Coronavirus (COVID-19): state of the epidemic - 4 March 2022

This report brings together the different sources of evidence and data about the Covid epidemic to summarise the current situation, why we are at that place, and what is likely to happen next.

This document is part of a collection

Looking ahead

Scottish Contact Survey

Changes in patterns of mixing and adherence to restrictions will impact on future case numbers. The Scottish Contact Survey measures times and settings that people mix where they could potentially spread Covid-19. Average contacts from the most recent Panel A cohort of the Scottish Contact Survey (week ending 23 February) indicate an average of 3.8 contacts. This is a 14% decrease compared to the previous Panel A of the survey (week ending 9 February).

Mean contacts within the other setting (contacts outside home, school and work) have decreased by 34% within the last two weeks. Contacts within the home and work have remained at a similar levels over the same period. Those within the 18-39 age groups have reported the biggest decrease in contacts, by at least 26%. This was largely driven by a reduction in contacts in the other setting for those in the 18-29 age group and in the work setting for those within the 30-39 age group.

Modelling the Epidemic

The latest Modelling the Epidemic report includes projections over the next four weeks for new daily infections in Scotland. The 'Central' scenario assumes that transmissibility remains at current levels. 'Worse' assumes a higher transmissibility for Covid-19, whereas 'Better' assumes a lower transmissibility. With this taken into account, it is estimated that daily infections may be up to 20,000 in late March. However, the future trajectory of infections is uncertain[61].

Figure 14 shows the impact of the daily infection projections on the number of people in hospital. The modelling includes all hospital stays, whereas the actuals only include stays up to 28 days' duration that are linked to Covid-19. There continues to be uncertainty over hospital occupancy in the next four weeks.

Figure 14: Medium term projections of modelled hospital bed demand, from Scottish Government modelling, based on positive test data reported up to 28th February.
a line chart showing three scenarios (Better, Central, and Worse) for modelled hospital bed demand in Scotland until the end of March. Three lines and corresponding confidence intervals represent the different scenarios, while a black dotted line represent actual hospital bed demand until late February. The ‘Central’ and ‘Better’ Scenarios show a decreasing trend, while the ‘Worse’ scenario shows an increasing trend.

Long Covid

According to the Office for National Statistic (ONS), long Covid is defined as symptoms persisting more than four weeks after the first suspected coronavirus (Covid-19) episode that are not explained by something else.

The ONS Covid-19 Infection Survey estimated that 1,528,000 people (95% confidence interval: 1,488,000 to 1,569,000) in the private residential population in the UK (2.36% of the respective population; 95% CI: 2.30% to 2.43%) reported experiencing long Covid over the four-week period ending 31 January 2022[62].

In Scotland, over the same period, an estimated 119,000 people (95% CI: 108,000 to 130,000) in the private residential population (2.26% of the respective population; 95% CI: 2.05% to 2.46%) reported experiencing long Covid of any duration. This compares to 2.40% in England (95% CI: 2.33% to 2.46%), 2.32% in Wales (95% CI: 2.07% to 2.58%) and 1.80% in Northern Ireland (95% CI: 1.52% to 2.08%)[63].

Weekly modelled estimated for Scotland are also usually published in the Modelling the Epidemic report, which can be found here. However, a report on the rate of long Covid-19 has not been included this week. This will resume again once updated estimates of self-reported long Covid-19 prevalence amongst those infected with the less severe Omicron variant become available.



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