Positive tests, admissions and deaths graphs from Christopher Bowyer (28 October)

Hector Drummond Magazine reader and contributor Christopher Bowyer has done some more Covid-19 test result graphs based on the data at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/. (All graphs can be clicked to enlarge.)

Be aware that the positive test data comes from PHE/NHS Track and Trace, and the reliability of that data is questionable, to say the least. So take it with a grain of salt.


First up, a graph looks at SARS-CoV-2 positive tests (blue), Covid hospital admissions (green), and Covid deaths (red) for England.



Hospital admissions per 1000 positive tests, England. 86% lower than the peak in June.



Patients with Covid in hospital and in ventilated beds in England.



Covid hospital admissions, Covid hospital discharges (recoveries), and Covid hospital deaths. Hospital admissions have increased since September, but so have discharges. Deaths still pretty low. Remember that at this time of year it is completely normal for hospitals to start filling up with elderly patients who have respiratory viruses, some of them die. It’s also totally normal for hospitals to be overwhelmed by December, and it’s likely to happen again this year regardless of what happens with Covid.


Some people are making a fuss about hospital admissions now getting up towards half the spring peak, but you can see from this graph that the hospital case fatality rate is completely different than in spring. Back then the peak (in early April) was around 2750 hospital admissions a day and around 760 deaths, which meant just over a quarter of the patients were dying, whereas now we have (27 Oct) 1190 admissions and 147 deaths, which is 12%.

You can also see that the rate of growth of admissions and deaths is much lower now than in Spring, despite there being less lockdown restrictions now.

Also bear in mind that the dubiousness of the test data means that it is very likely that a fair proportion of the people in hospital ‘with Covid’ don’t really have it (more so than in spring due to the recent degradation of the testing system). This also means that some of the Covid deaths will not really be Covid deaths; in addition, we still have (as we had in the spring) doctors who are determined to put down Covid on the death certificate as a contributory cause even if there was little evidence that the deceased had it.

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3 thoughts on “Positive tests, admissions and deaths graphs from Christopher Bowyer (28 October)

  1. Random thought — What is happening to Total hospital admissions?

    NHS is a bureaucracy, and bureaucracies can respond to incentives in strange ways. Remember the old story about Soviet cars being heavy because the Central Government tracked the total weight of metal consumed by the factory rather than the number of vehicles produced.

    Is it possible that doctors are realizing that the best way to get their cardiac, pulmonary, diabetic patient into hospital for treatment is to label that patient as being “with” the dreaded Covid? If so, the percentage of admissions “with” Covid would be increasing. There are other factors, but it possibly could be formulated into a testable hypothesis.

  2. “Is it possible that doctors are realizing that the best way to get their cardiac, pulmonary, diabetic patient into hospital for treatment is to label that patient as being “with” the dreaded Covid? ”

    IME unlikely. I work for a Scottish GP out if hours service and see GPs arranging emergency patients admissions everyday. There is no shortage of beds and Covid/non Covid is just a matter of choosing which pathway is used.

    Any effect on admissions by Covid is down to patients themselves frequently refusing to be admitted to hospital because of fear of Covid. To the extent that in one case a seriously, possibly terminally ill patient declined to go into hospital despite him almost certainly already having Covid. He had symptoms and another household member had tested positive. Upshot was home test arranged and he agreed to go to hospital after a positive test.

    Of course this is only one healthboard arwa albeit covering a major city and large towns.

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