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

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27th March 2022



Over the last two years we have been keeping an eye on the published government figures and monitoring the media to asses the likely level of risk for Seniors in the Malvern Hills district and providing links to where further information could be found.

Now the worst of the epidemic is over the numbers are of far less importance, but we'll carry on with our blog for a while. Testing is being run down and the public is increasingly not recording the result of Lateral Flow tests so the daily cases reported on the Coronavirus Dashboard grossly underestimate the true situation. Roughly half the deaths reported by PHE are thought be elderly patients who die with COVID but not from it.

The best sources of data are currently:

  • The ONS infection survey

  • Registered deaths

  • NHS hospital bed occupancy, and

  • The Zoe COVID Symptom Study

Note: the future of Zoe is uncertain as UKHSA plans to stop funding at the end of March.

For the time being this page will continue to be updated each weekend using Friday's data.



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


It's now 2 years since the first lockdown was imposed on 23rd March 2020.

The COVID pandemic has been, and continues to be, a roller coaster ride. New daily cases are at their highest ever level; COVID bed occupancy went up 19% in England last week, and in consequence COVID deaths can be expected to rise proportionally during April. Nevertheless for the majority in England who have been fully vaccinated life is returning to normal.

COVID hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds are said to be mostly occupied by those who are not fully vaccinated so make sure to get your booster jab if you have not already done so.

While the highly infectious Omicron BA.2 virus remains prevalent it is highly likely many of us will catch COVID-19 in coming weeks. It may make us feel very poorly and send us to bed for a few days; and it could take ten days or so to recover. But except for the very frail elderly and 'clinically vulnerable' we are unlikely to be hospitalised and the good news is our resistance to future infection should be greatly increased whether or not we have a second booster jab.

To counter vaccine waning amongst the most vulnerable, a second COVID-19 booster jab is available to Seniors aged 75+ years, six months after their first booster, and at least 28 days after any COVID infection.

Click to view our advice

Lateral Flow Device kits which only require a nose swab can be used to test for COVID at home. However be aware they are not 100% reliable and you may well be infecting others before there is enough virus for the test to show positive. If you are feeling poorly and test negative consider testing again two or three days later if symptoms persist.

Note: the government is discontinuing the supply of free Lateral Flow Tests on 1st April and the last day to get a collection code is 31st March so you have only a few days left to stock up.

A local summary of COVID data can be found on the Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard. Deaths are on page 7, and hospital beds on page 9.

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

By now we expect most Seniors are triple vaccinated.

Those aged 5 - 11 years can in principle be offered the vaccine but it sounds like the rollout  could be delayed, while some query the value of vaccinating children.

All those aged 16+ years can book a booster 3 months after their second dose.

Click NHS link - Who can get a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

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)

Or talk to your GP.

More about vaccinations


 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 11th March 2022

People are still coming forward to be vaccinated, but the rate is so slow expect to see little change to this chart during 2022.

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

First booster jabs

The government says everyone aged 18+ years has been offered a booster jab. To date just over 49M have had two doses, and nearly 39M booster doses have been administered, suggesting 10M still to boost in the UK; but those under 16 years are not yet eligible so there are probably 6M or so still to get their booster. A booster is essential for protection from the Omicron variants.

Second booster jabs for Seniors

Those aged 75+ are eligible for a second booster - expect to be contacted by either the NHS or your GP 6 months after your first booster. For the youngest in that age group that may be in a couple of months time.

If you have had COVID recently, you should consider whether or not you need a second booster; and should you decide to go ahead, you must wait at least 28 days after infection before getting the jab.

Protection against hospitalisation

The UKHSA COVID-19 vaccine surveillance reports indicate the likely effectiveness of the vaccines. To quote:

Two doses of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines was associated with a vaccine effectiveness of only 25 to 35% against hospitalisation following infection with the Omicron variant, after 25+ weeks.

After a Pfizer booster, vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation started at around 90% dropping to around 75% after 10 to 14 weeks.

After a Moderna booster, vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation was 90 to 95% up to 9 weeks after vaccination.

Click for UKHSA COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 9, 3rd March 2022


Effectiveness against mortality

The protection offered by the vaccines against death is less clear to us, but our reading of the report is that if you are taken into hospital and have had only 2 jabs there is a 50% chance you might die compared to the unvaccinated. However after a Booster the risk is reduced to 1 in 8.


Vaccinations Worldwide

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

Click for worldwide statistics

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

Orange triangleNumber of cases

There are three sources reporting the prevalence of COVID-19 in the UK.

  • The ONS which conducts a weekly random survey by collecting nose and throat swabs from the public for PCR tests, and analysis for variants.

