More action needed now to reduce mortality from Covid-19

March 17, 2020 • Reading time 2 minutes

We are publishing a regular update to our work on Covid-19. Other posts can be found here. For further information please contact George on 07980804956 or [email protected] —-

Over 400 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed today in the UK.

As the new testing strategy is to “focus on identifying people with the virus in hospital”, this suggests around 400 people were admitted to hospital today with the virus. This is concerning.

If our modelling is correct (and we are more conservative than the modelling published today by Imperial) we are still at a very early stage of the spread of the virus.

The two charts below show reported cases and tests to date (first chart) and where these sit relative to our mitigated scenario modelling (slowed growth and isolating the vulnerable) – the small purple box.

As our previous analysis has shown, this (mitigated) scenario would translate into unprecedented demand on hospital and critical care beds. We are now developing our understanding of what this will mean in terms of staffing, oxygen and other requirements, which are equally likely to become bottlenecks.

It goes without saying that despite significant measures outlined by the Government and the NHS today, there is a huge amount of work to do to get ready and there is not much time. This needs to happen at a national and local level with good coordination, so that efforts translate into better outcomes.

There is some hope from Italy, who has seen deaths declining consistently for the last three days:

  • 15/03: 368 deaths
  • 16/03: 349 deaths
  • 17/03: 345 deaths

This suggests that the mitigations they put in place in early March have had an impact on the growth of infections, particularly given the situation with their bed capacity. So very similar to what has “worked” in China.

While there is a long way to go, there is some emerging clarity on what needs to be done to minimise mortality – mitigate growth as much as possible, build as much capacity as possible. Both need to happen as soon as possible and with effort from everyone. Pace does not mean panic.


Edge Health are a specialist UK healthcare analytics consultancy that use data and insights to improve the delivery of health and care services, so that better outcomes can be delivered more efficiently.