Increasing cases before Christmas

Published 19 December 2020

Nearly 17,000 people were admitted to hospital yesterday compared to 14,000 when the November lockdown started. This alone would be worrying, but there is the added effect of rules being relaxed for Christmas. (Chart below from

There is a risk that the lag between case numbers and hospitalisations and deaths could give a false sense of security as deaths continue to fall over the next few days - a direct result of the November lockdown. But if cases continue to rise, there will be an increase in hospitalisations and deaths later in January.

The pressure of this will be felt most acutely on the NHS. While admissions will be lower than during the first wave in the spring, the sustained level of admissions over the last few months and it being much harder to discharge patients with Covid-19 means that hospital bed occupancy is growing alarmingly high in many hospitals. This adds significant pressure at a time when staff are exhausted.

As a consequence, it is likely that England will be put back into a national lockdown on the 28th.

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