The developing national picture

 

As the days pass we are seeing an increase in the amount of information and data being published in relation to COVID-19. This allows us to better understand the national picture as it develops.

 

Daily government press conference

Each day the government holds a daily press conference. The latest sets of government slides can be found here. The government presents data on the implementation of social distancing such as transport use, information on testing, the use of critical care beds and some international comparisons.

In each press conference the government also announces the daily number of tests undertaken to detect the virus, and of deaths. The figure relating to deaths includes all deaths up until 5pm that day that occur in acute hospitals across the UK. This real time data helps tracks the impact of the virus and pressure on hospitals. However, this data only provides part of the picture, as people will also die from COVID-19 at home or in community health and care settings such as hospices and care homes.

 

Emerging trends

On 16 April the government announced that is was launching an inquiry to investigate why people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds appear to be disproportionately affected by coronavirus. The government said that early figures show 35% of almost 2,000 patients in intensive care units were BME.

The review will be led by NHS England and Improvement and Public Health England.

We know that locally, some trusts are carrying out research of their own, or collaborating with local research institutions to analyse patient data and seek to identify and support populations who may be at greater risk from COVID-19.  One trust told us they are working with community development teams and community leaders to improve communication and support for their higher risk populations.  Another trust is working with a local research centre to get an accurate picture of infections, hospitalisations and deaths stratified by ethnicity to understand whether there is any increased risk of infection, disease severity and mortality within BME populations.

The issue has shed light on how crucial it is to have a fuller understanding of how COVID-19 may differently impact people with certain characteristics including ethnicity, age, gender, and socio-economic status.

The Office of National Statistics is currently publishing death certificate data which includes data around age, gender and region. From this data we know:

  • There are a higher proportion of COVID-19 deaths in older age categories and a smaller proportion in young people and children.
  • In each age group there have been more deaths involving COVID-19 in males than in females. The data for March shows the mortality rate for males is double that of females.
  • Currently, there is a higher proportion of COVID-19 deaths in London than other regions of the country.

 

There are clearly gaps in this information which the review and other research must fill for us to understand how COVID-19 may impact on health inequalities and health outcomes for different groups.

NHS Providers will continue to work with government, trusts, and stakeholders to ensure that the right data is captured and reported in a timely way. Once any data is available we will update our pages to ensure we are pulling together the key COVID-19 data.

 

Office of National Statistics data

The ONS is working with Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Public Health England to better understand deaths that are occurring in care homes. From 28 April, the ONS is publishing counts of deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes, based on reporting from care home operators to CQC, which we now include in our analysis.

 

Latest figures

Below are the key findings from the latest publication covering data up until 11 September 2020 (week 37) We will be updating this section of the website with the revised figures each week:

  • The total number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 11 September (week 37) was 9,811, an increase of 26.8% (2,072 more deaths) compared to the week before.
  • The number of deaths registered was 5.4% above the five-year average (505 deaths higher). However, this could be a result of the August bank holiday causing a delay in deaths registered in week 36 resulting in more deaths registered in week 37.
  • There were 99 COVID-19 deaths in week 37, which is 21 more than the previous week (26.9% higher).
  • Total deaths in hospitals were below the five-year average (371 below average), while the number of deaths in private homes and care homes were higher than the five-year average (830, or 36.5% and 57, or 2.9% above average, respectively).
  • This week the number of deaths involving COVID-19 increased in hospitals (up by 25.5% to 64 deaths) and care homes (up by 58.8% to 27 deaths) but remained the same private homes (7 deaths).
  • This week, the proportion of COVID-19 deaths occurring in hospitals decreased slightly to 64.6% (down from 65.4% last week), while the proportion in care homes increased to 27.3% (up from 21.8% last week) and the proportion in private homes decreased to 7.1% (down from 9% last week).
  • Total deaths were higher than the five-year average in all English regions apart from the North West which was slightly below the average at -2.9%. The South East had the greatest number of deaths above the average at 12%.
  • The North West had the largest number of deaths involving COVID-19 (30 deaths, up from 13 last week) and had the highest proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 (2.4%, up from 1.2% last week).
  • The North East had the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths this week (3 deaths, down from 5 last week).

 

 

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