. This week the map shows that infection rates are moderate across most of Scotland and parts of Wales; still high and increasing across much of England; and very high in Northern Ireland.

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.

Recent weekly cases to 17th August are: North Malvern 16; Malvern Link 16; Pickersleigh 24; Barnards Green 11; Malvern Wells and Priory 19; Callow End and Hanley 10; Upton and Welland 24.

Number of deaths

Statistics on COVID deaths are published by Public Health England, The Office of National Statistics, and NHS England.

PHE figures

Public Health England reports that the cumulative total of COVID (28) deaths in UK hospitals and care homes has risen by 687 in the last week to 131,640 while the daily average has increased from  90 to 98 deaths per day.

UK COVID death rate

COVID-19 death rate 1st July to 22nd August 2021

Click to view the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

In comparison averaged over recent years 1,700 people die daily from all causes.

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 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 6th August 2021 (week 31 of 2021) is shown below.

Note: the numbers are from the ONS Death Registrations-Pivot table

Districts of Worcs Deaths
Week 31 Population
Bromsgrove 164 106 1 98,529
Malvern Hills 61 83 0 77,545
Redditch 108 85 0 85,317
Worcester 87 117 0 103,542
Wychavon 157 122 0 126,240
Wyre Forest 171 106 0 100,957
TOTAL 748 619 1 592,130

Provisional cumulative COVID-19 deaths registered by ONS to 6th August 2021

In week 31 just one COVID related death was reported in hospital in Bromsgrove.

In England and Wales 524 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the week to 6th August; 122 more than the week before. Of these 32 were in a care home, 38 at home, 7 in a hospice, 437 in hospital and 10 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 20th August 2021.

Worcestershire Cumulative deaths Past week
Acute hospitals 819 4
Care hospitals 63 0
TOTAL 882 4

Click for NHS COVID-19 total announced deaths

For a second week there have been 4 COVID deaths in Worcestershire; this epidemic is by no means over.

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 deaths for the period 1st June 2021 to 15th August 2021 over which the death rate rose to 90 deaths per day.

Age band Number of deaths % of deaths
0 - 19 7 0.3
20 - 39 67 3
40 - 59 300 14
60 - 79 862 42
80+ 834 40

Risk of COVID-19 death by age band

Those aged 60+ years now account for 82% of deaths compared to 92% last year, but remember that due to vaccination the death rate as a proportion of new cases is about ten times lower than in 2020.

The infection rate in England is currently 320 in 100,000 per week so even if this continued all year the chance of catching COVID would be no more than 1 in 7.

A few weeks ago the probability of dying of COVID had been about 1 in 500 of those that test COVID positive (see below) and as most deaths are amongst the elderly the chance of healthy Seniors dying of COVID must be about 1 in 1,000 of those infected, and the probability of dying of COVID in any one year no more than say 1 in 10,000.

These odds may not worry fully vaccinated healthy Seniors wanting to make the most of their remaining years.

On the other hand the risk-averse might be cautious bearing in mind that the vaccine does not work for about one person in twenty, for example the immuno-suppressed.

There are few COVID deaths in the Malvern Hills now thanks to the vaccination programme, but prior to this there were 144 deaths. Malvern nurse Julie Ann Omar had been one of the first victims of the Coronavirus epidemic. She sadly died self-isolating at home on the 20th April 2020 aged 52 years, after working at the Alexandra hospital in Redditch.

Healthcare numbers

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

Hospital COVID cases (UK) Number Change since last week
Patients currently in hospital 6,441 +566
Patients on ventilation 928 +  46
Patients admitted daily 948 + 68

Headline summary of patients in hospital as reported 22nd August 2021

Daily hospital admissions and bed occupancy have been creeping up but there are currently no signs of extreme pressure being put on hospitals.

As a guide from observing peaks in the charts a few weeks ago it looked as though roughly:-

  • 1 in 50 of new of cases are hospitalised 8 days after testing positive.

  • 1 in 500 of new cases die on average 20 days after being tested positive.

These ratios depend on the percentage of infected individuals coming forward to be tested, the proportion of young people in the mix, and the effectiveness of the vaccines which will vary over time. Recent data suggests more pessimistic ratios of 1:30 and 1:300. So far, there appear to be few official figures in the public domain but on 13th September the ONS plans to publish an analysis of deaths by vaccination status for the period 1st Jan - 2nd July 2021 which may shed light on how well  the vaccines are protecting us.

Worcestershire hospital beds

Tabulated figures for bed occupancy in Worcestershire Acute and Care hospitals can be found on the NHS England website.

