web analytics

Major infectious diseases – England (and Scotland) update, week 11

TL&DR: In the first week of Spring, England’s Covid continues to cause problems with high hospitalisation numbers, although the cases and positivity are going down. Cases in Scotland continue to go up. Other diseases (flu, RSV, Scarlet fever) are following the “normal” pre-pandemic course, although RSV is still relatively high.

And, no, Covid is not flu.

It is correct that at one point in November 2022 more people were admitted to hospital for flu than for Covid. But, as the graph above shows, Covid epidemic is as having the worst month of flu but five times in a year.

Covid and flu might now have similar Infection Fatality Ratios or Case Fatality Ratios, but there are so many more Covid cases that they dwarf the risk of flu complications.

Little is known about long-term effects of viral infections such as the flu, but there is no doubt that there are much more frequent and severe long-term effects of Covid.


The cases are more or less stable, positivity is going down, but hospitalisation is going up. The “new” wave, which does not look like any previous wave, is continuing to spread.

Looking in more detail at the recent case data, there is a clear pattern of increase in both England and Scotland across all age groups.

Finally, looking at deaths shows that this wave has a different pattern to the previous five waves – shallower but perhaps longer.

Influenza and RSV

Influenza and RSV cases continue on their way down, and I suspect will disappear when Spring weather gets warmer and people move outside.

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever continues at about the same level as in previous weeks, again in agreement with the pre-pandemic years. Based on the analogy with previous years, expect a continuation at a similar level until the schools disband for summer.