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THREAD state of Covid in the UK: TLDR prevalence falling (but flattening?), hospitalisations flat, flu rising, if Covid starts rising again in Dec, v grim for NHS alonside flu (and RSV). 1/9

The proportion of people testing positive fell in all nations except NI. We are close to the lowest level in over a year - which is good news, except will it last...? 2/9
Hospital admissions with Covid have now been flat for a week with rates (possibly?) increasing in the very oldest groups and in Midlands, SE and London. This suggests that we've reached the bottom of the dip and might start to go up again over the next month. 3/9
BQ.1 & BQ.1.1 are now dominant & might contribute to ⬆️cases. Plus, XBB (which caused recent wave in Singapore) is increasing and - even faster - is new BA.2 grandchild CH.1 - which has independently converged on many of the mutations in BQ.1. Only 3% of cases but will πŸ‘€ 4/9
Quick aside on kids - this autumn has NOT seen a new surge in school aged children which is good & is reflected in lower absence rates than last summer and winter - but still higher than 2018/19. Hospital admissions reflect the same after 3 very high peaks earlier this yr. 5/9
In terms of Covid mitigations, it is still basically just vaccination of over 50s. All nations making progress with Scotland out in front. Disappointing uptake so far in the 50 somethings with only about half having received their booster. Kids remain under vaxxed. 6/9
In terms of other public measures., there really aren't any with e.g. mask wearing continuing to decline. Only 8% of people report wearing a mask on public transport for instance. (5% younger adults, 13% older adults) 7/9
So we enter Dec with relatively low cases & admissions (but not *that* low), with chance that they might start rising again. Adding to an NHS that is already in crisis are rising admissions with Flu - already higher than pre 2020. And kids services struggling too. 8/9
What can we do? Get your Covid & flu jabs if eligible, *please* consider wearing a mask in shops & public transport (where many have no choice but to be), remember that stale indoor air is not your friend (for *any* resp virus) and lobby your MP for support for NHS & Nurses! 9/9
PS thank you to Bob Hawkins as ever for his help with the charts!
Prof. Christina Pagel πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦
Prof of Operational Research @UCL_CORU, passionate about health care, women in STEMs. Member of @independentsage. Tweets personal.
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