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Coronavirus (COVID-19): state of the epidemic - 14 April 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.

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Looking ahead

Scottish Contact Survey

Changes in patterns of mixing will impact on future case numbers. The Scottish Contact Survey measures the times and settings in which 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 6 April) indicate an average of 4.9 contacts.

Mean contacts within the work setting have increased in the last two weeks by 55%. Contacts within the home setting and other setting (contacts outside home, school and work) have remained at a similar level. Individuals within the 30-69 age groups have reported an increase in contacts within the last two weeks, by at least 13%. Those within the youngest (18-29) and oldest (70+) age groups have decreased their contacts in the last two weeks, with those aged 18-29 decreasing the most, by 22%.

Modelling the Epidemic

The latest Modelling the Epidemic report includes infection and hospital bed projections over the next four weeks. These projections include the

effect of the changes to interventions announced on 15 March and vaccine uptake, but do not include the announcement on 13 April on the end of the legal requirement for wearing face masks. 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 90,000 in early May[79].

Figure 15 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 and intensive care in the next four weeks[80].

Figure 15: Medium term projections of modelled hospital bed demand, from Scottish Government modelling, based on wastewater derived data up to 29 March 2022.

a line chart showing the medium term projections of modelled hospital bed demand, from Scottish Government modelling, based on wastewater derived data up to 29 March 2022. Actual hospital occupancy is plotted in dotted line until 13 April, after which there are three projected scenarios: ‘Better’, ‘Central’, and ‘Worse’. ‘Better’ and ‘Central’ scenarios project a decreasing trend, whereas ‘Worse’ appears to be comparable to recent hospitalisation levels.

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 1,724,000 people (95% confidence interval: 1,681,000 to 1,767,000) in the private residential population in the UK (2.67% of the respective population; 95% CI: 2.60% to 2.73%) reported experiencing long Covid over the four-week period ending 5 March 2022.

In Scotland, over the same period, an estimated 132,000 people (95% CI: 120,000 to 144,000) in the private residential population (2.51% of the respective population; 95% CI: 2.29% to 2.73%) reported experiencing long Covid of any duration. This compares to 2.70% in England (95% CI: 2.62% to 2.77%), 2.73% in Wales (95% CI: 2.44% to 3.02%) and 2.14% in Northern Ireland (95% CI: 1.81% to 2.46%)[81].

Fortnightly modelled estimates 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.

Contact

Email: sgcentralanalysisdivision@gov.scot

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