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Coronvirus Hospital Admissions Analysis figures to end of 2020

The figures have just been released for English hospital admissions to the end of 2020. Although the figures have gone down two days in sequence we cannot at this stage say whether or not they have peaked. The government are releasing figures for each hospital trust. From those it would be possible to see whether individual trusts are peaking or not. However, those figures are only released once a week and without that we cannot see what is happening.

What has been happening is that there was a first wave. We then moved to a seasonal wave this is probably linked to an increase in relative humidity which makes the virus more infectious. That both increases the herd immunity threshold and also makes the virus more dangerous to those people infected.

If one considers most of the European Countries you can see that those with the smaller first wave had a bigger and more serious second wave. Those, however, with more of a first wave had a lesser second wave. There are other issues that affect how susceptible a population is such as prior infections by other coronaviruses. However, the main issue here is that those people infected in the first wave caught a less nasty infection on average and were then protected from the second wave. That is where the relative performance of Sweden as a country for example, has improved simply because so many people were infected previously.

This can be seen by comparing NHS trusts where you can see that places like those covered by Guys and Kings trusts had so much infection in the first wave that they didn't have a material second wave. You can, however, see some hospital admissions more recently for those places because patients are being transferred from overloaded hospitals.

What has been happening with the second seasonal wave is that it started in the North. I think that is because the North is colder than the south and then it built up in the south. That is obvious when you look at individual trust admission records.

Another issue is that the hospital admissions at times appear to lead the government's cases statistic. That is because the government's cases statistic is not very good for timing (because of flaws in the design) as you cannot easily predict when people got infected. With hospital admissions you can argue that infections were a fortnight before the date of the admission. In fact if you look at the chart of "cases" and "hospital admissions" you will see that they are quite similar in terms of peaks and troughs. They should not be because cases should lead hospital admissions, but they don't because the "cases" metric is pretty useless really (not accurate for locations, not statistically valid and the timing is rubbish).

These, however, are the figures
AreaMost recent figure
31st December 2020
Peak in
Seasonal wave
Peak in Seasonal wave as
a percentage of the first wave peak
England 2536288693%
East 340393170%
London 70873984%
Midlands 43556272%
NE 30046492%
NW 20934971%
SE 404552156%
SW 140220145%


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