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

17th October 2021


Skip 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 your booster shot when the time comes.

First vaccinations can still be obtained at the Three Counties Show Ground without an appointment.

Monday to Friday 8.00am to 5.00pm

Saturday 8.00am to 1.30pm

(AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccinations available)

Use Brown Gate entrance, postcode WR13 6NW

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.

According to Google there is a 'drive through' COVID testing station at County Hall near the Countrywide Centre, and a 'walk through' at Pershore.

If you cannot get to these you can order a home test kit.

If you test COVID positive you should self-isolate for 10 days.

Getting a Lateral Flow Device test

Lateral Flow tests can now be taken at Great Malvern Library, Evans Pharmacy in Malvern Link, and Claremont Pharmacy in Barnards Green. This test is intended to screen those who show no symptoms and can either be pre-booked on-line or you may be able to walk-in at the library.

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 don't need to self-isolate. However if you are feeling poorly and get pinged it is recommended you take a COVID test, and self-isolate if the result is positive.

Bear in mind fully vaccinated individuals can still catch COVID and pass it on to others.

NHS app and Covid Pass

You will need the NHS app installed on your smartphone and be registered with the NHS in order to display your vaccination status, for example when travelling abroad.

Note: this is not the NHS COVID-19 app

If you don't have a smartphone you may be able to login from a PC to obtain a printed copy.

Login from a desktop computer or laptop

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

17th October 2021


COVID-19 has been spreading rapidly in schools and children have been passing on the infection to their parents and siblings.  Consequently daily hospital admissions are rising and deaths will follow, but not at a level to be too concerned about.

Cautious Seniors are advised to continue taking precautions to reduce the risk of catching the virus; such as regular hand-washing, wearing a face covering where recommended, and continuing with sensible distancing.

Click to view our advice

We notice people are not sanitising and wearing masks as much as they did, and people are much closer when they chat - so increasing numbers are not as worried as they were about catching the virus.

People are getting out more and life is very much back to normal in the rural Malvern Hills. Like us you may feel 'fireproof' after being fully vaccinated; but the vaccine is not a magic bullet so don't be too surprised if you or some of your friends become poorly. Fully vaccinated individuals can catch the Delta variant of COVID and pass it on to others - thankfully most should not need treatment in hospital though sadly a minority particularly the elderly and frail with underlying conditions may die of COVID despite being fully vaccinated.

In Malvern, booster jabs have started being rolled out for the most elderly and others such as NHS staff who received their second jab more than 6 months ago and we expect most of those aged 70+ years will have received their booster by Christmas, by which time everyone will be hoping the 'emergency' is over.

Don't forget to get your flu jab as it is expected there could be a greater chance of dying if you are unfortunate and catch flu and COVID at the same time.

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 local people vaccinated by age group on the Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard.

Click to view Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard

Two jabs are essential to protect adults from the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Those aged 16+ can book a first or second jab on-line without having to wait for a call from their GP surgery; those aged 50+ can book a booster shot - see the NHS website for eligibility criteria.

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

There is a mass vaccination centre at The Three Counties Showground where first vaccinations can be obtained without having to make an appointment.

Target dates have still not been announced for completion of the vaccination of those aged 12 to 17 years - little has been heard from the new Vaccines Minister, Margaret Throup.

The bar chart below shows the population of the UK by age band (1), extended to include 12 year olds, and the number of first (2) and second jabs (3) given, so that you can see overall progress of the vaccination programme in the UK.

COVID vaccination bar chart

Vaccinometer as of 17th October 2021

The vaccination rate has slowed since the summer and you will see little change to last week's chart, so the situation is about as good as it's going to get. Total first jabs are reported 49,398,211 to the 17th October while second jabs are reported 45,358,472.

Probably the stage has been reached where as many are now achieving future 'immunity' through infection as vaccination - particularly schoolchildren.

The population of the UK aged 12+ is about 58,000,000 and if younger children are included the total is 66,000,000 so a significant percentage remains unvaccinated; those including the vaccine hesitant and children aged under 16 years.

Achieving herd immunity is doubtful as a proportion of the fully vaccinated can catch the Delta variant of COVID-19 but vaccination is still important to protect as many people as possible from debilitating long term loss of smell and taste,  Long COVID, serious illness, and death.

Click for NHS 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 chart of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.

Click for worldwide statistics

Note: click the country list on the left hand side of the screen to add or removed countries from the chart.

The UK did well to start with but has fallen behind many other countries. For example Portugal has fully vaccinated 86% of its population compared to 66% in the UK.

Australia and New Zealand are rapidly catching up with about 54% of their population fully 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 37,255 to 42,883.

The ZOE COVID Study estimates 74,000 cases per day compared to 71,000 last week.

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 2020 to 17th October 2021

Zooming in, the next chart shows in more detail how daily UK cases have varied since the 1st August.

