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

9th January 2022


Hospitals under pressure

No new restrictions


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. We also provide links to where further information can be found.

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

More about vaccinations

Number of cases

Number of deaths

Healthcare numbers

Forecast for the week ahead

Longer term outlook

Advice for seniors


Further information:

How to request a COVID test

About the Zoe COVID symptom study

About the NHS contact tracing app

About the NHS COVID pass

Summary of links

Menu of archived pages


The incidence of Omicron is high across the whole of the UK and many people will be exposed to the virus in coming days and weeks. Daily cases could start falling within the next week or two and then the pressure on hospitals should lessen.

Two doses of the vaccine plus the booster jab should protect most healthy Seniors from hospitalisation, but continue to take care as it appears the vaccines give little protection from becoming infected.

Click to view our advice

Lateral Flow Device kits which only require a nose swab can be used to test for COVID at home, for example before either going to an event or visiting friends.

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 for the latest UK Government Coronavirus advice


How to get vaccinated

The effectiveness of the vaccines falls over time so the most important thing everyone can do now is get their booster jab.

Under the government's plan to deal with the Omicron Emergency, all those aged 18+ years are now eligible to book a booster 3 months after their second dose.

For information about walk-in centres in Worcestershire go to the website:


and click the Vaccine Rollout tab at the top of the page.

Click for information about vaccination at the Three Counties Showground

Otherwise either see the NHS website for walk-in opening times and vaccine availability:


Or click this link for more information and to book a vaccination on-line:

Book a Coronavirus vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Note: the immuno-compromised may be offered a third jab as part of their primary course, followed by a booster 3 months later.

More about vaccinations


On the 19th November 2021 the JCVI issued recommendations accepted in Parliament by Sajid Javid. The plan was to vaccinate fully as many people as possible before the Omicron variant became dominant in the UK.

Good progress was made, but vaccination rates have slowed in the New Year.

  • adults aged 18+ years are eligible for a booster at least 3 months after their 2nd dose;

  • those aged 12 - 17 are eligible for a 2nd dose at least 3 months after their 1st dose;

  • the immuno suppressed to be offered 3 doses and a booster at least 3 months after their 3rd dose;

  • the booster will normally be either Moderna (half dose) or Pfizer;

  • those that cannot tolerate mrna vaccines will be offered Astrazeneca;

MHRA has approved vaccination of those aged 5 - 11 years and JCVI has recommended vaccination in clinically vulnerable groups

The Omicron variant is now dominant and spreading rapidly, so there is still good reason to get your booster jab in January if you have not already done so.


So that you can see the overall progress of the vaccination programme in the UK, our bar chart below shows the total number of:

  1. first jabs;

  2. second jabs;

  3. booster and third jabs;

  4. for comparison, the population of the UK broken down by age band.


COVID vaccination bar chart

Vaccinometer as of 9th January 2022

The population of the UK aged 12+ is about 58M, so were everyone in that age group to be vaccinated under the new plan the lower two blue lines showing 1st and 2nd doses should ideally reach 58M. Progress towards that goal is now slow.

Currently there are about 6M in this age group who are unvaccinated, which is a lot, and 4M still to get their 2nd dose.

In comparison, if children aged 11 years and under are counted, the total population of the UK is roughly 66M.

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.

Click for BBC report - Covid vaccine: How many people are vaccinated in the UK

Vaccination of children

The following table shows the percentage of first doses in children in the UK.

Country 12 - 15 years 16 - 17 years
England 53% 71%
Scotland 65% 81%
Wales 68% 82%
NI 48% 71%

Source: Independent SAGE 7th January 2022

Booster jabs

The number of booster jabs given in England can be found in a spreadsheet on the NHS England website. Look in the data section for the COVID-19 daily announced vaccinations Excel file which gives a breakdown of jabs by region and age.

Click for NHS COVID-19 vaccinations

A summary can also be found on the Coronavirus Dashboard.

The government says everyone aged 18+ years has been offered a booster jab. To date about 48M have had two doses, and 35M booster doses have been administered, suggesting up to 13M still to boost in the UK.

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 remove countries from the chart.

The UK did well to start with but has fallen a little behind some other countries. For example Portugal has double vaccinated 89.8% of its population, Singapore 87.0% and Malaysia 78.2%, compared to 69.8% in the UK. Australia has overtaken the UK with 77.1% fully vaccinated and could soon open its borders to the fully vaccinated.

