Published 13 October 2020
Today there were 143 reported deaths, which is on a par with the numbers on the 23rd/24th of March - the date of the last national lockdown.
Reported cases are also peaking (amber line in the chart below), although it is important to remember these are not total cases. The chart below also shows our estimate of actual cases (blue line) based on deaths.*
For England, estimated total case numbers are on a par with the 7th of March, which was the date of my friend's wedding (an event that would now be illegal). Notably, cases are not spreading as quickly this time around.
But these numbers hide a lot of variation across the country. The chart below shows cases for London (left), North East and Yorkshire (centre), and the North West (right).
For this breakdown, London is closer to the 1st of March and the North West closer to the 13th of March.
Two weeks is a lot of time when cases are doubling every two weeks, so there are far more cases in the North West per head of population than in London.
While there are differences in the rate the virus is spreading (Rt) in the two regions, the number of community cases in the North West stayed high over the summer months despite local lockdowns. Partly this is due to fewer people being able to work from home.
Sadly this will all lead to increased hospitalisations and deaths.
While this is all interesting and informative, it remains frustrating that data on confirmed infections are still not widely available.** This means we do not have as good an understanding of where and how infections might be happening. As with the care home crisis in March and April, you have to wonder whether people would have made the same bad decisions if they had access to better and more timely information.
Unfortunately Test and Trace will not be able to bring down case numbers (it lost control in September), so now it seems increasingly likely that there will be a Covid-circuit breaker (the cute new name for a lockdown). But as sentiment towards Covid-19 and Government policy shifts, it seems progressively unlikely that this will have the desired effect.
* As deaths are a lagging measure of cases, we have extrapolated these for recent days based on the increases in positive tests.
** Anonymised data on confirmed cases at an individual level: age, gender, occupation, Covid-19 illness status (home, hospital, recovered), location, believed source of infection (pub, school, work, household), date recovered, and the cluster-ID (if it is collected).
*** More details of our calculation methodology will be shared on our website in the next few days