Daily COVID cases to 2nd May 2021

UK daily new confirmed COVID cases 1st August to 17th October 2021

Until two days ago it looked as though cases were levelling off, but there are now signs of an upturn.

During the last week the cumulative total of confirmed UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE rose by 294,859  to 8,449,165.

In Worcestershire there have now been 65,493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 an increase of 3,113 on last week.

The next chart shows how daily cases have risen in Worcestershire, with cases doubling since children returned to school.

COVID cases in Worcestershire

Daily cases in Worcestershire from 1st August to 17th October 2021

The breakdown by Worcestershire Lower Tier Local Authorities (LTLA) is shown in the following table, together with comparisons for Herefordshire, a more sparsely populated county, and the city of Leicester.

Note: the cumulative cases are copied from the 'Cases by area' (whole pandemic) data set of the Coronavirus Dashboard. The weekly increase is the difference between this week and last week's total.

Districts of Worcs Cases Weekly increase Population
Bromsgrove 13,014 +624 98,529
Malvern Hills 5,832 +272 77,545
Redditch 11,559 +537 85,317
Worcester 11,316 +339 103,542
Wychavon 12,493 +703 126,240
Wyre Forest 11,279 +638 100,957
TOTAL 65,493 +3,113 592,130
County of Hereford 16,924 +822 195,000
Leicester (city of) 58,910 +1,056 400,000

Cumulative cases reported by PHE in Worcestershire to 17th October 2021

The prevalence of COVID-19 remains high in Worcestershire and the direction of travel is up.

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 maps

At the bottom of the Coronavirus Dashboard (daily update) page there is an Interactive Map which is coloured to show infection rates across the country.

High infection rates can now be found across much of England and Wales.

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 12th October are: North Malvern 35; Malvern Link 19; Pickersleigh 19; Barnards Green 14; Malvern Wells and Priory 23; Callow End and Hanley 22; Upton and Welland 16. It's a good job we are vaccinated.

This week North Malvern is the 'hottest' place in town.

Another map can be found on the Zoe COVID Study website indicating extrapolated cases based on reports from those using the Zoe app.

Click for People with COVID (estimated from the Zoe app)

The Zoe map shows pockets of high infection scattered across England.


Number of deaths

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

PHE figures

Public Health England reports that the cumulative total of COVID (28) deaths in UK hospitals and care homes rose by 849 in the last week to 138,584 while the daily average increased slightly from 112 to 121 deaths per day.

UK COVID death rate

COVID-19 death rate 1st July to 17th October 2021

Click to view the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

Since England emerged from lockdown on 19th July about 10,000 people have died of COVID-19; mostly the elderly.

In comparison averaged over recent years 1,700 people die daily from all causes, so COVID deaths currently contribute about 7%.

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 1st October 2021 (week 39 of 2021) is shown below.

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

Districts of Worcs Deaths
Week 38 Population
Bromsgrove 164 115 0 98,529
Malvern Hills 61 88 0 77,545
Redditch 108 93 1 85,317
Worcester 87 125 0 103,542
Wychavon 157 131 0 126,240
Wyre Forest 171 119 0 100,957
TOTAL 748 671 1 592,130

Provisional cumulative COVID-19 deaths registered by ONS to 1st October 2021

In week 39 there was just 1 death in hospital in Redditch.

In England and Wales 779 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the week to 1st October, 108 less than the week before. Of these 71 were in a care home, 80 at home, 620 in hospital and 2 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 for Worcestershire

The table below shows latest COVID deaths in Worcestershire hospitals reported by NHS England to 15th October 2021.

Worcestershire Cumulative deaths Past week
Acute hospitals 858 3
Care hospitals 64 0
TOTAL 921 3

Click for NHS COVID-19 total announced deaths

No deaths have been reported in the Malvern Hills in the last 7 days.

Click for Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard


Risk of COVID-19 death by age band (unchanged)

NHS England provides an analysis of COVID-19 deaths in hospital in England and Wales by age band. Shown below is a breakdown of deaths for the period 1st August 2021 to 15th September 2021 when, despite much of the population being protected by the vaccines, particularly the elderly, the death rate rose to 143 deaths per day.

Age band Number of deaths % of deaths
0 - 19 9 0.3
20 - 39 79 2.3
40 - 59 443 13
60 - 79 1408 42
80+ 1422 42

Current risk of COVID-19 death by age band

Those aged 60+ years now account for about 84% of deaths, not far from the figure of 92% last year, but remember that due to vaccination the death rate as a proportion of new cases is five to ten times lower than in 2020.

The majority of these deaths could be of the vaccine-hesitant, those with underlying conditions such as Diabetes, the frail, and those that are immuno-compromised. Pregnant mothers, the overweight and deprived individuals with a poor diet are also said to be at increased risk.

