The half-term holidays mean the number of Covid-19 infected people in Bucks has fallen slightly again, but remains at a VERY HIGH level. Numbers have already started to rise again nationally, and Bucks numbers will start to rise over the next two weeks. BuDS continues to urge everyone to STOP MIXING with others, especially indoors, as much as possible. Read on for more.
Official data from last week shows that 1 in 69 people in Bucks may now be infected with Covid-19, especially children and young people. This is slightly better than last week but is still VERY HIGH. More importantly than the ‘half-term dip’, hospitalisations are down only slightly with very few more unvaccinated people coming forward for protection. As we go into the winter, the pandemic remains a very real threat to the NHS and to everyone.
- COVID-19 – IS IT MORE LIKE HIV?
- BREATHING CLEAN AIR IS STILL ESSENTIAL
- CHRISTMAS IS COMING!
- HELP IS AVAILABLE!
- THE RISK IN BUCKS THIS WEEK
- FIRST SET OF DATA: REPORTED POSITIVE TESTS
- SECOND SET OF DATA: AVERAGE R RATE DATA – UKHSA
- THIRD SET OF DATA: MAXIMUM R RATE DATA – UKHSA
- CHECKING THE DATA: ONS INFECTION SURVEY
- PUTTING ALL THE DATA TOGETHER
- HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO MEET AN INFECTED PERSON?
- HOW IS THE NHS COPING?
- HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE DYING?
- HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE VACCINATED IN BUCKS?
- THE KEY MESSAGE
- WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
- MORE INFORMATION
COVID-19 – IS IT MORE LIKE HIV?
More reputable scientific studies have been published showing that infection with Covid-19 can lead to later organ damage, even if the person was not very ill when they first caught Covid-19. There are real fears among many senior doctors that huge numbers of people will develop brain, lung, kidney, pancreas and other organ damage in the weeks and months after catching Covid-19. While this work is at an early stage, strong links between Covid-19 and dementia, diabetes and other long-term serious conditions are being explored.
This information is available to the Government, but they have chosen not to emphasise these risks because it interferes with their idea that returning to ‘normal’ is the most important thing, even if that means mass infections and many deaths. Other Governments are taking the issue much more seriously. BuDS is pulling all the latest research together and will publish full details soon. But in the meantime, our advice hasn’t changed: PROTECT YOURSELF by remaining ‘Covid-Careful’.
Covid-Careful doesn’t mean shielding or complete self-isolation – meeting friends and family is vital for mental health, and it is still safe to meet OUTDOORS if you take sensible precautions (read our article or watch our video to learn more). But EVERYONE now should be meeting as few people outside their household as possible, and avoiding crowds, events and indoor places like shops, restaurants and pubs.
BREATHING CLEAN AIR IS STILL ESSENTIAL
Delta Plus (the new variant now widespread in Bucks) and Delta are airborne viruses – they travel mainly in the air breathed out by infected people. So, the three best ways to protect yourself are:
- Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 and getting booster doses as soon as you can, if you’re eligible. Vaccination will help you avoid getting seriously ill if you catch Delta Plus and booster jabs will refresh your protection.
- Making sure you are breathing clean fresh air, not air contaminated by other people’s breath. This means opening windows wide or being out of doors when you meet people who might be infected, especially children and young people.
- Keeping well away from people who might be infected and breathing out the virus, by avoiding indoor places as much as possible and socially distancing even outdoors.
Wearing a loose cloth face-covering yourself, washing your hands and using hand sanitiser are still important but these precautions are not as effective against Delta and Delta Plus because the virus mainly travels by air.
CHRISTMAS IS COMING!
The media, Government and businesses are all sending the message that Christmas this year can be completely normal – you can go to parties, cinemas and shows, go shopping in crowded stores, and have people around to your home whenever you like. Sadly, this isn’t true. Covid hasn’t gone away – in fact it has become even more infectious and easier to catch.
The sad fact is that, if you have a ‘normal Christmas’, there is a very high chance that you will catch Covid. Vaccination may protect you from being seriously ill, but it won’t protect so much from Long Covid or developing other serious conditions. Not catching Covid at all is still the safest idea.
BuDS will be publishing advice and guidance on meeting people more safely at Christmas soon, but in the meantime please DON’T FOLLOW THE CROWD. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by continuing to be Covid-Careful.
HELP IS AVAILABLE!
If you need help or support or you’re anxious about Covid-19, BuDS is here for you. Please e-mail email@example.com, call 01494 211179 (voicemail) or message us and we’ll do all we can to help.
THE RISK IN BUCKS THIS WEEK
You catch Covid-19 from other infected people, so knowing how many infected people are around in your community is the most important fact when looking at risk. BuDS uses 4 separate sets of official data to make sure we can give you the best and most balanced picture of the risk from Covid-19 in Bucks. We are not trying to make precise mathematical calculations but assess whether the number of infected people in the local community is going up or down.
