Covid hospital admissions and deaths may have already peaked – but it's not due to lockdown, experts claim

Covid hospital admissions and deaths may have already peaked – but it's not due to lockdown, experts claim

CORONAVIRUS hospital admissions and deaths may have already peaked, but experts claim that it's not down to the second national lockdown.

Official government data shows that efforts to curb the spread of the virus before the second shutdown may have been beneficial when it comes to community infection rates.

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The graph above shows deaths within 28 days of a positive test by date of death.

Senior Clinical Research Associate, MRC Epidemiology Unit University of Cambridge Dr Raghib Ali said that infections are also starting to fall in those who are most at risk from severe effects of the virus.

He said: "[There are] Promising signs that hospital admissions and deaths may have peaked.

"This is not due to lockdown (too soon) but reflects infections in weeks pre-lockdown – but does tally with the improved compliance with guidelines in the weeks pre-lockdown as shown in the Covid Social Study."

'Levelling off'

NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said that "in the last few days" there "looks as if there's a levelling off" in hospital patients with coronavirus.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this evening he said: "That is just a few days' data and it's important not to read too much into it yet. We need to see data over a few more days and into next week.

"We are starting to see evidence that, as a result of restrictions, infection rates are falling."

Just two weeks ago experts also revealed that the UK had passed the second week of Covid cases.

The data from the government's coronavirus dashboard on deaths and hospital admissions backs up previous claims made by King's College London's Professor Tim Spector, who on November 5 said there would be a time lag as to when this drop in cases would be seen in deaths.

Due to the incubation period of the virus, it can take up to two weeks for symptoms to show, so there is typically a similar time delay on hospital admissions.

There tends to be another two week lag on top of this when it comes to the number of people who have died from Covid.

This means it could be the end of lockdown before there is any drop in the death statistics, according to Prof Spector.

The second national lockdown was enforced by the government after experts said a three tier system had not been sufficient at stopping the spread of the virus.

On October 31 Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation in a Saturday night press conference where he revealed that the country would be plunged into a four-week lockdown.

Under the restrictions, pubs, non-essential shops and restaurants were all forced to close, although schools had to stay open.

The second national lockdown is due to end on December 2 and officials have previously said that Brits will go back into tiered restrictions in order to stop the virus spreading further.

Current data from the government shows that there are currently 2,225 weekly deaths that feature coronavirus on the death certificate.

Data from the dashboard suggests that in the last seven days 156,012 people had tested positive for the virus, with 20,252 people testing positive on a daily basis.

When it comes to hospital admissions there have been around 12,223 in the last week and around 1,737 on a daily basis.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) published today also revealed that cases have declined by 18 per cent.

This is the first indication that the second national lockdown may be having an impact when it comes to curbing infections.

Figures from the ONS state that the infection rate has "levelled off" across the country.

Last week the ONS reported that there had been 47,700 new daily cases in England, and this week that figure has dropped 18 per cent to 38,900.


Experts today stated that as restrictions continue, infections should continue to fall.

Dr Raghib added: "ONS also showing we are past the peak nationally and infections beginning to fall in higher risk age groups.

"But still increasing in some regions so shouldn't be complacent – sticking to the rules, social distancing, self-isolation, etc. gives us best chance of ending lockdown."

On a regional basis the ONS figures stated that previous hotspots such as the North West had seen a drop in case numbers.

The ONS said: "Over the last week, infection rates have continued to increase in London, the East of England and the South East, however rates now appear to be decreasing in the North West and the East Midlands.

"The highest Covid-19 infection rates remain in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber."

Speaking at a press conference this evening, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said recent data showed that there was hope that the "second peak was flattening".

He highlighted that while there were 511 coronavirus deaths yesterday cases had dropped.

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