Covid-19 Risk Assessment Week Ending 16 May 2022

Sadly, the rapid fall in the number of infected people in Buckinghamshire has come to an end, and the risk of catching Covid when out and about in Bucks is still EXTREMELY HIGH. Worryingly, the number of people going into hospital with Covid-19 has started to go up again, as have deaths.

With 1 in 44 people in Bucks infected with Covid-19, BuDS still urges everyone to be Covid-Cautious and keep taking sensible precautions against catching Covid-19. The chances of coming across a person with Covid in your everyday life is still EXTREMELY HIGH. Wear a FFP2 or N95 filter mask in public places, breathe clean air, avoid crowds and busy places, work from home if you can, and protect your older and vulnerable relatives and friends.

BuDS will let continue to keep you up to date every week.


 

What’s Happening With The Pandemic?

Omicron BA.2 has run out of people to infect, because so many people have caught it. So, the numbers of infected people have come down from the extraordinarily high levels we had six weeks ago. We know from the UKHSA that there are several new variants of Covid-19 already starting to spread in the UK, so it is only a matter of time before we have another peak.

The ONS Infection Survey shows that the fall in the number of infected people across England has largely stopped. This may be because the other new variants are already starting to spread and are pushing numbers up again. Or it may be that people who caught Covid-19 in the earlier part of 2022 are now able to catch Covid-19 again, and these reinfections are pushing up numbers. Or it could be a combination of both. BuDS will continue to monitor the scientific data, and keep you up to date.

The key thing to remember is that the chances of catching Covid-19 in your everyday life are still EXTREMELY HIGH.


 

A Message For People Who Don’t Mind Catching Covid-19

Many people have now had Covid twice, three or four times. This might not seem to matter if all you feel is mildly ill each time. But every time you catch Covid is a huge gamble. This infection might be the time that you get more seriously ill straight after catching Covid. Or this might be the time that Covid triggers conditions like brain, lung, kidney or liver damage, a stroke or a heart attack. New research shows that the first time you catch Covid, you have about a 1 in 10 chance of developing a long-term condition. With each subsequent time you catch it, that risk goes UP.

You may have survived Covid once with little problems. You might survive Covid the next time with little problems. But if you catch Covid regularly through the year, sooner or later the odds WILL catch up with you. Scientists say Covid is the largest mass-disabling event ever in human history, worse than polio or HIV. Please take sensible precautions to avoid catching Covid and opt out of the disability lottery.


 

Get A Protective Mask!

Wearing a protective face mask which filters the virus out of the air you breathe is one of the two best ways to protect yourself from Covid (the other is being fully vaccinated and boosted). Disabled and clinically vulnerable people can get high-quality fully-certified reusable PPE face masks at big discounts thanks to partnerships between BuDS and two leading mask manufacturers, Cambridge Masks and Airinum. There is a link at the end of this article to the form to learn more and get the discounts. Any number of masks can be bought, and the offer is open to all disabled and clinically vulnerable people in the UK, not just in Bucks.


 

The Risk In Bucks

BuDS uses the most up to date 5-day rolling average ONS Infection Survey data covering the period to 7 May. This is of course 9 days ago, but it is the most reliable data available.

Using this data, we calculate that 1 in 44 people in Bucks have Covid, which is 12,314 people. This is slightly lower than it was in our last risk assessment. However, the ONS report that for the last 5 days (2 to 7 May), there was no change in the percentage of people who were infected.

You can see how current numbers compare to the other waves of Covid-19 in Bucks by looking at the graph below. We have included the number of positive tests reported purely for comparison – these test results are no longer of any value in tracking the virus.

A graph showing Covid cases. 7th May 2022 ONS/BuDS estimated 12,314 positive cases. 9th May 2022 UKHSA estimated 1,859 positive cases.

 

How Likely Are You To Meet An Infected Person?

Your chance of meeting an infected person when you are out and about in Bucks remains EXTREMELY HIGH.

If we assume that every infected person is active in their local community, these figures will help you understand the risk of meeting one.

  • How many infected people in every 1000?[1] – 23
  • How many infected people in Aylesbury?[2] – 1,358
  • How many infected people in High Wycombe?[3] – 2,717
  • How many infected people in Amersham?[4] – 613
  • How many infected people in Chesham?[5] – 605
  • How many infected people in Buckingham?[6] – 340
  • How many infected people in Burnham?[7] – 257
  • How many infected people (adults or children) in a large school?[8] – 34
  • How many infected people in a busy town centre?[9] – 226
  • How many infected people at a large public event?[10] – 453
  • How many infected people in a busy shopping centre?[11] – 23
  • How many infected people in a busy supermarket?[12] – 7

 

How Is The NHS Coping?