  • The ZOE COVID symptom study, whereby participating members of the public log their symptoms, tests and vaccines.

  • PHE data gathered from PCR testing and Lateral Flow Tests reported by the public, which currently underestimates infections.

All point to the prevalence of COVID rising this week.

ONS infection survey

The latest ONS infection survey suggests the prevalence of COVID-19 has rocketed with about 1 in 11 testing COVID positive in Scotland and 1 in 16 testing COVID positive in England.

ONS estimates that 3,485,700  people in England had COVID-19 in the week ending 19th March 2022.

Click for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: 25th March 2022

Date published Prevalence (England) Ratio of people with COVID
18th March 2022 2,653,200 1:20
25th March 2022 3,485,700 1:16

Prevalence of COVID-19 in England estimated by ONS

There has been a 30% rise in prevalence in the last week.

Zoe COVID Symptom study

The ZOE COVID Symptom Study predicts 3,860,690 people  have symptomatic COVID in the UK and estimates 343,000 new cases per day compared to 282,000 last week, a rise of 22% in new cases per day.

  Prevalence (UK) Estimated new cases per day
Last week 2,929,423 282,406
This week 3,860,690 343,527

Prevalence of COVID-19 in UK estimated by Zoe COVID Symptom Study

Numbers testing COVID positive in Worcestershire (PHE)

The breakdown of those testing COVID positive 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 Number testing positive Weekly increase Population
Bromsgrove 31,456 +915 98,529
Malvern Hills 18,355 +846 77,545
Redditch 27,318 +726 85,317
Worcester 31,087 +916 103,542
Wychavon 35,252 +1,452 126,240
Wyre Forest 28,755 +905 100,957
TOTAL 172,223 +5,760 592,130
County of Hereford 47,965 +1,986 195,000
Leicester (city of) 115,889 +1,587 400,000

Cumulative cases reported by PHE in Worcestershire to 25th March 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 that though cases in Worcestershire are very high they have risen by only 12% in the last week, suggesting some slowing down.

 Actual infections could be four times the number testing COVID positive.

Cases in Malvern Hills by age group

The case rate has risen in all age groups this week but shows some sign of slackening off.

The case rate is 810 in the 60+ group, and 1,183 cases per 100,000 per week in the under 60 group.

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 are high across most of England and Scotland

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 COVID positive tests to 20th March are: North Malvern 97; Malvern Link 70; Pickersleigh 68; Barnards Green 67; Malvern Wells and Priory 66; Callow End and Hanley 70; Upton and Welland 86.

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. These can't be directly compared as  they cover different periods, but together the figures paint a picture of the direction of travel.

The UK daily death rate is beginning to rise tracking daily cases.

TrianglePHE figures

Public Health England reports there were 950 COVID (28) deaths in UK hospitals and care homes in the last week bringing the cumulative total to 164,454 (including deaths linked to repeat infections), with the daily average rising from 107 to 135 deaths per day.

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

 Click to view the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

Note: in roughly half the cases recently reported by PHE it is rumoured COVID-19 might not be the underlying cause of death.

ONS figures

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports registered deaths in England and Wales where COVID-19 is mentioned somewhere 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 11th March (week 10 of 2022) is shown below.

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

Districts of
Week 10 Population
Bromsgrove 164 142 17 1 98,529
Malvern Hills 61 98 14 2 77,545
Redditch 108 109 15 1 85,317
Worcester 87 134 15 2 103,542
Wychavon 157 154 18 2 126,240
Wyre Forest 171 132 23 5 100,957
TOTAL 748 769 102 13 592,130

Provisional cumulative COVID-19 deaths in Worcestershire registered by ONS to 11th March 2022

Note: summation of rows 9 to 339 of the ONS deaths Registrations-Pivot table.

There was 1 death in hospital in Bromsgrove; 1 death at home and 1 in hospital the Malvern Hills; 1 death in hospital in Redditch; 2 deaths in hospital in the city of Worcester; 1 death in a care home and 1 in hospital in Wychavon; and 3 deaths in care homes and 2 in hospital in Wyre Forest.

In England and Wales 668 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the week to 11th March, just one less than the week before. Of these 145 were in a care home, 69 at home, 11 in a hospice, 438 in hospital and 5 elsewhere.

Click for ONS Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights: Deaths

The next chart shows how ONS deaths have fallen in 2022.

Chart of ONS deaths

ONS deaths in England and Wales by week of 2022

Weekly COVID-19 related deaths reported by ONS can be expected to rise in April as a result of the recent increase in daily cases.

NHS England figures for Worcestershire

The table below shows latest COVID deaths in Worcestershire hospitals reported by NHS England on 25th March 2022.