FIRST SET OF DATA: REPORTED POSITIVE TESTS
The UK Health Security Agency (a body controlled by the Government) counts the number of people who test positive for Covid-19 using either a laboratory PCR test or a lateral-flow test kit later confirmed by a PCR test. BuDS adds together the daily positive test totals over the last two weeks, because people generally have Covid-19 and are infectious for about two weeks. This gives us a total number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are still infectious. This total still underestimates the true number of infected people in the community, because lots of people who have Covid-19 don’t get tested or don’t report a positive test. So, BuDS increases the number of people testing positive to try to take account of the people who are positive but don’t get tested or report a positive test.
Last week, after making the calculations shown above, we said there were 7,310 infected people in Bucks. After revision of the test data by UKHSA, it turns out that the total was actually 7,166. That means last week the number of reported positive tests actually fell by 23% – we originally reported an 22% fall.
On the data we have from UKHSA, this week we calculate there are 6,715 infected people in Bucks,1 which (taking last week’s revised total into account) means that the number of infected people in Bucks measured by UKHSA tests has fallen by only 6% this week. The half-term dip in infections is nearly over and it is very likely that the number of infected people, and the associated risk, will now increase again.
SECOND SET OF DATA: AVERAGE R RATE DATA – UKHSA
The UK Health Security Agency uses a range of surveys and test data every week to calculate the ‘R Rate’ for Covid-19.2 The R-rate measures how quickly the number of people infected with Covid-19 is growing or shrinking. The R Rate is now calculated by UKHSA to be 0.9 in the South-East. Using the average R Rate for the South-East of England, including Bucks, we calculate that last week there were 10,902 infected people in Bucks, and this week there are 7,127, a big fall of around 35%.
THIRD SET OF DATA: MAXIMUM R RATE DATA – UKHSA
Thirdly, using the maximum R Rate for the South East of England, including Bucks, we calculate that there were 12,046 infected people in Bucks last week, and now there are 7,842, a big fall of around 35%.
CHECKING THE DATA: ONS INFECTION SURVEY
The Office for National Statistics (which is independent of Government) test a random sample of 50,000 people across the UK every week, whether they are ill or not, to see how many have Covid-19. This Infection Survey is the most reliable way of estimating how many people have Covid-19, because it doesn’t rely on people choosing to get a test or report a positive result.3 Unfortunately, the survey results are slow to come out – the latest fully-comparable figures we have are for the week ending 1 November, 2 weeks ago. That data shows a fall (-11.3%) in the number of infected people across the South East as a whole, which corresponds to and is about the same as the 12% fall we saw in reported positive tests in Bucks in that week. The ONS consistently finds more infected people in Bucks than is shown by reported positive tests.
PUTTING ALL THE DATA TOGETHER
Looking at all the data, it is clear that the risk from Covid-19 in Bucks is slightly LOWER than last week, bit is still VERY HIGH. Depending on the test data you use, the number of infected people has gone from between 7,300-12,100 to between 6,700-7,800. 1 in every 69 people in Bucks is infected with Covid-19.
HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO MEET AN INFECTED PERSON?
Using the UKHSA max R Rate data, which we think this week is the most likely to be accurate,4 we have calculated that there are 7,842 people infected with Covid-19 in Bucks this week. At least some of these infected people in Bucks will be showing symptoms and self-isolating or been told to self-isolate by Track and Trace. Some may be in hospital or have died. However, for the purposes of calculating risk, we will take the ‘worst case’ scenario and assume that every infected person is still out in the community potentially able to infect you. How likely are you to meet them?
How many infected people in every 1000?5 – 14
How many infected people in Aylesbury?6 – 865
How many infected people in High Wycombe?7 – 1,730
How many infected people in Amersham?8 – 390
How many infected people in Chesham?9 – 385
How many infected people in Buckingham?10 – 216
How many infected people in Burnham?11 – 164
How many infected people (adults or children) in a large school?12 – 22
How many infected people in a busy town centre?13 – 144
How many infected people at a large public event?14 – 288
How many infected people in a busy shopping centre?15 – 14
How many infected people in a busy supermarket?16 – 4
Remember, people infected with Covid-19 move about. The figures above show a theoretical number based on population or crowd size to help you get an idea of the likely number. Also, you don’t necessarily have to meet 69 people to meet one with Covid-19. The first person you see in the street or supermarket might be the one person with Covid-19.
HOW IS THE NHS COPING?
The pressure from Covid-19 on Bucks hospitals has risen again this week, remaining HIGH. Last week, according to NHS data, 225 people were admitted to Bucks hospitals for the first time with symptoms of Covid-19 or were admitted to hospital for other reasons and found to have Covid-19 when tested in the hospital, down from 256 the week before (-12%). Covid-19 continues to lead to the cancellation of operations and delays to other urgent hospital treatment for the residents of Bucks. Like every other ambulance service in England, South Central Ambulance Service, which covers Bucks, has declared an emergency several weeks in a row.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE DYING?
3 people were recorded as dying in Bucks last week within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, and 4 people were recorded as dying in Bucks last week within 60 days of a positive Covid-19 test. This brings the number of deaths in Bucks since the pandemic began to a shocking 1046 within 28 days or 1248 within 60 days.