Israel has already boosted its population and is now trialing a second booster for those boosted more than 4 months ago.


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 about 156,000 to 167,376 cases per day reflecting the continuing spread of the Omicron virus.

The ZOE COVID Study estimates there are more likely 201,000 cases per day compared to 205,000 last week.

The chart below shows how the daily rate reported by PHE has varied since 1st September 2020. Cases of Omicron have been rising at an unprecedented rate.

COVID daily new cases

UK daily confirmed COVID cases 1st September 2020 to 9th January 2022

Zooming in, the next chart shows in more detail how daily cases have levelled off in the last few days. We'll have to wait and see whether the peak of the epidemic has been reached, or numbers take a step upwards, for example, following the return of children to school.

Daily COVID cases to 2nd May 2021

UK daily confirmed COVID cases 12th December 2021 to 9th January 2022

During the last week the cumulative total of confirmed UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE rose by 1.2M  to 15.0M.

In Worcestershire there have now been 114,340 confirmed cases of COVID-19 an increase of 9,051 on last week.

The next chart shows how daily cases in Worcestershire, which have  more than tripled as the Omicron variant has replaced Delta, appear to be levelling off.

COVID cases in Worcestershire

Daily cases in Worcestershire from 1st December 2021 to 9th January 2022

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 22,125 +1,568 98,529
Malvern Hills 10,877 +867 77,545
Redditch 19,203 +1,419 85,317
Worcester 20,273 +1,522 103,542
Wychavon 22,379 +1,700 126,240
Wyre Forest 19,483 +1,975 100,957
TOTAL 114,340 +9,051 592,130
County of Hereford 30,197 +2,536 195,000
Leicester (city of) 87,158 +6,600 400,000

Cumulative cases reported by PHE in Worcestershire to 9th January 2022

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.

The main point to note is there are many cases of COVID in the county, and possibly twice the number testing positive are infectious.

Cases in Malvern Hills by age group

On the cases tab of the Coronavirus dashboard you can either select the county of Worcestershire or a local authority such as the Malvern Hills, and there you can find a heat map showing cases by age group over time and a chart comparing the number of cases under 60 years with those aged 60+.

The latest figures show the infection rate in both age groups rising with cases in the younger age group double that of the older.

The rolling number of cases per 100,000 per week has risen to 591 in the over 60s and 1,330 in those aged 0 - 59 years (up almost 100% on the week before).

 Click for cases by specimen date age demographics in the Malvern Hills

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.

Cases of Omicron are extremely high across the whole of the UK. Most people are likely to be exposed to the virus in coming days and weeks.

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 4th January are: North Malvern 100; Malvern Link 69; Pickersleigh 74; Barnards Green 56; Malvern Wells and Priory 47; Callow End and Hanley 68; Upton and Welland 47.

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)


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 1,303 in the last week to 150,154 with the daily average ending the week at 186 compared to 116 just before Christmas.

UK COVID death rate

COVID-19 death rate 1st September 2021 to 9th January 2022

Click to view the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

An explanation for the steep upturn in deaths since Christmas is needed given 'loose talk' about the Omicron variant being less dangerous.

Since England emerged from lockdown on 19th July about 21,000 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 curently account for about 11% a not insignificant number.

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 24th December 2021 (week 51 of 2021) is shown below.

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

Districts of Worcs Deaths
Week 51 Population
Bromsgrove 164 141 98,529
Malvern Hills 61 98 0 77,545
Redditch 108 107 3 85,317
Worcester 87 134 3 103,542
Wychavon 157 153 1 126,240
Wyre Forest 171 131 1 100,957
TOTAL 748 764 11 592,130

Provisional cumulative COVID-19 deaths registered by ONS to 24th December 2021

Note: summation of rows 9 to 339 of the ONS deaths Registrations-Pivot table (after correction by ONS).

There were 2 deaths at home and 1 in hospital in Bromsgrove; 3 deaths in hospital in Redditch; 1 death at home and 2 in hospital in Worcester;1 death in a care home in Wychavon; and 1 death in hospital in Wyre Forest

In England and Wales 753 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the week to 24th December, 95 more than the week before. Of these 62 were in a care home, 95 at home, 8 in a hospice, 676 in hospital and 5 elsewhere.

Most of these deaths were probably due the Delta variant.

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 on 7th January 2022.

