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Major infectious diseases – England (and Scotland) update, week 7

I have now been away for almost a week, attending a conference in India – with very different temperatures to my home in Scotland – 33C instead of 6C.

TL&DR: Covid cases, hospitalisations, and deaths are sadly still going up. Flu and RSV cases are stabilising, so we might see some more weeks with substantial numbers. Scarlet fever numbers stay high but stable and get close to pre-pandemic levels.


Starting this time with reported cases, the numbers continue to climb up in all age classes except those under 14 years old. Maybe, just maybe, there is a hint of slowing down (particularly in Scotland), but we will need to wait for another week to see what happens next.

The current wave is driven by the XBB variant, now dominating in the US and building up in other countries, as seen here:


and here

Hospitalisations and deaths are also climbing up (the last few points on the deaths plot will almost certainly be revised up next week).


Influenza cases are slightly up, although I expect this will just be a short-term increase. The 2022/23 season is so similar to the 2019/20 season that I suspect we will see a long “tail” of relatively low-level flu wave.


As for flu, RSV seems to follow the pre-pandemic pattern, slowly declining towards the Spring and Summer lows. The return of high numbers as in Summer 2021 is, in my opinion, highly unlikely.

Scarlet fever

As expected, the number of cases is now stabilising (and maybe even slightly increasing). I originally thought there would be more increase – following the pre-pandemic trends rather than absolute values, but it seems I was wrong.

I now expect the numbers to be stable and similar to the “bumper” 2018 March and April values.


I am not sure what is going on here – the number of reports is very high, almost double the 5 season average and well above 97.5% mark (upper value of the 95% interval).

In the report, this is attributed to increased reporting, and compared to outbreaks over the last decade (but only the last 5 years shown).

I suspect it is indeed partly due to increased reporting, but also means that the norovirus numbers are exceptionally high this year.