The ONS also measure the number of people dying of Covid-19 using death certificate data. This is the most reliable data by far, but publication is significantly delayed. The most recent comparative date we have is 21 October. On that date, the ONS found that 1260 people had died in Bucks of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, compared to 1034 within 28 days of a positive test and 1236 within 60 days of a positive test (as reported by the UKHSA). It is clear that the UKHSA reported figures massively understate the numbers of people dying of Covid-19.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE VACCINATED IN BUCKS?
The vaccination programme in Bucks remains a story of two halves: lots of activity around children and already vaccinated adults, but not much change for unvaccinated adults. On the positive side, vaccination of children under 16 is moving on slowly and adults who have been fully vaccinated are getting booster jabs if they are eligible. But on the negative side, very few unvaccinated adults and teenagers are getting vaccinated – the numbers of unvaccinated adults is not much reducing. Also, the number of partially vaccinated adults and teenagers completing their vaccination is very low.
- 50.6% of 12- to 15-year-olds in Bucks have had one dose, up 11% on last week. Almost none (0.3%) have had a second dose.
- 68.3% of 16- & 17-year-olds in Bucks have had one dose, up 1% on last week. 14.3% have had two doses.
- 84.8% of adults 18 to 70 in Bucks have had one dose, almost unchanged on last week. 81.1% have had two doses.
- 96.7% of adults over 70 in Bucks have had one dose, almost unchanged on last week. 95.9% have had two doses.
- Overall, 84.1% of the people on the NHS vaccine register in Bucks have had a first dose and 76.7% have had a second dose.
This may sound reassuring, but very large numbers of people in Bucks have still to receive any vaccine or cannot be vaccinated for clinical reasons. They include 14,691 12-15-year-olds, 4,493 16 & 17-year-olds, 57,183 adults under 70 and 2,594 adults over 70. In total, around 125,000 people in Bucks of all ages have not yet received even a single dose of vaccine.
THE KEY MESSAGE
The key message for EVERYONE hasn’t changed: this is a time to you to ACT TO PROTECT YOURSELF from both Covid-19 and Long Covid by being Covid-Careful.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
If you need advice on how to keep yourself safe, or any other form of help or support, or you’re anxious about Covid-19, BuDS is here for you. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01494 211179 (voicemail) or message us and we’ll do all we can to help.
To read the rest of our articles about Covid-19, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/category/our-work/iag-covid-19/
To learn more about the people who are more likely to die or have serious illness if they catch Covid-19, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/danger-of-covid-19/
To learn more about Long Covid, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/long-covid-july-2021-update/
To learn more how to be safer when going out, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/meeting-safely-out-of-doors/
To read our past risk posts, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/category/our-work/iag-covid-19/risk-assessments/
To see how we calculate the figures used in this post in more detail, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/risk-post-statistical-methods-explanation/
BuDS will put out another Covid-19 update next week using the latest figures.
Please share this article on social media, but always credit BuDS. If you need help or support or you’re anxious about Covid-19, BuDS is here for you. Please e-mail email@example.com, call 01494 211179 (voicemail) or message us and we’ll do all we can to help.
 Using data from https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/download. The raw test figures are added together and adjusted to account for asymptomatic cases based on scientific data, in order to create a rolling two week average which best represents the number of infected people in Bucks this week. This rolling average is the figure that we use in the post.
 Using data from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk#latest-r-number-and-growth-rate. The figure quoted is calculated in the same way as the rolling average figure described in reference 1, but using the R number to estimate the number of positive cases rather than UKHSA test data.
 For information on the infection survey, including the data collected (which is used by BuDS to calculate this estimate for Bucks), see https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/datasets/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveydata or https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/23april2021 for the weekly reports
 The ONS Infection Survey historically consistently reports more infected people than any of the other measures we use, so we think the UKHSA max R Rate data is more likely to be correct this week as it is the highest of the up-to-date data sources available.
 Population of approx. 60,000 people, from https://www.aylesburytowncouncil.gov.uk/about-aylesbury/#:~:text=Aylesbury%2C%20the%20County%20Town%20of%20Buckinghamshire%2C%20is%20a,of%20over%2060%2C000%2C%20the%20largest%20in%20Aylesbury%20Vale.
 Population of approx. 120,000 people, from https://www.wycombe.gov.uk/pages/About-the-council/Transparency-and-open-government/Open-data/Statistics-and-census-information.aspx
 Population of 27,077 as of the 2011 Census, from http://old.buckscc.gov.uk/media/1000352/Local-Community-Area-Data.xls
 Population of 26,718 as of the 2011 Census, from http://old.buckscc.gov.uk/media/1000352/Local-Community-Area-Data.xls
 Population of approx. 11360 as of the 2011 census, from https://wikishire.co.uk/wiki/Burnham,_Buckinghamshire#cite_note-ons-1
 Assuming pupils plus staff equals 1500 people in total
 Assuming 10,000 people present at any one time
 Assuming 20,000 people present at any one time
 Assuming 1000 people present at any one time
 Assuming 300 people present at any one time