Covid-19 Risk Assessment Week Ending 18th April 2022

The Covid-19 EMERGENCY in Buckinghamshire continues, although the school holidays have slightly lowered infection levels. As of 9 April, 1 in every 16 people in Bucks has Covid-19. There has been NO big fall in infections and the risk of meeting an infected person remains CRITICALLY HIGH.

BuDS urges everyone to be Covid-Cautious and keep taking sensible precautions against catching Covid. 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.

Remember, Covid-19 is NOT like the flu or a cold. It matters if you catch Covid. Covid-19 is medically proven to cause widespread organ damage and long-term illness in millions of people, which the flu has never done. Even if you have manageable Covid illness at home, the longer-term effect on you and your future could be devastating. Taking sensible precautions is in your own best interest, especially if you are disabled, have medical conditions, or are an older person.


 

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). 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.


 

No End In Sight

Both in Bucks and nationally, Covid-19 infection levels continue at incredibly high levels. Although there has been a slight fall recently, this is probably just due to the school holidays. Schools are a main driver of infections and so infection levels always drop in school holidays periods, then pick up again afterwards. While people continue to ignore the virus and behave as if there wasn’t a pandemic, Covid will continue to spread unchecked as it is doing now.

We already know that people are catching Omicron variants more than once and sometimes only a few weeks after another infection. This is happening for three reasons. Firstly, the protection given by vaccines is wearing off fast. With only over 75s and extremely clinically vulnerable people being offered a fourth dose (second booster), by the summer most people will have only weak or no protection against catching and getting ill with Covid. Secondly, Omicron has evolved to trigger only a weak immune reaction to itself, meaning that people can catch it again as soon as their weak immunity has ended. And thirdly, and maybe most importantly, Omicron is mutating rapidly, and people will be able to catch each new mutation or variant as it comes along.

The picture for the future is sadly of CONTINUING high levels of infections, high sickness and absenteeism, full hospitals, and high death levels. This situation is entirely AVOIDABLE. There are many sensible things that the Government could do to reduce infection levels which would not hurt the economy or restrict people’s ‘freedom’, but it has chosen not to do them. So, it is up to YOU to protect yourself.

Remember, each time you catch Covid INCREASES the chance of a more serious illness and of developing a post-Covid conditions such as organ damage or Long Covid. Even if you have had Covid before, it is still very much worthwhile to try to avoid catching it again.


 

The Risk In Bucks

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

Using this data, we calculate that 1 in 16 people in Bucks have Covid, which is 33,562 people. This is slightly lower than it was in our last risk assessment, probably because the school holidays have slightly reduced transmission.

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 positive cases. 9th April, BuDS estimated 33,562 cases. 11th April, UKHSA estimated 9,543 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 CRITICALLY 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] – 62
  • How many infected people in Aylesbury?[2] – 3,702
  • How many infected people in High Wycombe?[3] – 7,404
  • How many infected people in Amersham?[4] – 1,671
  • How many infected people in Chesham?[5] – 1,649
  • How many infected people in Buckingham?[6] – 956
  • How many infected people in Burnham?[7] – 701
  • How many infected people (adults or children) in a large school?[8] – 93
  • How many infected people in a busy town centre?[9] – 617
  • How many infected people at a large public event?[10] – 1,234
  • How many infected people in a busy shopping centre?[11] – 62
  • How many infected people in a busy supermarket?[12] – 19

 

How Is The NHS Coping?

We are now giving you more detailed figures about people in hospital with Covid so that you can understand the situation better. These figures are for 10 April, the latest available:

Total number of Bucks hospital patients with Covid – 712.

This total includes people admitted with Covid and those who caught it in hospital. It is 22% higher than the previous week (582). Not all these people will be seriously ill with Covid – see below.

Total number of people admitted with Covid – 140

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 2% higher than last week (137).

Estimated total of people in hospital primarily for Covid illness – 342

This figure is 23% higher than last week (279).

The NHS estimate that around 48% 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. This week, one patient is in intensive care with Covid in Bucks.

Estimated total of people admitted to hospital primarily for Covid illness – 67

This figure is 2% higher than last week (66).

The NHS estimate that around 48% 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.

 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 Death Statistics

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 as Omicron claims more victims.

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

  • 17 April, 22 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,267. Because people are increasingly living longer even with severe Covid illness, this is the least accurate total.
  • Between 3 April and 17 April, 31 people died within 60 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,546. This total is the most clinically appropriate because of the length of time people now live with severe Covid illness.
  • Between 3 April and 17 March, 7 people died with Covid as a cause of death as recorded by doctors on their death certificates, bringing the total to 1,431. 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 or two every DAY. At least one person has died of Covid in Bucks every single day in the last ten weeks.


How Many People Are Vaccinated In Bucks?

For the third week running, vaccination has made virtually no progress in Bucks across all age groups. In fact, because people are moving from one age group to the next, the percentage of vaccinated teenagers and adults in each age group has actually FALLEN.

Effectively, vaccination has ground to a halt in Bucks.

Here are the latest vaccination figures for 17 April:

  • Secondary-age children (aged 12 to 15) – 64.2% have had 1 dose; 41.0% have had two doses and 0.3% have had three doses. 99.7% (30,219) are not fully vaccinated and vulnerable to Omicron
  • Older Teenagers (aged 16 to 17) – 76.8% have had 1 dose; 60.8% have had two doses and 15.1% have had three doses. 84.9% (12,067) are not fully vaccinated and vulnerable to Omicron
  • Adults (aged 18 to 70) – 86.2% have had 1 dose; 83.8% have had two doses and 68.1% have had three doses. 31.9% (120,806) are not fully vaccinated and vulnerable to Omicron
  • Older Adults (aged over 70) – 96.9% have had 1 dose; 96.3% have had two doses and 93.6% have had three doses. 6.4% (5,056) are not fully vaccinated and vulnerable to Omicron

As the figures above show, nearly all children and young people in Bucks have very low protection against Omicron. Nearly a third of adults also have very low protection against Omicron, and most worryingly, thousands of older adults still have very low protection against Omicron.

Remember, those who received their booster jab before 20 February 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