Worcestershire Cumulative deaths Past week
Acute hospitals 993 7
Care hospitals 68 0
TOTAL 1,061 7

Click for NHS COVID-19 total announced deaths

Note: look for COVID Total announced deaths sheet, then select tab Deaths by Trust

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 snapshot of 8,378 recent deaths for the period 7th January 2022 to 19th March 2022 when most of these deaths will have been from the Omicron variant.

Age band Number of COVID deaths % of deaths
0 - 19 19 0.2
20 - 39 81 1.0
40 - 59 557 6.7
60 - 79 2,804 33.5
80+ 4,916 58.6

Relative risk of COVID-19 death by age band

Those aged 60+ account for 92% of deaths despite young people being more likely to catch COVID.

The risk profile for Omicron appears to be the same as for Delta. Age is the greatest risk factor but remember that because of vaccination the death rate as a proportion of new infections is about ten times lower than in 2020.

triangleHealthcare numbers

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

Hospital COVID cases (UK) Number Change since last week
Patients currently in hospital 17,440 +2,769
Patients on ventilation 302 +10
Patients admitted daily 2,053 +335

Headline summary of patients in hospital reported on 25th March 2022

COVID beds have risen by 19% in the last week, as a result of steeply rising cases; these are beds which are no longer available to other NHS patients.

There are two important points to note:

  • only half these beds are occupied by patients primarily admitted due to severe COVID, the remainder being admitted for other reasons;

  • the number of mechanically ventilated beds is only about 7% of that during the worst of the pandemic, so there is currently little burden on Intensive Care Units.

For more detailed statistics on ICU beds click the link below.

Reports on COVID intensive care beds - see intensive care national audit and research centre (ICNARC) website

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 18th March 2022 25th March 2022 15th January 2021
England 11,595 13,842 33,362
London 1,930 2,110 7,811
Midlands 1,934 2,421 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 has risen by 19% in England, just 9% in London and 25% in the Midlands.

For comparison, the number of beds occupied during the peak of the epidemic in January 2021 is shown in red in the right hand column of the table.

Note: the majority of COVID patients are aged 75+ years.

Green triangleWorcestershire hospital beds

Between 14 March 2022 and 20 March 2022, 116 patients went into hospital with Coronavirus. This shows an increase of 20.8% compared to the previous 7 days.

There were 118 patients in hospital with Coronavirus on 22 March 2022, seventeen more than reported last week, and roughly 44% of the peak experienced last January, but only 1 on a ventilator.

Click for Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard

This page also reports deaths.

Deaths in Malvern Hills

Between 19 March 2022 and 25 March 2022, there have been 4 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

Forecast for the week ahead

The number of UK COVID (28) deaths (as recorded by PHE) may increase by up to 1,120 towards 165,600 during the 7 days ending 3rd April 2022, with the average daily death rate rising towards 160.

In the county of Worcestershire, assuming a 0.2% death rate, the 5,760 new cases reported by PHE this week could translate to about 12 deaths per week by the middle of April.

Based on the 25% increase in estimated daily cases reported by Zoe, we expect UK daily hospital admissions to rise from 2,053 to about 2,500 patients per day next week, with a pro rata rise in COVID beds putting significant pressure on hospitals, particularly in Scotland.

Longer term outlook

It's difficult to forecast exactly what happens next. We imagine that we have entered the endemic stage of the disease with a high background level of infection, dipping in the summer and rising  in  the winter, modulated by new variants to which we may or may not have less protection. More deaths than from Flu are expected in the elderly population plus some cases of Long COVID causing fatigue for many months. Otherwise, we expect the majority of the fully vaccinated population under 60 years to be little affected by COVID-19.

In England it is now a personal decision whether or not to take precautions depending on our own situation and assessment of risk. Some may think it best to ignore COVID safe measures in order quickly to build up herd immunity through natural infection, while the risk averse and clinically vulnerable might be more cautious.

See also summary of links section for UCL and IHME modelling projections.

The latest UCL projection is quote:-

The pandemic appears to be entering an endemic phase, with fluctuations in prevalence every few months. The next (spring) peak in prevalence, of about 3.4%, is anticipated in early May 2022, falling to about 1.6% in the summer, and rising again to about 3.1% in October. This translates into about 70 deaths per day in the summer and 210 deaths per day next winter (in the absence of a more virulent strain).

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

In the meantime it looks to us as though the COVID death rate may rise towards 200 deaths a day in April before dipping in the summer.


Advice for SeniorsCOVID risk medium

We judge the risk of exposure to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 to be VERY HIGH in Worcestershire, see our riskometer opposite.