Worcestershire Cumulative deaths Past week
Acute hospitals 915 3
Care hospitals 64 0
TOTAL 979 3

Click for NHS COVID-19 total announced deaths

Click for Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard

The Dashboard records that between 2 January 2022 and 8 January 2022 there was 1 death within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test in the Malvern Hills.

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

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 25th November 2021 when the daily death rate fell to 125.

Age band Number of Delta deaths % of deaths
0 - 19 29 0.3
20 - 39 157 2
40 - 59 1,058 11
60 - 79 4,062 43
80+ 4,134 44

Relative risk of COVID-19 death by age band for Delta variant

Those aged 60+ years account for 87% of deaths compared to 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 are likely to 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.

An NHS leaflet offered to patients being admitted to hospital suggests we are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 infection if we have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Age over 70 or Male over 50;

  • Lung problems (including asthma, COPD, emphysema, bronchitis, bronchiectasis;

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Liver disease (eg hepatitis, cirrhosis)

  • Brain or nerve problems (eg Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy)

  • You have a condition that increases the risk of infection

  • Take medication that affects the immune system, (eg steroids)

  • Very obese (BMI over 40)

  • Pregnancy

Note: we hope to be able to add data for Omicron by the end of January.

Healthcare numbers

The UK government Coronavirus Dashboard includes important information about healthcare statistics and NHS bed occupancy.

Hospital COVID cases (UK) Number Change since last week
Patients currently in hospital 18,454 +6,536
Patients on ventilation 868 +26
Patients admitted daily 2,434 +519

Headline summary of patients in hospital reported on 9th January 2022

Numbers are significantly up this week, reflecting the steep rise in Omicron cases, and hospitals are coming under pressure, aggravated by unusually high staff absence.

The number of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients is now about 45% of the peak last January.

Bed numbers by region in England

Tabulated figures for COVID bed occupancy in England can be found on the NHS England website and these give a good indication of direction of travel:

Click for NHS England COVID-19 Hospital bed Activity statistics

Note: see the latest Daily Admissions and Beds spreadsheets, then look for all COVID beds.

Region 31st December 2021 7th January 2022 15th January 2021
London 3,636 3,989 7,811
Midlands 2,122 2,943 5,890

Comparison of All beds COVID data for London and Midlands

In the last week the number of COVID-19 General and Acute beds rose by 10% in London, where Omicron seeded, and now appears to be flat-lining; while in the Midlands COVID beds rose 38%.

For the same period, COVID beds in England rose from 12,395 to 16,163, an increase of 30% but in the last few days the rate of increase has slowed and an increase of no more than 20% is expected next week.

For comparison, the number of beds occupied during the peak of the epidemic last January is shown in red in the right hand column.

Some COVID beds are now said to be occupied by patients who either came into hospital for other reasons or caught COVID in hospital - these patients are mostly not ill with COVID but have to be allocated a COVID bed after testing positive.


Green triangleWorcestershire hospital beds

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

A summary can be found on the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard which reports on 4th January there were 71 COVID-19 patients occupying Worcestershire Acute Hospital beds, of which 5 are ventilated beds; roughly 26% of the peak experienced last January and a significant step up on the 50 or so beds in recent weeks.

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 16th January) the cumulative total of UK COVID-19 cases reported by PHE on the Coronavirus Dashboard could increase by a further 1.2M towards 15.8M, with the 7 day rolling average of daily new cases remaining fairly level.

In Worcestershire about 9,000 new cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant can be expected, and up to 900 cases in the Malvern Hills district.

The number of UK COVID (28) deaths may increase by 1,750 towards 152,000 during the 7 days ending 16th January 2022, with the average daily death rate increasing to somewhere in the range 200 to 300 deaths per day following the rise in hospital admissions.

In the county of Worcestershire, assuming a 0.2% death rate, the 9,051 new cases this week could translate to a maximum of 18 COVID deaths per week in the first week of February, but possibly fewer if the Omicron variant is found to cause less severe illness than Delta.

Daily hospital admissions may rise by up to 20% based on recent NHS England trends.


Longer term outlook

Professor John Edmunds with others at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have made estimates of the likely spread of the Omicron variant for different scenarios; see paper below.

Modelling the potential consequences of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant in England

Daily cases in January/February might peak roughly in the range 600,000 to 800,000; daily hospital admissions 3,000 to 7,000; and deaths 500 to 1,200.

These are 'best guess' projections as data about the virus is still limited.

