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Major infectious diseases – England (and Scotland) update, week 8

Another week passed. I am just back from India, where life seems to have returned to pre-pandemic “normal”. People I spoke to were convinced that the pandemic is over; India has only reported a few cases over the last weeks. Whether this is correct or a result of under-reporting is difficult to say.

Back in this part of the world, Covid appears to be slowing down, influenza is continuing at low levels, RSV continues to decline, and Scarlet fever cases dropped to levels comparable with previous years.

And I admit to having been wrong in my predictions for the current Covid wave.


Sometimes it feels good to have been wrong. As repeatedly said on this blog, I fully expected this wave to be similar to all previous ones. But it just looks like I was way too pessimistic, and we might actually see a much smaller one.

We are probably not out of the woods yet, but there is a glimmer of hope. Looking in more detail at the English age-structured data, all most affected age classes – 45 years old or older – appear to have reached a plateau. There is some increase for 20-44-year-olds but a decline for younger classes.

Scotland is a bit more complicated and variable – the numbers are overall going up, driven primarily by 20-44 and 75-84-year-olds.

As said above, I am very happy to admit to being wrong about this outbreak. Things might, of course, get wrong again, but it looks like the worst is behind us. Even knowing that the last few points on the graph below are likely to go up when records are updated, we are not following the pattern of the previous 5 outbreaks.


Following a very abrupt drop at the beginning of the year, the numbers are now more stable. The profile looks a bit different to previous years – more cases early in the season followed by this rapid decline. But, I have not seen a good explanation for it, and it probably does not really matter.


RSV continues its trend downwards, very much like the pre-pandemic trend (at least for the years for which UKHSA gives data). I will keep monitoring it, but I probably will drop it from my future analysis.

Scarlet fever

The good news here as well, as the records show a substantial drop in the number of cases. Interestingly, this is a pattern seen in previous pre-pandemic years (mid-term break?), but not as deep. I still expect the numbers to stay high for some more weeks, but happy to be proven wrong.