Click for NHS England COVID-19 Hospital bed Activity

An easy to read summary can be found on the Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard.

Click to view Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard.

There are now 41 COVID-19 patients occupying Worcestershire Acute Hospital beds, of which 5 are ventilated beds; roughly 15% of the peak experienced last January.

Click for Simple Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard

Forecast for the week ahead

Trends suggest that during the next seven days (up to 29th August) the cumulative total of UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE on the Coronavirus Dashboard could increase by at least 235,000 towards 6,730,000, while the 7 day rolling average of daily new cases could rise from 32,484 to somewhere between 34,000 and 37,000 new cases per day.

In Worcestershire about 1,700 new cases of COVID-19 can be expected, and 220 cases in the Malvern Hills district.

We estimate the number of UK COVID (28) deaths will increase by about 700 towards 132,340 during the 7 days ending 29th August 2021.

In the county of Worcestershire, assuming a 0.2% death rate, the 1,699 new cases this week should translate to no more than 4 COVID deaths per week in the first half of September.

Longer term forecast

During the last week daily cases have been steadily rising but not at an exponential rate. We had previously speculated that due to vaccination and immunity arising from past infections a tipping point had been reached where public behaviour could strongly influence whether, in any week, the 7 day average of daily cases went up or down.

We now know the scales are tipping up, and as people become less cautious and mingle over the autumn Bank Holiday cases are certain to rise further. Another rise can be expected after students go back to schools/universities in the autumn, following which cases could 'surge' as more time is spent indoors during the winter with cases of Long COVID, hospital admissions, and deaths following in proportion.

If the number of UK hospital beds occupied by COVID patients rises towards 10,000 the government may be forced to re-impose some restrictions.

Scientists have said it is impossible to predict when the EXIT wave will peak and that will probably not be known for sure until at least three weeks after the peak is past. It is likely the spike in daily cases in the middle of July caused by football supporters was not the peak. Cases are still very high and it's too early to rule out further 'bumps in the road' during the autumn and winter.

Cases have been rising steeply in Israel where the population was the first to be inocculated, using the Pfizer vaccine. So it seems doubtful that the present vaccines, designed for the original virus, will bring the epidemic to a halt in the UK where the Delta (Indian) variant is prevalent.

We'll just have to wait and see how things pan out during coming weeks and adjust our behaviour accordingly.

Mutations of the virus are constantly evolving around the world and the scenario could change were a more deadly variant of COVID-19 to enter the UK which escapes the current vaccines.

Advice for Seniors

COVID risk mediumCurrently there are no more than four COVID related deaths per week in Worcestershire so we therefore judge the risk of death for fully vaccinated Seniors to be 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 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:

  • 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 covering 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 you don't feel safe with see note 2;

  • preferably socialise with friends and other households outdoors in the FRESH AIR, else, if you can, keep doors and windows open if you are indoors;

  • minimise TIME near strangers;

  • look out for symptoms and self-isolate and book a test if you feel unwell (the top five symptoms amongst the vaccinated in order of prevalence are now said to be headache, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and loss of smell).

  • keep away from crowded indoor settings and areas where the infection rate is known to be high.

  • Respect others and give them space.


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 22nd August update


On Sunday Holy Communion was held at Madresfield Church, there was quite a good attendance and we sang hymns for the first time in 18 months. In the afternoon there was a parish tea party in Guarlford Village hall with cakes provided by the WI to celebrate all workers who played a part in helping us through this pandemic. It felt as though the pandemic was over.

On Wednesday we heard some Stena ferry services between Holyhead and Dublin had been replaced by an alternative service from Cairnryan in Scotland to Belfast on account of COVID quarantine restrictions linked to BREXIT.

The Moderna vaccine was approved by MHRA for 12 to 17 year olds. It's now up to JCVI and the government whether to implement a vaccination programme.

On Friday we heard mention of a case of COVID in a care home in Great Malvern, the death of a 57 year old who had been double jabbed, and the death of three people in their 30's who had chosen not to be vaccinated.

There have been a handful of cases of the Delta variant in New Zealand linked to someone returning from Australia and it will be interesting to see if the outbreak can be contained. Vaccination though late is being ramped up.

On Saturday the Times Sport page had an article about Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow who had caught COVID and urged people to get the vaccine.

We wondered if the COVID epidemic was over but now we are not so sure as cases, hospital admissions and deaths continue to rise, albeit at a slow pace.