Another 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

The UCL model suggests hospital admissions could peak on 29th Jan 2022 at about 2,500 per day, with deaths peaking at about 250 per day shortly afterwards.

Daily cases

Three weeks ago we made a simple back of the envelope calculation assuming cases follow a simple S-shaped Logistic Curve  roughly matched to the rise in cases of Omicron in order to provide an order of magnitude estimate of what might happen during January and when cases might peak.

With this function, numbers rise exponentially at first, then progressively slowing down as the number of individuals left to infect reduces. The number of daily cases is the derivative or slope of the curve which can be easily calculated using an Excel spreadsheet.

We optimistically assumed the whole population had been booster vaccinated and that 75% were protected from symptomatic illness.

The limiting value of cases has been further adjusted to take account of recent numbers and the levelling off of daily cases

The next chart illustrates how daily cases could have peaked around 7th January 2022 and might be beginning to fall - but there is no guarantee this will happen. Projection of Omicron cases in the UK

Illustration of possible peak in UK Omicron daily cases

UKSHA say the protection from being infected by Omicron is actually only 44% for the triple jabbed, while only 50% of the UK population is triple vaccinated. So there ought still to be a large pool of individuals waiting to be infected. Adults returning to their workplace, and children to school in the New Year might therefore cause cases either to step up, or fall more slowly broadening the peak.

Other pundits are anticipating cases will start falling in the second half of January, based on what happened in South Africa.

Daily hospital admissions

The next chart is a projection of daily hospital admissions, assuming the same ratio of cases as Delta, delayed by 10 days, showing admissions peaking about 16th January.

Forecast Omicron hospital admissions UK

Illustration of possible Omicron daily demand for hospital admission

Assuming Omicron hospital stays are shorter than for Delta the NHS may be able to sustain such case levels, but just in case NHS England is setting up Nightingale surge hubs.

Click for BBC report - Nightingale surge hubs to be set up in eight hospitals, NHS England says

Encouragingly, in the last week COVID bed occupancy in London has fallen slightly.

The ambulance service is hard pressed, due to staff absences aggravated by queuing to offload patients at hospitals, so might be overwhelmed by Omicron related 999 calls without military assistance - unless severe illness turns out to be much lower than that caused by Delta.

During January, sickness and quarantining could lead to a shortage of those providing essential services including shop staff, refuse collectors, firemen, police, paramedics, teachers, power industry workers, telecom engineers and delivery drivers. The government has asked public bodies to prepare contingency plans for scenarios of 10%, 20% and 25% absence.


Deaths from Delta have been occurring on average three weeks or so after testing COVID positive.

In order to account for the recent rise in daily deaths, our revised illustration assumes the ratio of deaths to daily cases is the same as that for Delta and that the time between testing positive and death is reduced to ten days.

Omicron death rate forecast UK

Illustration of possible Omicron daily deaths in UK

Up until the New Year, Omicron deaths should have been largely hidden by the tail end of Delta deaths averaging about 100 deaths per day and we find it difficult to understand why the daily death rate rate has increased so sharply in recent days.

Our chart suggests deaths might possibly rise to a peak of about 350 deaths per day towards the end of January.

Note of caution: so far Omicron has been circulating mostly in those aged under 35 years, so we have yet to see how Omicron affects the elderly, and there is insufficient data on deaths for a reliable forecast to be made.


For a fixed level of vaccination, daily cases have been 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 and deaths for Delta during December were expected to follow daily cases very roughly in the ratio:

  • Hospital admissions 1:50 of daily cases reported by PHE, lagging by 7 days.

  • Deaths 1:500 of daily cases reported by PHE, lagging by 10 to 20 days.

  • UK Hospital bed occupancy - 8 times daily hospital admissions, lagging by up to a month.

These ratios may 'improve' now that Omicron has replaced Delta but we will probably have to wait until towards the end of January for reliable data..


Advice for SeniorsCOVID risk medium

We judge the risk of exposure to the Omicron variant now to be HIGH; see our riskometer opposite.

How this affects you will depend on your vaccination status. UKHSA say those who have had two doses plus a booster have roughly a 12% chance of being hospitalised compared to the unvaccinated.

6M people remain unvaccinated in the UK and for many time is running out; perhaps 6,000 will die unecessarily.

