Dial 111 to help predict Covid-19 infections
March 31, 2020 • Reading time 2 minutes
Published 1 April 2020
Last week we estimated the number of people infected with Covid-19 using deaths to approximate the actual number of people infected – that came out at about 1.6 million for England, 760,000 of which are in London.
Today NHS Digital released data on potential Covid-19 symptoms reported through online assessments and 111 calls. These data only start from March the 18th – back when there were just over 2,100 reported cases of Covid-19 in England (there are over 24,600 now).
The cumulative total number of online assessments and 111 calls comes out at just over 1.5 million – not so far off the 1.6 million. There will be people using the service that is not infected, but there will also be people that are infected not using the facilities – these may balance out.
Calls and online assessments could be a leading indicator of reduced cases of Covid-19, so it is good news that the number of daily online assessments and 111 calls seems to be dropping (see below).
With new Covid-19 cases (potentially) starting to slow down at almost ten days since the lock-down, it raises the question of how feasible and desirable it will be to keep people in their homes. Getting people back to work safely has to be a priority, but it will be a delicate balance to make sure infections are kept in check and that health services do not get overwhelmed.