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Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 23 October 2020.

Prof Sheila Bird, Formerly Programme Leader, MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, said:

“Key data from Office for National Statistics are provisional counts of COVID-mention deaths by date of occurrence.

“My table, updated from last week, contrasts COVID-mention deaths in England & Wales (by week of occurrence) in early March 2020 and early September 2020.  Not all deaths which occurred in the week ending 23 October 2020 have yet been registered so that the likely final count will be nearer 1200.

“During the first wave, COVID-19 deaths increased by a factor of 10, week-on-week, in the first three weeks of March 2020.  The weekly rate of increase then moderated to below doubling in the first two weeks of April.

“As UK’s second wave evolves, COVID-19 deaths in England & Wales are more than doubling fortnightly (running rate of 2.2 = {167+242+373+520+750+1200}/{76+99+167+242+373+520}; compare yellow shading; also turquoise shading).  The rate of increase in 2nd wave for England & Wales is currently lower and slower in than March 2020, when it was initially 10-fold, which is the good news.  The bad news is that the rate has not started to abate.

“Taking registration delay into account, we may expect that 1200 COVID-mention deaths may have occurred in England & Wales in the week ended 23 October 2020.

“By changing our close contact patterns in England now, as Scotland’s central belt did from 13 October for 3-weeks and Wales did also, we need to moderate down the rate of increase over the coming weeks.  This week see the start of England’s much heralded lockdown for at least 4 weeks.

“But we shall need to sustain reduced contact patterns for months, not just weeks, to see us through the winter.  Serial circuit-breakers can help us rein-in.

“In Scotland’s second wave, COVID-19 deaths are trebling fortnightly (running rate of 3.3 = {18+37+74+105}/{6+11+18+37}; compare yellow shading; also turquoise shading). Source: The autumn-rate in COVID-mention registered deaths has not yet started to abate.  By occurrence-date, Scotland’s COVID-mention deaths on 16th & 23rd October run at about one-tenth of those for England 7 Wales.

“Scotland’s new hospital-admissions for COVID-19: Moreover, Scotland’s average number of COVID-hospital admissions on 20th & 23rd & 27th & 30th March 2020 were 38.1 & 58.2 & 104.2 & 143.4 respectively: ominous in view of the latest 2nd wave’s daily-average-data on 5th & 8th, which were 43.0 & 58.1, but were 67.4 & 76.3 on & 11th & 14th Oct.  Ominous, that is, unless the initially high 2nd-wave admission-rates are due to the public’s being better informed to seek hospitalisation earlier.

“But there is some comfort because Scotland’s comparators (7-day average) for new COVID-hospitalisations for 11th & 14th October 2020 were only 65% and 53% of their 27th & 30th March comparators.  Let us hope that Scotland’s measures have begun to bite because the autumnal rate for new-COVID-hospitalisations has reduced relative to its more starkly escalated March counterpart.”

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MIL OSI United Kingdom