How this affects you will depend on your vaccination status. UKHSA figures suggest the chance of being hospitalised some months after a Booster could be around 25% compared to the unvaccinated.

Two doses of the vaccines give very little protection.

Those most at risk include:

  •  Seniors aged 75+ years who have not been vaccinated;

  • Seniors aged 75+ whose booster is waning;

  • Pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.

Recently there have been no more than 13 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 could be somewhere in the range LOW to MODERATE .

During this period of high prevalence, it is likely that, despite being triple vaccinated, most Seniors will at some time or other become ill with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Those in good health may reasonably think there is little point in taking COVID precautions, such as the wearing of facemasks, being happy to accept the risk of infection before the protection of the vaccines greatly wanes.

However for those hoping to avoid infection before their second booster, such as the 'clinically vulnerable' and frail, the simple safeguards to remember are to:

  • book your first 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 and hospitalisation;

  • 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);

  • ideally wear either a well fitting FACE covering,  or FFP2 face mask when unavoidably near other people for example when in shops, theatres, 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;

  • consider avoiding crowded indoor settings and minimise TIME near strangers;

  • self-isolate for up to 10 days to protect others if you feel unwell with cold or flu like symptoms and test COVID positive; according to the Zoe COVID Study the current top five symptoms are runny nose, headache, sore throat, tiredness, and sneezing which are often 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.

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

4) If you are 'clinically vulnerable' consult your GP or specialist.



This week

Despite it being the second anniversary of the start of the first lockdown cases of COVID-19  are rocketing. However mortality and hospitalisation are much lower than at the start of the pandemic due to both vaccination and the current Omicron variants being less likely to cause Pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Nevertheless the recent spike in cases could put up the death rate and increase the number of COVID patients in hospital for a few more weeks - until people spend more time outdoors lowering the R value, and the number of susceptible individuals left to infect shrinks.

The media continues to be preoccupied with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and no mention of COVID by either the government or the Chief Medical Officer.


Last week we mentioned that we had been given a book by our daughter-in-law which provides a personal record of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

'The Year the World went Mad' by Professor Mark Woolhouse of Edinburgh University;

published by Sandstone Press.

To quote from the flyleaf:

In this astonishing account, Mark Woolhouse shares his story as an insider, having served on advisory groups to both the Scottish and UK governments. He reveals the disregarded advice, frustration of dealing with politicians, and misteps that led to the deaths of vulnerable people, damage to livelihoods and the disruption of education. He explains the follies of lockdown and sets out the alternatives.

Once we have finished the book and mulled it over we will write a short review.

COVID video updates

Links to the Zoe COVID Study and Independent SAGE weekly updates can be found here:-

Click to watch Zoe COVID Symptom Study update on 24th March 2022 presented by Tim Spector.

Click to watch Independent SAGE update on 25th March 2022

Click to read Independent SAGE report - What should learning to live with COVID really mean in 2022?

There has been a discussion of the rising number of cases and Independent Sage looks ahead to Public Health monitoring etc the complexities of which evade us.

Issues such as the treatment of those with Long COVID and what happens to the 'clinically vulnerable' don't seem to be getting much of a mention.

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.
Nuvaxovid 60 A jab manufactured by US firm Novavax being made in Stockton-on-Tees UK. Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) contracted to fill and package vials. Approved by MHRA 3rd Feb 2022. JCVI to advise how vaccine will be used.
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


TrianglePresent rate of detected new cases

The average rate of COVID positive tests 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  660 843
Wales  311 439
Scotland  1,590 1,535
Northern Ireland  835 749
London (region) 548 653
Worcestershire  698 921
Malvern Hills  872 1,183

Seven day Case Rate per 100,000 reported 25th March 2022

Cases up a bit except Scotland flat, NI down a tad.

Note: actual infections could be 4 times the number of positive tests.

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

Back to top


How to request a COVID test

Note: much of this section is largely historical. Now the population is vaccinated the government no longer sees testing as important. The availability of PCR tests is being cut back to save money and Lateral Flow tests will no longer be free after 1st April 2022.

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 Omicron 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 ideally self-isolate for 5 days or until you feel better.

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

Note: from 1st April 2022 you will no longer be able to get a collection code for free tests.

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 2021 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

Note: now isolation is no longer a legal requirement you might as well delete this from your smartphone.


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

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; this has to be done within 24 hours.


Information about Coronavirus can be found on the NHS website:




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

Reports on COVID intensive care beds - see intensive care national audit and research centre (ICNARC) website

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



Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights by ONS

A live roundup of the latest data and trends about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the ONS and other sources.


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)

CDC COVID Data Tracker

Find maps and charts tracking cases, deaths, and trends of COVID-19 in the United States.

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