In principal daily hospital admissions and deaths as a percentage of cases should have dipped lower following the July peak in daily cases. The fact there has only been a small dip suggests either daily cases were higher than reported by PHE for example because some of those feeling sick chose to to rest at home not bothering to get tested, or the effectiveness of the vaccines is waning for those vaccinated at the start  of the year. We imagine it could be a combination of the two. Note the Zoe COVID study estimates 48,000 new cases per day compared to the PHE rolling average of just 32,000.

Hearsay is that 1 in 20 people catching COVID may develop Long COVID, the probability increasing with age and number of initial symptoms. So for every death there could be say 15 patients suffering from Long COVID.

The media reports that booster jabs will be offered from September 2021. We thought new vaccines were being developed to counter the prevailing variants of COVID, but it looks like Seniors will be offered the vaccines developed for the original strain of COVID-19, which probably offer adequate protection.

The government has been strangely quiet since the lifting of COVID restrictions on the 19th July. This is understandable; the PM will have waited to see what happened and, immediately after, cases dropped dramatically - then MPs and civil servants went on their summer holidays. The new Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been conspicuous by his absence but no doubt he will be back in September to update the nation on the COVID-19 epidemic.


Other weekly updates

Here are links to the weekly Zoe COVID Study and Independent SAGE updates:-

Click to watch Zoe COVID Study 18th August update

The Zoe COVID Study suggests the breakdown of daily cases is,

  • Unvaccinated - 23,582 cases per day
  • One jab - 6,508 cases per day
  • Fully vaccinated - 13,604 cases per day

The fact fully vaccinated individuals are catching COVID should not be a concern providing the vaccines protect against hospitalisation. A recent ONS report says the vaccines are more than 90% effective in reducing hospitalisation.

Click for Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights: Vaccines 20 August 2021


The first part of the Independent SAGE weekly briefing covers how the numbers have been changing:-

Click to watch Independent SAGE 20th August briefing


Overseas travel (no change)

It is getting easier to travel overseas but we have given up reading UK government overseas travel advice which seems to vary day to day.

Clearly all governments are working towards facilitating travel for fully vaccinated individuals but it could be many months before things return to near normal.

For example, while fully vaccinated individuals from the US and most EU countries can now enter the UK without having to quarantine, you will have to quarantine in an expensive government hotel if you return from Mexico, and it is doubtful you will be let into Singapore or NZ.

It's possible to get an NHS Vaccination Pass for overseas travel, which requires you to prove your identity for example by providing a photo of your passport; this may facilitate return to the UK from Amber list countries.

Click for information about the NHS COVID Pass


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 2021 some of which may be needed for booster jabs and vaccinating those aged 12 - 18 years.

COVID-19 vaccine Doses ordered (million) Status
Pfizer BioNTech, two dose, -70 deg C 40+60+35 Approved, deliveries continuing, made in Belgium (EU). An additional 60M doses have been ordered for booster shots for the most vulnerable in the autumn. A further 35M doses were ordered in August 2021 for delivery in 2022.
Astrazeneca, two dose, fridge 100 Approved for those aged 30+ years; deliveries continuing. Batches made in UK, Belgium and India.
Moderna, two dose, -20 deg C 7+10 Approved. First deliveries to Wales and Scotland 7th April 2021 then England 13th April; mainly for those aged under 50 years awaiting vaccination.
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 20 Approved, a jab from Belgian firm Janssen, owned by Johnson and Johnson; UK approval 28th May. Order reduced from 30 to 20M.
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 Sanofi 60 Some delay due to adjusting the formula to give better protection to the elderly; expect approval end 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 and risk

The average rate of infection per 100,000 population per week in England has risen slightly to 320 while in comparison the figure for Worcestershire is now 265 and the Malvern Hills 233.

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 probably less than 1 in 10,000 per year  so we judge the risk LOW. A greater number may suffer from Long COVID so that risk might be assessed MODERATE. A member of the family, now recovered, had Long COVID and it was very debilitating.

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 had been concern about youngsters suffering from Long COVID but a recent report by King's College London suggests this is not a major issue.

Click for report - Long COVID uncommon in children, analysis finds



About the UK COVID-19 final death toll

The UK is going to have to live with COVID-19 and a background level of infection which could increase every winter as more time is spent indoors. Barring new variants, this may 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 131,000 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.

Click for YouTube video of Coronavirus: Health Committee questions Government Chief Scientific Adviser and NHS England 17 March 2020

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 border controls will be enough to 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.


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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


A glimpse of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.

Click for chart showing % vaccinated



A 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



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