Probably a significant number of these COVID deaths are now of the fully vaccinated.


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 7,086 +323
Patients on ventilation 783 -25
Patients admitted daily 915 +98

Headline summary of patients in hospital as reported 17th October 2021

We expect daily hospital admissions to rise towards1,050 next week following increasing daily cases - roughly 25% of that at the peak of the epidemic last January.

Green triangleWorcestershire 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

A summary can be found on the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard which reports on 12th October there were 32 COVID-19 patients occupying Worcestershire Acute Hospital beds, of which 4 were ventilated beds; roughly 12% of the peak experienced last January.

Between 6th and 10th October 27 patients went into hospital with coronavirus.

Note: Healthcare statistics can be found on the Healthcare tab of the UK Coronavirus Dashboard. At the top of the page where it says Healthcare in United Kingdom, click the drop down arrow to select Area Type as NHS Trusts, and Area Name as Worcester Acute Hospitals.

Click to view Worcester healthcare figures


Click for Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard


Forecast for the week ahead

Trends suggest that during the next seven days (up to 24th October) the cumulative total of UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE on the Coronavirus Dashboard could increase by 300,000 towards 8,750,000 with the 7 day rolling average of daily new cases hovering around 43,000.

In Worcestershire about 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 can be expected, and 250 cases in the Malvern Hills district.

We estimate the number of UK COVID (28) deaths will increase by about 850 towards 139,440 during the 7 days ending 24th October 2021, with the average daily death rate flat-lining at about 120 deaths per day, rising to 130 deaths per day by the end of the week after that.

In the county of Worcestershire, assuming a 0.2% death rate, the 3,113 new cases this week may translate to 6 COVID deaths per week by the middle of November.

Hospital admissions in England could rise to 1,050 per day by the end of next week following the trend in daily cases. Don't be surprised if Worcestershire hospital bed occupancy starts rising.

Longer term outlook

Daily cases amongst adults in England have been rising following a steep increase in cases in unvaccinated schoolchildren but we expect a downturn in cases by Christmas as the resistance to infection of the school population rises, either due to vaccination or catching COVID, and the elderly receive their booster jabs.

Modelling figures from University College London suggest the 7-day average of daily deaths and the prevalence of infection should decline slowly reaching a minimum in December.

Click for UCL Long-term forecasting of the COVID-19 epidemic

For a fixed level of vaccination, daily cases are a signpost to whether daily hospital admissions and deaths are going to go up or down. Based on our heuristic 'rules of thumb' - hospital admissions, cases of Long COVID and deaths were expected to follow daily cases roughly in the ratio:

  • Hospital admissions 1:35 of daily cases reported by PHE, lagging by 8 days.

  • Long COVID 1:35 of daily cases reported by PHE.

  • Deaths 1:350 of daily cases reported by PHE, lagging by about 20 days.

  • UK Hospital bed occupancy - one  quarter of daily cases, lagging by up to a month.

While a significant proportion of cases involve schoolchildren, most of whom will not fall seriously ill, these ratios will overestimate admissions and deaths.

Advice for Seniors

COVID risk mediumRecently there have been no more than 6 COVID related deaths per week in Worcestershire which has a population of 600,000 so we judge the risk of death for fully vaccinated Seniors to be fairly LOW while the risk of Long COVID might be MODERATE; see our annex and riskometer opposite.

Remember, if you are elderly, have not been vaccinated, and were to catch COVID there is a significant chance that you will either die or your long term health may be seriously damaged, so if you are able get both doses of your vaccine and continue to take care of yourself and those you love. Also encourage others to be vaccinated.

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

Like Health Minister Sajid Javid, it is quite possible, despite a second jab, for Seniors to become ill with COVID-19; some might have mild symptoms like a common cold or hay fever, while others could feel very poorly, but few except the frail and vulnerable will need to be admitted to hospital.

Until daily cases fall markedly the simple safeguards to remember  are to:

  • 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 are indoors, ventilate by keeping doors and windows open as far as is practicable;

  • avoid crowds and minimise TIME near strangers;

  • look out for symptoms and self-isolate and book a test if you feel unwell; according to the Zoe COVID Study the top five symptoms amongst the fully vaccinated and children, in order of prevalence, are said to be runny nose (76%), headache (75%), sneezing (66%), sore throat (53%), and cough (51%), which are hard to distinguish from a common cold;

  • 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 an alcohol based hand gel.

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


Annex to 17th October update


A neighbour expressed the opinion that we were all likely to catch COVID eventually, and we notice people are not sanitising and wearing masks as much as they did, and people are much closer when they chat.

So it looks like people are not as worried as they were about catching the virus and that will probably remain the situation while hospital admissions and deaths remain relatively low and the NHS is not under pressure.

However with daily cases rising it's probably sensible to be relatively cautious for a few more weeks and for Seniors to make sure to get their booster jabs.

