Today saw more worrying data about the spread of the Corona virus in England.
Cases and deaths remained at the high levels seen last week, and so did hospitals.
Across the country, the spread is showing few signs of slowing down.
As before, the highest numbers were in the northwest, but the highest growth rates were elsewhere.
A useful indication of the state of an outbreak is the number of beds occupied by ill patients Covid-19.
In eastern England, this number jumped from 295 to 454, an increase of 55%.
In the southeast, it increased from 325 to 528, an increase of 62%.
Large percentage increases don’t mean that much when the absolute numbers are low – after all, if you go from 10 to 20 cases, you get a 100% increase.
But this indicates that the virus is now spreading across the country, even in areas where it was previously low.
Things aren’t as bad as they were in March – thanks to constant social distancing, the doubling rate appears to be around two weeks.
Back in March, the number was between 3 and 3.5, which means cases were doubling roughly four times every week.
Even if you take an estimate Imperial reaction studyIndicating a doubling rate of nine days, I’m still far from the horrifically steep growth of the peak of the epidemic.
However, turning off the spread will not be easy.
So what about the actions the government took?
Test and Trace in England is clearly struggling.
For the third week in a row, official figures showed it reached nearly 60% of contacts in England, far less than it would need if it were to effectively restrict the virus.
It is calculated that Test and Trace reaches more people each week, and the problem is that the number of cases is constantly increasing.
According to the latest data for October 15-21, the service reached 0.6% more people than the previous week.
However, in the same week, cases transferred to the system rose by 25% – the improvement is very slight to stem the flow.
This, of course, is the reason for the stricter restrictions.
It’s now been two and a half weeks since then Boris Johnson Introduced a three-tiered system of coronavirus restrictions in England.
If they had an impact, you’d expect to start seeing it now.
There are still many infections, including among the elderly, and Liverpool City Council warns of “widespread transmission of the virus in the community.”
However, the decline has now been more than two weeks old, and regional estimates for the R number are less than one.
Does this mean that the restrictions are working? The answer is complicated, as cases in Liverpool began to decline before the introduction of Level 3.
But it is possible that the level 3 warning has caused the effect, and it appears likely that the actions precipitated the decline.
Critics will argue that class restrictions are reactive rather than preemptive, so they always come too late.
But these days it is rare for things to point in the right direction, and amid a torrent of dismal data, we have to take every ray of hope we can get.