NEW: England has recorded 18 successive days of week-on-week declines in cases, its longest sequence of declines since February, suggesting its autumn/winter wave may have peaked…
Crucially, hospital admissions, patient numbers and deaths are now also trending downwards, as the fall in case numbers has shifted from being youth-driven into all age groups.

These acute indicators look to be topping out at 10-20% of last winter’s peak levels.
A key factor here has been England’s booster rollout.

Antibody levels in the oldest groups (vaccinated the earliest) had been slowly eroding as the months passed, but in the last 5 weeks they have shot back up as third doses have gone into arms 💉💉💉💪💪💪
The result is that rates in England are now falling fastest for the elderly. This is true both for cases...
...and for hospital admissions.

Of course, this data is noisy and there are many factors that could explain why rates may fall faster or slower among one group than another, but the combination of third doses, antibodies, cases and admissions paint a persuasive picture.
So the situation in England looks promising. What of the rest of Europe?

No country is avoiding the winter wave, with cases climbing right across western Europe, and acute metrics following suit. Several now exceed UK’s peak cases & ICU patients, and may soon exceed on deaths.
The picture is worse in central Europe, where ICU occupancy and death rates now exceed UK levels in almost all countries, and are still rising fast.
Looking further east, many countries’ waves began earlier and now look to be subsiding, but they’re subsiding from staggeringly high levels, with several nations setting new records for deaths almost two years into the pandemic.
Another way of looking at this is to measure each metric for each country relative to its peak level before this winter.

When we do this, the impact of vaccines is very clear, and shows up in two ways:
First, the simple height of the current wave.

In countries with high vaccine coverage, cases remain well below past peaks.

Where vax rates are low, peaks have been exceeded, in some cases shattered...
...and second, the ratio of the acute metrics to cases.

In well-vaxxed Netherlands and UK, cases have climbed close to past peaks, but hospitalisations & deaths remain at lower levels

But in countries where many are yet to get their 2nd dose, deaths rise in lockstep with cases.
Among richer western European countries, there is growing concern over the situation in German-speaking countries, where numbers of people yet to receive a single dose are much higher than elsewhere.

High levels of vaccine scepticism are thought to be key…
I’ll end this roundup with a note of caution for England/UK.

I know I started this thread with good news — and the news is good! — but we need to consider the context in which these numbers are unfolding.
NHS waiting lists soared during the pandemic with 1.5m more people now waiting for treatment, and as hospitals try to work through the backlog, there’s incredibly little headroom in the system.

Any uptick in Covid patients pushes non-Covid patients out…
If we look at critical-care beds only, you can see how the dynamics play out.

Hospitals can repurpose general beds for ICU, but not without cost. Capacity for non-Covid critical-care patients was halved last winter due to the Covid wave.
To be clear, there is absolutely no sign that we will see Covid admissions get anywhere near last winter’s levels. But more people in hospital seriously ill with Covid means fewer other people being treated for serious, life-affecting illness and injury.
To conclude:
• Promising signs English/UK wave is receding, aided by boosters
• Rest of Europe’s winter wave in full swing, with particular concern for poorly-vaxxed countries + Germany, Austria, Switz.
• When NHS says current situation is very tough, they’re not making it up
As usual, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, feedback, criticism.

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More from @jburnmurdoch

5 Nov
NEW: Covid cases, hospitalisations & deaths on the rise again across Europe, with rates of all three metrics surpassing the UK in many countries

Starting in the west: Belgium, Netherlands & Germany in particular experiencing sharp increases in not only cases but ICU & deaths too
And the picture worsens as we move further east.

In central Europe, cases were a fraction of UK levels over summer, but have now rocketed past, with ICU occupancy and deaths also climbing fast.

Vaccine coverage is generally lower here than in western Europe.
In eastern Europe, the situation is dire.

Romania, Bulgaria & Latvia all set new records for daily deaths in recent weeks, and deaths are 10x current UK levels.

In much of western Europe it can feel like the pandemic is an echo of its past self. Try telling that to the east
Read 8 tweets
3 Nov
🚨all of is free to read today, so if you like the glimpses you see on Twitter but want to go deeper, now's your chance!

Beyond Covid, read our best work on climate, politics, inequality & culture. Apparently there's even stuff on economics & finance! 🚨
Throughout the day I'll be sharing links to some of the pieces I've enjoyed most this year, starting with this brilliantly clear column by @TimHarford demonstrating how a carbon tax would be a game-changer in the battle to curb emissions
Another great piece to read 🔓#FTfreetoday:

Off the back of Squid Game and Parasite, @crsdavies took a deep dive into the huge success story that is South Korea’s entertainment export industry, and the decades of strategising that led to this point…
Read 5 tweets
2 Nov
NEW: as of the end of September, Russia has recorded 753,583 excess deaths over the course of the pandemic.

This is almost 4x its official reported Covid death toll, and is second only to the US in absolute terms among countries with reliable data…
• Russia’s vax rates remain stubbornly low, only 33% fully-vaxxed amid widespread mistrust
• Society largely carrying on as normal despite 2k daily excess & 1k daily reported deaths

Full details in the story from @polinaivanovva, me & @mroliverbarnes…
We’ve also updated our excess deaths data for all countries:…
Read 6 tweets
1 Nov
One of the most startling Covid charts I’ve made in a long time, on vaccine inequality:

Rich countries have given out more booster shots in the last 3 months, than poor countries have given out total doses all year.

@donatopmancini’s story:…
In rich countries, just 18% of people aged 12+ are yet to have any dose, and 5% have now had a third dose.

In poor countries, 94% are yet to have a single dose.
The result?

Stark inequality in outcomes.

In countries with ~70% fully vaccinated, about one in 250 cases results in death.

At 50-60% fully vaxxed, around one-in-75 results in death.

At 10-15% fully vaxxed, it’s one-in-25.

And in parts of Africa, as high as one-in-15.
Read 5 tweets
17 Oct
NEW: there’s been a lot of chatter about why cases, hospitalisations and deaths are much higher in the UK than elsewhere in Western Europe.

I think a lot of the commentary has been overly simplistic, politicised and at-times flat-out wrong.

Let’s see if we can do better:
Yesterday we published a story comparing the situation in the UK vs a selection of Western Europe peers:…

Here are the top-line stats:
• Cases among older people are 7x higher in UK
• Hospital admissions are 6x higher
• Deaths are 3x higher

Not great! Image
Why so much higher in UK?

Here’s a look at what those countries are doing differently to reduce transmission:
• % of people never wearing masks has rocketed in UK but stayed very low elsewhere
• % of people attending large gatherings in UK is surging way ahead of elsewhere Image
Read 25 tweets
14 Oct
Folks, if you see anyone quoting Alex Berenson / Joe Rogan on how case rates in England are higher among vaxxed than unvaxxed, that data is incorrect, as explained here.

The table they shared is real, but it's wrong.
Also, FFS this is why UKHSA's persistence in publishing knowingly misleading data is such an utter disaster.

You now have several million people confident in their belief that vaccines don't work, and waving around the official UK documents that prove it.
And for those asking "at least they didn’t use the specific @UKHSA report, right? ...right?"

They did
Read 5 tweets

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