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Covid19 [C19] Infection Rates...?

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birdie1971 | 00:37 Sat 01st Aug 2020 | News
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Can anyone help me here? I'm trying to understand why 'lockdown' has been imposed on the North West of England. I read in the media that infection rates have increased there but I can't seem to get any info on what this means.

As the number of detected infected people goes up, is this just the result of more and better testing? It stands to reason that the more you test, the more you'll find in a pandemic scenario with most people being either asymptomatic or moderately unwell.

Are hospitals in the NW seeing more seriously ill C19 patients?

If it's the former (more people being detected but showing no or mild symptoms) then surely this is a good thing? It demonstrates that herd immunity is kicking in doesn't it? If it's the latter (a spike in critical C19 hospitalisations) then that's a real problem.

But which is it?

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Well 150 people died from it yesterday (Thursday)which is a lot more than recent days.
The number of active confirmed cases of coronavirus in Greater Manchester, per 100,000 people, has been increasing rapidly recently:
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/94A8/production/_113765083_gmdumbbell-nc.png

That can't all be put down to increased testing, as the rate of increase in confirmed cases is far higher than any increase in the rate of testing. e.g.
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/660/cpsprodpb/10B6A/production/_113685486_barsoldham-nc.png
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Buenchico - “That can't all be put down to increased testing...”

Why?

Are hospitalisation rates increasing?
Testing rates aren't rising dramatically, Birdie. If you test 10% more people, but get 200% more positive results, it's clear that something is going very wrong.
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Are the testing rates for C19 commensurate with the newly detected infections?

Where can we get accurate information on the testing rates? Unless we know both sides of the equation, we don't know if what we're looking at is a real-world C19 infection rate increase or an artefact of the new increased rates of testing?
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Buenchico - “Testing rates aren't rising dramatically”

It was my understanding that testing rates have increased dramatically from where they were a couple of months ago.

Is this not the case? How are all the new cases being detected?
Not everyone ends up in hospital do they?

If the percentage increase in positives is greater than the percentage increase in tests, the R-number is increasing.
It's worth clarifying that the number of deaths announced per day isn't strictly a measure of who died in the last 24 hours, but instead a measure of how many new deaths have been notified in the last 24 hours. This can include deaths going back days or even a few weeks. I'm fairly sure the data is partially based, for example, on NHS England hospital deaths data -- or at least the sources for these two data sets must be closely related; they cannot be counting different people -- and the NHS data set was seeing updates to deaths in April even during July (albeit only a handful).

As far as I'm concerned, the most reliable data set for deaths due to Covid is the ONS weekly deaths data, which also counts everybody who has died. Although it is always lagging by a couple of weeks, this may actually count somewhat in its favour, since the rush to update daily has also led on occasion to errors. In the two full weeks from July 3rd-July 17th, there was a recorded average (in England and Wales) of around 45-50 Covid deaths daily. As far as I'm aware, this is at worst stable through to today, although we will get a better idea of this in Tuesday's update to the figures I'm citing (first link below). This compares to an average of around 19 deaths daily recorded in English hospitals (second link below), which has fallen in the last two weeks to around 11.

* * * * * *

To answer birdie's question: as far as I'm aware, the number of performed tests has remained stable at around 200k tests daily for a couple of months or so, so any rise in case numbers is likely to be genuine rather than a product of increased testing volume. I'm not sure what the scenario is in hospitals at the moment, but there's good reason to suppose that the rise in cases is currently being driven by younger people, who are apparently much less susceptible to the serious effects of this disease themselves -- although not totally invulnerable, and they can also pass on the disease to others in more danger. I'm not sure this meets either of your last two choices, but it's probably closer to the first one than the second.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/weeklyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/
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Mamyalynne -
[from the link] - “Bolton has now reported 58 new cases of covid-19 in the week since last Friday, July 24, almost 24 cases per 100,000 people. Manchester has seen 34 cases confirmed in the last day, whilst Oldham saw 19.”

These are weekly numbers. So in the last week, Bolton has had 8 cases per day, Manchester 5 cases per day and Oldham 3 cases per day.

Pandemic?
See also https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public#number-of-tests for testing data. I have to say I find the spreadsheet on tests to be less than helpful, but it's the best available until somebody produces something clearer.
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THECORBYLOON - “Not everyone ends up in hospital do they?”

No.

And that's kind of my point. If people have the virus and are asymptomatic or only mildly ill, we're getting herd immunity aren't we?
I'm not qualified to discuss or dissect statistics Birdie, so I shan't try.

Just keeping my head down.
I don't think anybody knows yet if herd immunity is a reasonable prospect, either naturally or through vaccination. The virus hasn't been around long enough to test for long-term immunity, for example.

Still, I have to say, I was surprised by the Government's announcement yesterday. It cannot have come as a surprise to *them* that the number of daily cases would increase slightly as a result of lockdown easing...
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Mamyalynne

Believe me, I wasn't try to have a go. I'm genuinely trying to understand if the threat of C19 is as serious as we're being told.

On a personal note, one of my very best friends almost died with (suspected) C19. He was admitted to hospital with suspected pneumonia but was told it was a 'virus'. This was back in November 2019. He spent 6 days in ICU on a ventilator and then approx. 14 days in the HDU. After around three weeks he was sent home. When he was at his most critical, the hospital staff discussed with him putting him in to an induced coma as his lungs were barely absorbing oxygen. Not surprisingly, he objected and luckily he's still with us now.

What's worth mentioning is that he's a big guy. Which is a polite way to say he's obese. He also has several other medical conditions which I won't go into.

I relate this story to you to demonstrate that my interest in this matter is not casual nor dismissive. I want to understand the threat as it pertains to me, you and everyone else. I know C19 is a killer as it nearly murdered my best mate.
I didn't think you were having a go Birdie, it really is true I am unsure of how to translate all these statistics so I leave it to those who do.


I am very glad your friend made it through his ordeal - my eldest Daughter had it too, fortunately she was/is extremely fit and has eventually got her strength back and didn't need hospitalisation.
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Mamyalynne

Very glad your daughter is okay. Truly I am.

Whenever I question the government's rules and overall position on this matter in public with friends and family (and online), some assume that I'm some kind of virus denier! I just want accurate information with which to make informed choices.

I don't think that's an unreasonable request is it?
// it has emerged more than 2.7m people have been placed under tighter restrictions despite living in neighbourhoods which have had fewer than four confirmed cases in the last 14 days. Yet analysis by The Telegraph shows many neighbourhoods in these areas have seen low numbers of cases, with one council leader suggesting her local authority is "getting mopped up with the broader area" //

It is pretty obvious that this has not got political. Large numbers of people have now seen lockdown reimposed, not because local cases of covid have increased significantly, but because they live in an area that didn’t vote Tory at the election.
now got political
It would be helpful to know how many tests have been returnt and are waiting to be processed.

I have already been looking at the figures in JIM's link before he posted it.

The difference in tests processed or sent and those processed, is about twenty-seven percent. There could be millions returnt and waiting to be processed or a couple of hundred thousand.

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