There has been a significant increase in the number of patients in Bucks hospitals with Covid and also in the numbers in hospital because they are seriously ill with Covid. These figures are for 8 May, the latest available:

Total number of Bucks hospital patients with Covid – 417.

This total includes people admitted with Covid and those who caught it in hospital. It is 31% higher than the previous week (319). Not all these people will be seriously ill with Covid – see below.

Total number of people admitted with Covid – 104

This total is of people who had Covid on admission to hospital, whether they were admitted because of Covid illness or found to have Covid when admitted for another reason. Not all these people will be seriously ill with Covid. This figure is 22% higher than last week (85).

Estimated total of people in hospital primarily for Covid illness – 167

This figure is 9% higher than last week (153).

As of May 5, the NHS estimate that around 40% of patients infected with Covid in hospitals in the SE of England are there primarily because of Covid illness. We have applied this percentage to the total number of patients in Bucks hospitals who are infected with Covid. All these people are likely to be seriously ill with Covid.

Estimated total of people admitted to hospital primarily for Covid illness – 42

This figure is 2% higher than last week (41).

As of May 5, the NHS estimate that around 40% of patients infected with Covid in hospitals in the SE of England are there primarily because of Covid illness. We have applied this percentage to the total number of patients in Bucks hospitals admitted with Covid to give you a rough idea of how many people are being admitted to hospital because of Covid illness. All these people are likely to be seriously ill with Covid.

You can see how hospitalisation numbers have changed in 2022 on the graphs below.

Keeping Covid-19 under control is vitally important for the NHS and for everyone. If the number of Covid-19 patients gets too high, or high numbers of NHS staff are off sick or self-isolating, or both, hospitals cannot keep patients safe, and care is threatened for all patients.


 

Covid-19 Deaths In Bucks

We use death statistics for the last two weeks rather than just the last week, so you get a more accurate figure. Over all three counting measures, the number of deaths in Bucks is sadly remaining high, and there are early signs of rise back to the very high rates seen during the peak in March and April.

There are three ways of counting the number of Covid-related deaths in Bucks.

  • 15 May, 9 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,309. Because people are increasingly living longer even with severe Covid illness, this is the least accurate total.
  • Between 1 May and 15 May, 19 people died within 60 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,625. This total is the most clinically appropriate because of the length of time people now live with severe Covid illness.
  • Between 22 April and 29 April, 9 people died with Covid as a cause of death as recorded by doctors on their death certificates, bringing the total to 1,467. This is the most reliable total, but the data is always two weeks old.

Deaths from Covid in Bucks continue at the rate of one to two every DAY. At least one person has died of Covid in Bucks every single day in the last twenty weeks.


 

How Many People Are Vaccinated In Bucks?

Unusually, this week the Government has not published the vaccination data for Bucks today, as was expected. We will update this when the data is available.

Remember, those who received their third booster jab before 22 March 2022 are, week by week, becoming less protected against Omicron. While their protection against being severely ill and being admitted to hospital is still good, their resistance to catching Omicron and being ill at home is shrinking.


 

Offers & More Information

If you’d like to know more about the issues below, use the appropriate link.

To find out more about the discounts for certified FFP2 and N95 face masks for disabled and clinically vulnerable people, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/face-mask-offers/

How we calculate our figures and how we check them for accuracy – https://buds.org.uk/risk-post-statistical-methods-explanation/

All our Covid-19 articles – https://buds.org.uk/category/our-work/iag-covid-19/


 

We Are Here To Help!

BuDS can help you by answering questions, providing information, helping you find practical support or help in a crisis or being a friendly voice if you’re lonely or isolated. If you’d like any help or support from us, message us through social media, e-mail buds-support@buds.org.uk or leave us a voicemail on 01494 211179. We’ll do our very best to help you.


 

References

[1] Population of approx. 543973 based on 2018 survey data, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51768274

[2] 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.

[3] 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

[4] Population of 27,077 as of the 2011 Census, from http://old.buckscc.gov.uk/media/1000352/Local-Community-Area-Data.xls

[5] Population of 26,718 as of the 2011 Census, from http://old.buckscc.gov.uk/media/1000352/Local-Community-Area-Data.xls

[6] Population of approx. 15,000 people, from https://www.buckingham-tc.gov.uk/

[7] Population of approx. 11360 as of the 2011 census, from https://wikishire.co.uk/wiki/Burnham,_Buckinghamshire#cite_note-ons-1

[8] Assuming pupils plus staff equals 1500 people in total

[9] Assuming 10,000 people present at any one time

[10] Assuming 20,000 people present at any one time

[11] Assuming 1000 people present at any one time

[12] Assuming 300 people present at any one time