Is the UK Experiencing a Second Wave?
Bulletin 63 | Stuart McDonald
With COVID-19 case numbers again rising rapidly in the UK we examine various public data sources and discuss what these suggest about the recent spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Whilst rising case numbers in isolation might initially have been explained-away by more and better targeted testing, it is now clear that there is a genuine rise in infections.
It has been argued that a rise in infections is not necessarily cause for concern if it is contained within the young and healthy segment of the population, and hence does not result in a marked increase in hospitalisations and deaths. We do not share that view given the unknown long-term consequences of infection. In any event, we present evidence that hospital admissions with COVID-19 are rising sharply and we use these to estimate that R was around 1.6 at the end of August. Crucially, there are signs that COVID-19 deaths in hospitals may now also be beginning to rise.