Recently there have been no more than 11 COVID related deaths per week in Worcestershire which has a population of 600,000 so we currently judge the risk of death for triple vaccinated Seniors to be fairly LOW while the risk of Long COVID might be MODERATE .

In these increasingly uncertain times, when it is quite possible, despite being triple vaccinated, for Seniors to become ill with the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the simple safeguards to remember are to:

  • book your booster dose as soon as you are contacted by either your GP or the NHS; between five days and two weeks after the booster most people should be well protected from severe illness;

  • don't forget your flu jab;

  • 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 either a well fitting FACE covering, FFP2, or N95 face mask when unavoidably near other people for example when in shops, health-care settings, and when 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, either ventilate by keeping windows open as far as is practicable or put a HEPA air purifier in the room;

  • avoid crowded indoor settings and minimise TIME near strangers;

  • self-isolate and take a Lateral Flow test if you feel unwell with cold or flu like symptoms; according to the Zoe COVID Study the current top five symptoms amongst the double vaccinated and children, in order of prevalence, are said to be runny nose, headache, sneezing, sore throat, and persistent cough, which are often hard to distinguish from a common cold - you might alternatively suffer from fever with a temperature of up to 103 deg F, and a slight reduction in sense of taste (see note 3);

  • consider taking a Lateral Flow test before visiting others (see notes 4 and 5);

  • 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.

3) The COVID Symptom Study people suggest that if you have symptoms of a common cold there is currently a 1 in 2 chance you might have COVID.

4) If you plan to attend either a meeting or event take a Lateral Flow test before you go to check you are not taking Omicron with you.

5) If you are organising a meeting, ask those attending to take a Lateral Flow test immediately beforehand.

6) Think twice about attending an indoor event with lots of children present who could be spreading the virus.




Continued caution is advised because the Omicron variant is spreading like wildfire, but we could be near the point where cases begin to fall.

This week

On Tuesday the PM held a press conference. No new restrictions but the NHS can expect a 'bumpy ride' during January.

Click for PM opening statement at COVID-19 press conference: 4 January 2022

Click to watch COVID-19 press conference (4 January 2021)

On Friday the UKHSA published a report on vaccine effectiveness

COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 1 (6 January 2022)

We find this information difficult to absorb, and suggest UKHSA add a summary explaining conclusions for the general public.


What might happen next

See our longer term forecast for general direction of travel.

COVID video updates

The usual charts can be found in the Zoe COVID Study and Independent SAGE weekly updates.

Click to watch Zoe COVID Symptom Study update on 6th January 2022 presented by Dr Claire Steves. Tim Spector should be back next week.

Bullet points:

  • Daily cases seem to have peaked  in London but are still rising elsewhere;

  • 50% of cases have had two vaccines or more;

  • Incidence seems to have peaked in those aged 18 - 35 years but is rising in those aged 50 - 75 years

  • There is a 50% chance if you have symptoms of a common cold that you have COVID.

 The Independent SAGE update starts with a detailed look at the charts.

Click to watch Independent SAGE update on 7th January 2022

Both videos are worth viewing by 'chart-watchers' who have the time.



Nothing to report


Overseas travel

Situation remains fluid, refer to current government advice, and prepare contingency plans in case circumstances change in the country you are visiting.


List of vaccines

Here is the updated list of COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK. It looks as though for now the government has settled on Pfizer as first choice with Moderna second and Astrazeneca 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 in 2021 and Jan/Feb 2022 for the population of the UK. The government has now signed deals to buy 114 million additional doses of the Pfizer (54M) and Moderna (60M) vaccines to use in 2022 and 2023.

Click for press announcement - Government agrees new deals to future proof vaccine rollout in light of new variant

The press announcement goes on to say that 60M doses of Novavax vaccine are expected to be delivered in 2022 and 7.5M doses of GSK/Sanofi, so there seems no intention to cancel these late arrivals.

Click for Guardian report - Novavax expected to be become fourth Covid vaccine available in UK

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. Delivery expected in 2022.
GSK Sanofi 60 Some delay due to adjusting the formula to give better protection to the elderly; expected approval and delivery of 7.5M doses in 2022.
Curevac 50 ? Contract placed with German company Feb 2021. Possible source of new variant vaccine; disappointing trial results have resulted in the company working on a second generation vaccine. Future uncertain.

Table of vaccines ordered by the UK government


Present rate of new cases

The average rate of infection per 100,000 population per week copied from the Coronavirus Dashboard is shown in the following table.

