COVID, flu, RSV – week 46 update

As the UKHSA data are out today, here is a quick update.

TL&DR: The main respiratory diseases (Covid, flu, RSV) are a bit quiet at the moment. It might be that this trend will continue, but more likely, they will pick up again as more wintery weather arrives.

Covid-19

The numbers are still going down, although the decline is slowing down.

A more detailed analysis shows that in some age categories (children and 75+), we are already getting increases. It remains to be seen whether it is a harbinger of a larger winter wave or a wiggle.

Seasonal influenza

Not much change, really – the numbers are still high compared to pre-pandemic years for this time of the season. But, the number of cases and positivity seem to slow down a bit.

RSV

Hospitalisation continues its downward trend – is it just a blip, or will it keep going down? The 0-4 year olds positivity – which I added to both plots – is still very high; the worrying trend is a rapid increase in the 5-14 positivity (not shown here).

COVID version 2 – day 12

Finally, my second COVID infection is over. I was already feeling better over the weekend and tested negative this morning.

I am now in the category of those with the re-infections. There are quite a few of us in this group, given how many infections are estimated by ONS to have happened over the last three years:

On a slightly more worrying side, there is growing evidence that reinfections are adding up to the long-term damage from COVID:

So, I hope to keep my COVID tally to two and avoid further reinfections…

… like a plague.

COVID, flu, RSV – week 45 update

My recent The Conversation article on COVID, flu, RSV – how this triple threat of respiratory viruses could collide this winter was based on the UKHSA data from week 44 (covering weeks 1-43 of the year 2022).

The data were updated yesterday, so I can look at how the picture has changed since last week.

TL&DR: COVID-19 cases are down, flu is up, RSV cases are up, and common colds follow the same pattern as in pre-pandemic times.

COVID-19

Covid cases continued to drop, as does positivity. The positivity reading from last week was corrected upwards (from ~9% to ~11%), so I expect the most recent reading of ~7% to go up as well. However, the trend down is very clear.

However, COVID pandemic is not yet over and there is still a large uncertainty over where we are going next. The following figure did not make to The Conversation, but it compares the IHME predictions and actual death data for England. Note massive confidence intervals!

Seasonal influenza

This winter’s outbreak is early and large. Difficult to predict, as there is quite lot of variability across years. Note that last week’s reading was updated from ~250 to over 300 positive samples, so I expect this week’s reading of ~170 to be corrected upwards.

RSV

Not a lot of change since last week. A little dip in numbers in weeks 42-44 is related to the school break in many areas of England – can be seen in 2018 and 2019 records as well. Expect numbers to continue going up; it is hospitalisation that we need to watch.

Coronaviruses

I could not find UKHSA published numbers for non-COVID coronaviruses. Canada publishes similar data, so here is a graph a couple of weeks back:

I expect “business back to normal” on this after a very low 2020-21 and high (and unusual) 2021-22 seasons, peaking in February-March.

Rhinoviruses

UKHSA does not publish data for Rhinoviruses (or at least I could not find them) so this graph is a digitised version of one from their report. Not a huge change since last time and as with RSV and Coronaviruses, we seem to be back to “normal” – which does not mean it is good!