New coronavirus app shows your area’s chance of moving up or down tiers next week

New coronavirus app shows your area’s chance of moving up or down tiers next week

 

A new Covid-19 dashboard shows how widespread the virus is in your area – providing an insight into how likely it is you will see yourself moving up or down tiers next week.

If you are not sick of data by now, then the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app presents its daily data from experts at health science company ZOE and King’s College London, in a handy new dashboard.

It shows the “prevalence rate” – cases per 100,000 of the population – of coronavirus for every area in England as well as the rate among people aged 60 and above.

In a glimmer of hope, it shows only four “subregions” which are in Tier 2 and where the case rate is rising.

This includes the county of Suffolk in the East of England, and in the South East, the combined “subregion” of Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest, Windsor and Maidenhead and West Berkshire has seen cases rise.

Meanwhile, in the South West region, the “subregion| of Wiltshire and Swindon has also seen cases rise.

If these places continue to see cases rise they could enter the dreaded Tier 3 next week when the tiers are set to be reviewed.

The ZOE Covid Symptom Study report is presented to the Government each day.

The latest report shows that the majority of England has seen cases per 100,000 of the population fall or remain the same.

But it is bad news for the Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull “subregion” in the West Midlands region, as they sit in the toughest Tier 3 and are seeing cases rise – meaning they may be stuck there for a while yet.

The ZOE Covid Symptom Study UK Infection Survey figures are based on around one million weekly reporters and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have positive swab tests.

Leading the team is Professor Tim Spector, a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology of King’s College London and Principal Investigator of the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app.

He tweeted on Friday: “We launched today on the ZOE app, a complex dashboard about the stats for English tiers based on the govt criteria on prevalence, trends and NHS capacity.”

Prof Spector said his team would be simplifying the format of the data – but it is currently available to all users who self-report on the app.

The boffin said England’s R rate of transmission is at around 0.8 across England.

But it is above 1 in Wales.

The capital London is now seeing more new cases than in the North, where new infections have remained stable.

The ZOE Covid Symptom Study UK Infection Survey found that there are 20,497 daily new symptomatic cases of the virus in the UK on average over the two weeks up to November 29, excluding care homes.

This compares to 29,311 daily new symptomatic cases a week ago and more than 42,000 six weeks ago, the researchers said.

The survey found that in Scotland, cases have fallen to the same levels of the end of September, but recently plateaued and there are still around 40,000 infectious individuals.

It found that in Wales, cases have fallen to around the same level as the end of the September but have started to rise again.

Prof Spector said it was “encouraging” to see the falling rates, but warned against complacency.

“It’s encouraging to see rates are still falling across most of the UK, and we’re now below 21,000 cases, less than half the peak of the second wave we saw in October.

“However, while we are also seeing steady falls in admissions now, it’s important that we aren’t complacent.

“Even though the UK will start the vaccine rollout next week, many of us won’t be getting one for a few months, so keeping the numbers low and under control is really important for the NHS.

“I’m confident that Zoe’s app data really is the most up-to-date picture we have,” he said.

The latest survey figures were based on data from 11,124 swab tests done between November 15 to 29.

Boris Johnson’s toughened 3 Tiers lockdown system will be reviewed every two weeks.

As it was implemented on December 2, this means Wednesday next week will be the date of the first review.

Decisions will be made based on the latest case rate data, how much capacity the NHS has and what advice and recommendations are made by local directors of public health.

Any changes will come into effect on December 19, after a decision is made at a Cabinet committee.

The plan is to have the tiers system brought back before Parliamen on January 27, by which time it will have been reviewed four times.

It comes as Downing Street today confirmed more details of who will be first in line to get the vaccine when the first doses are delivered tomorrow.

Alongside the those already revealed to be in line for doses, No 10 has confirmed that people being discharged from hospital after treatment will also be eligible for the vaccine – so long as they meet one of the other criteria.

The first priority groups for hospitals will be people over 80, those who work in care homes or on the front lines of the NHS.

Care home residents are also in the first batch of the priority list but roll-out to them has been delayed because the approval to break up doses of the vaccine for delivery to individual homes was not confirmed until today.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The NHS set out over the weekend that we have 800,000 doses available.

“The first of the vaccine will go to people over 80 alongside care home workers and frontline NHS workers.

“They have also set out that a small number of NHS primary care networks will begin delivering the vaccine from next week, the week beginning the 14th.”

They also confirmed that hospitals will be “inviting people who already have out patients appointments if they meet the criteria – as will people who are leaving the hospital after treatment”.

“The others will join throughout December and the coming months,” they added.

Asked about when care homes will begin to recieve doses, they added: “The process of delivering care home will begin shortly…I don’t have a date.

“Care homes are rightly at the top of the list so they will be prioritised.”

Downing Street dismissed the prospect of NHS vaccination cards becoming a form of “immunity passport” to allow people who have received the jab to enjoy extra freedoms.

“We have been clear that there are no plans to introduce immunity passports,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said.

“The cards … are NHS reminder cards that prompt people to get the second dose that they need.

“That’s a well-established practice in the NHS to offer people cards to remind them of their next appointment.”

The Government said it expects “the majority” of vulnerable people will be vaccinated in January and February.

Downing Street would not confirm whether they were expecting four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to arrive by the end of the year.

“We obviously have 40 million doses on order but the scale of the delivery depends on the manufacturing process as we move forward through December,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said.

Around 25 million people are covered by the 10 priority categories set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

The first vaccinations will go to care home staff and residents, NHS frontline workers and people aged 80 and over – around six million people.

Asked how many people will be vaccinated by the end of February, the spokesperson said: “The majority of the vaccination of the vulnerable will be in January or February.”

But the spokesperson stressed that two further vaccines were still being assessed by regulators, which could boost the number of doses available.

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