PHE records that 8.4 million have tested COVID positive and perhaps more than double that have caught the virus. Between now and new year another 3 million are likely to test COVID positive and perhaps an equal number will not bother to get tested, which suggests roughly 23 million may have had COVID by the end of the year, or roughly one person in three.

On Tuesday a report by the House of Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees was published entitled:

Coronavirus: lessons learned to date

which  caused quite a stir in the media. Some concern was also expressed about the rising number of COVID cases, but this was soon overtaken by the ghastly murder of Conservative MP David Amess.

The usual charts showing vaccination take-up and COVID cases over time by age band can be found in the Zoe COVID Study weekly update below.

COVID weekly updates

Click to watch Tim Spector's Zoe COVID Study 14th October video update

Zoe estimated 70,000 daily cases of which one quarter or 18,000 are fully vaccinated. Cases in England then looked as though they might begin to level off, while cases in Scotland have been falling.

Covid hotspots mostly in the North of England and Midlands correlate with low levels of full vaccination eg Peterborough 59%, Leicester 59%, Birmingham 55%, Manchester 54%. In South London about 60% are fully vaccinated but less so in Luton and Newham. Ideally we should be looking to achieve 85% compared to 66% currently. Wales and Scotland are doing better.

Vaccinated individuals may be catching the virus because:

  • the effectiveness of the vaccines is waning

  • poor individual antibody response

  • someone coughed or sneezed over someone and gave them a big dose

  • new variants escaping vaccine

Catching COVID does not guarantee long term immunity - so best get your vaccine.

The Independent SAGE weekly briefing of 15th October answered questions relating to the mental health of young people and  Long COVID.

Suggested Long COVID could affect 1 child in 7.

Click to watch Independent SAGE 15th October video briefing

Click to read more about Independent SAGE on Twitter



Malvern U3A groups have resumed. Some groups are continuing to meet using Zoom while others are meeting in person.

Members are being asked not to attend meetings if feeling unwell. Names will be taken at meetings and could be passed to NHS Test and Trace if a member subsequently tests COVID positive. Refreshments are being provided by some groups but not others.


Overseas travel

From 24th October travellers arriving from abroad need only take a Lateral Flow Test.


List of vaccines

Here is the updated list of COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK. It looks as though the government has settled on Pfizer as first choice with Moderna second and Astrazeneca now held in reserve.

Valneva has been cancelled, and approval has not yet been sought for using Novavax in the EU and US although approval has been sought for use in third world countries.

For two doses plus boosters, only about 200M doses will be needed for the population of the UK, so it's possible the government will cancel orders for those vaccines marked in red which have been slow to come to market.

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. Order cancelled September 2021. Delivery had been expected 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 being made in Stockton-on-Tees UK; phase III trials complete, but approval has not yet been sought in EU and US. Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) contracted to fill and package vials.
GSK Sanofi 60 ? Some delay due to adjusting the formula to give better protection to the elderly; possible approval 2022.
Curevac 50 ? Contract placed with German company Feb 2021. Possible source of new variant vaccine, but disappointing trial results. Future uncertain.

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 to 410 while in comparison the figure for Worcestershire is now 497 and the Malvern Hills 290.

In the City of Leicester where cases were once very high the figure is 284.

As a yardstick we suggest a figure of below 10 can be considered LOW.

The probability of fully vaccinated Seniors without underlying conditions catching and dying from COVID-19 is now possibly somewhere in the range 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 per year  so we judge the risk fairly LOW. Perhaps as many as 3% to 5% of people who catch COVID suffer from Long COVID so that risk might be assessed MODERATE.

The risk of death from Coronavirus for unvaccinated children and healthy teenagers is said to be small so for them the risk is LOW.

About the UK COVID-19 final death toll

The UK is probably going to have to live with COVID-19 and a background level of infection which may increase every winter as more time is spent indoors. Barring new variants, this could result in many thousands of COVID deaths per year, as with flu. So in that respect there can be no 'final' death toll.

The present 2020/2021 death toll will likely climb from 139,000 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 their border controls will stop the spread of the Delta variant.

With hindsight, deaths might have been much lower if the second lockdown had been continued into December and January, but that would have meant cancelling Christmas, and who knows to what extent the public would have complied.

A member of the marketing team at US company 'My Bio Source' sent us a link to a History of Pandemics. Let's hope our brilliant scientists can continue to protect us from future threats.


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

COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 for England


COVID Alert states

Guidance on UK COVID-19 alert level methodology: an overview

COVID-19 Alert Level lowered to 3 on 10th May 2021



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


HSA COVID-19 vaccine weekly surveillance reports


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

Click for chart showing % vaccinated



A forecast of the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic can be found on a University College London (UCL) website.

Click for UCL Long-term forecasting of the COVID-19 epidemic

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