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COVID-19 A week of change

by Ben GreenMarch 26, 2020

The past week has seen a big change in government approach to COVID-19 across the world. Below we've compiled some interesting information. 

The HSJ has published sobering data on deaths. Somewhat clearly, it shows that deaths are higher per critical care bed (pre-Covid count) the further you are from central London - the more giant red bubbles in the chart below.

The larger red bubbles tend to sit on the outside of the youthful green fields of London. These organisations have been vulnerable due to their relative closeness to the spike of Covid-19 infections in London, their age demographic and their not having as many critical care beds per head of population as some of the central London hospitals. 

What is happening around London should be a warning signal to other hospitals and health systems to get ready now. 

While many of these are still at an early stage with a handful of confirmed patients - they are at the trough of a massive and steep wave. This wave is rapidly approaching and with older populations. The chart below is on the same colour scale as the one above - notice the lack of green.

Lockdown + 1 Day

Tuesday 24th March - was the first day following significant measures introduced by the Government to slow the spread of the Covid-19 disease - currently tracking above the 20%, we have modelled. These measures, if followed, should result in growth slowing, but we will not see this for another week or two.  London is the furthest ahead in terms of infections - this can be seen in the chart below (larger version available here) - but will soon have an additional 4,000 Covid-19 beds at the Excel centre. These will help to close the gap we estimated, although it will depend on how they are used - large flows going through a relatively small stock of beds can quickly cause havoc.

Although infections outside of London are lower, the growth rate is spiking in areas like Middlesborough - the home of South Tees Hospitals NHS FT and where we developed Space Finder a few years ago.  How well the health services in these areas will be able to manage these demand pressures in coming weeks is something we are currently analysing - building on the work in our regional tracker. Options like the use of Excel will need to be considered, but so does the possibility of making use of regional variations - e.g. will London have spare capacity after its peak that can be accessed by the South East? 

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