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!