Officials are clearly concerned about the latest rise in coronavirus cases. Over the last three days, the number of newly identified cases is at the top of 2,000.
The average rate of new infections is now four times higher than in mid-July. However, the growth of the case is as sharp as it looks? Here are five things to consider before pressing the panic button.
1. The ‘peak’ was not a huge value
Confirmed case charts are a habit of all of us. It shows the number of positive Covid-19 tests in a day. In April, there were days when 6,000 new cases were recorded per day, so the level of infection seems to have almost reached its peak in the last few days.
However, at the onset of the epidemic, the UK was only able to test hospital patients. Had limited testing capacity.
This targeted test means the infection has been completely missed in the community, now we have a mass testing system in the community. This means that if we compare numbers with the time at the top now, we basically compare apples to pears.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimates that there could be as many as 100,000 cases a day by the end of March. The community mass trial only began in the second half of May.
Obviously not all cases are sorted out now, although the surveillance program conducted by the Office for National Statistics proves that there is a large part, although earlier 5% of cases were detected in the epidemic.
So while the cases may increase, the level of infection is still much lower than at the top.
2. Excessive testing is a factor
Even after the introduction of mass examinations, the number of examinations conducted on daily and weekly basis is still increasing.
This is because more experimental centers have been opened and lab capacity to process experiments has increased. This means that we have been able to see more closely for the transmission of the virus in the public than when the first test was started.
If you look at the trend alone in the positive, the pattern looks like this:
So the cases are spiking, aren’t they?
But we have to factor in that huge increase in testing – there has been an 80% increase here since mid-June. When you adjust for the number of tests conducted and calculate the percentage of positive tests, the trend looks even better:
The emergence seems small, slow and happened recently.
3. Test targeted at hotspots
Increasing test capacity means the government now has a flexible army of test facilities. A network of about a hundred mobile units can be sent across the country.
And despite the current problems with lab capacity, which means some people in some places have struggled to get tested, resources are still being concentrated at the highest rates.
Random tests in the surrounding area have also started in the hotspot area, with people offering tests even if there are no symptoms.
By searching for areas with the highest rates of infection you will be more likely to test positive
It says that from last week to Sunday, a quarter of the new cases were with the highest rates in the 20 local authority regions. They represent only 5% of the total local authority.
4. Hospital admissions are not increasing with cases
Cases have risen in recent weeks, with no significant increase in hospital admissions.
One theory is that further testing is uncovering a large number of mild cases that do not require treatment. Another is that most cases involve young people who are less likely to get very sick.
5. Young people are testing positive at a high rate
Data from Public Health England show that people in the 20-39 age bracket are testing more positively than at any other age and at a higher rate than before in epidemics. That is why it is difficult to say.
It can be behavioral or demographic – young people are more likely to go out to work, work in public, live in shared housing, and socialize.
But it can also be a function of how eligibility for testing has expanded. Young people are less likely to become seriously ill with the coronavirus and so earlier this year they were not found in the hospital where they were being tested.
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