Region  Case rate
(last week)
Case rate
(this week)
England  1,385 1,924
Wales  1,720 2,380
Scotland  1,387 2,026
Northern Ireland  1,851 2,905
London (region) 1,720 1,801
Worcestershire  1,149 1,629
Malvern Hills  750 1,129

Seven day Case Rate per 100,000 reported 9th January 2022

Levels of infection are extremely high and still going up.

As a yardstick we suggest a figure of below 10 can be considered LOW, so there is a long way to go.


Back to top


How to request a COVID test

In order to protect others it is important to get a test and self isolate if you feel unwell with either classic COVID symptoms, or cold and flu like symptoms which can be caused by the Delta variant.

There are now two types of test you can get. The more 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:


We feel the website discourages people from seeking a PCR test who don't have all the classic symptoms. If you feel strongly enough, press on answering the questions so as to get your PCR test.

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

Alternatively settle for a 'Nasal swab' Lateral Flow Device test in the comfort of your own home (see below).

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

There is also a COVID testing station at the Worcester Royal Hospital for screening patients before admission.

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

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

Getting a Lateral Flow Device test

Lateral Flow Device tests (LFD) can either be booked at Claremont Pharmacy in Barnards Green, Evans Pharmacy in Malvern Link, or taken at home.

The test is intended to screen those who do not show the classic symptoms of COVID-19 and provides a means to check you are 'virus free' at home - either before visiting an elderly person, going to work, or attending a crowded event.  It also provides a means to check whether or not you have Coronavirus if you are feeling poorly with cold and flu like symptoms.

COVID Lateral Flow DeviceYou can collect home test kits, for example packaged as the COVID-19 Self-Test (Rapid Antigen Test) in boxes of 7 tests, from Malvern library, the Co-op, 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.

If collecting from a pharmacy you now have to go on-line and get a collection code to present to the pharmacy in order to obtain a pack of 7 tests. This involves giving NHS Test and Trace your email and/or mobile phone number and address.


The LFD now comes in two versions.

  • The Throat and Nose Swab kit;

  • The Nose Swab only kit (Orient Gene, Acon Flowflex and MP Biomedicals).

 (Lateral Flow Device cassette shown on the right).

ACON Flowflex comes in a blue and white pack.

Orient Gene comes in a green and white pack.

MP Biomedicals come in a blue, white and grey pack.

Click for instructions for using the LFD test kits

COVID lateral flow test leaflet

Leaflet at Boots the Chemist

The new Nasal swab test kit which only requires a nose swab is the easiest to use and the best one to get but it is not yet widely available. On 10th November we found Boots in Church Street and Malvern Library were still supplying the old Throat and Nose kit; Murrays in Church Street had the new kits and Malvern library thought the library in St John's Worcester might have the new kits.

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 classic Throat and Nose Swab 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 before swabbing the nose. 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.

The Nose Swab kit is by far the best one for testing yourself at home.

If you test COVID positive you should isolate and take a more accurate PCR test to confirm the result.

NHS Test and Trace want people to report the result of their home LFD tests within 24 hours at:


This helps NHS Test and Trace monitor where the issue of the free LFD tests is proving most effective and the spread of the disease.

However, it's tedious to enter your Lateral Flow Test result on the government website and we imagine many people now don't bother.

COVID Lateral Flow test kit

Nose swab home test kit obtained from Murrays


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.

There are questions allowing you to enter your vaccine type and whether any side effects; this now includes boosters and flu jabs.


About the 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 may be advised to self-isolate

The rules for contacts self isolating keep changing. The latest is that if you are unvaccinated you must isolate for 10 days.

If you are fully vaccinated you can alternatively take Lateral Flow tests for 7 days. Should you test positive you should isolate and then take a PCR test to confirm.

Bear in mind double vaccinated individuals can still catch the Delta variant of COVID and pass it on to others.


About the NHS app and Covid Pass

An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details and/or test results. This is your COVID-19 status. You may be asked to show your pass to travel abroad, or at events and venues in England asking for proof of your COVID-19 status.

For large UK events you may get in either by the fact:

  • you are fully-vaccinated;

  • you have had COVID as recorded by a positive PCR test;

  • you have taken and reported a recent Lateral Flow test.

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

Click to 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, which must be done within 24 hours.



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

UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) website


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 COVID-19: Omicron daily overview

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

Information about NHS hospital bed numbers: past, present, future


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