Coronavirus (COVID-19): state of the epidemic - 18 February 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.

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 9 February) indicate an average of 4.4 contacts.

Mean contacts have decreased within the work setting by 37%, while contacts within the settings (contacts outside home, school and work) have increased by 40%. Contacts within the home have remained at a similar level over the same period.

Individuals under 50 years of age have reported a decrease in contacts in the last two weeks whereas those aged 50 years and over have reported an increase. Increases were largely driven by contacts within the work setting for those in the 50 to 59 age group, with individuals aged 60 and over reporting a rise in contacts within other settings.

Modelling the Epidemic

The latest Modelling the Epidemic report includes projections over the next few weeks for combined Delta and Omicron infections. These projections include the effect of the interventions announced on 14 and 21 December 2021; those announced as being lifted from 17, 24 and 31 January 2022; and booster take up. 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 between 400 and 35,000 in mid-March[59]. However, the future trajectory of infections is uncertain.

Figure 12 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[60].

Figure 12: Medium term projections of modelled hospital bed demand, from Scottish Government modelling, based on positive test data reported up to 14 February 2022 [61] [62].

a line chart showing three scenarios (Better, Central, and Worse) for modelled hospital bed demand in Scotland until March. Three lines and corresponding confidence intervals represent the different scenarios, while a black dotted line represent actual hospital bed demand until February. The ‘Central’ and ‘Better’ Scenarios show a decreasing trend, while the ‘Worse’ scenario shows an increasing trend.

Long Covid

Estimates on the proportion of people in the private residential population in Scotland that experience long Covid symptoms are published by the ONS Covid-19 Infection Survey on a monthly basis.

The next scheduled release of long Covid data from the Covid-19 Infection Survey is expected to be summarised in this report on 4 March. For information on the most recent estimates, see the State of the Epidemic report published on 4 February 2022. Weekly modelled estimated for Scotland are also published in the Modelling the Epidemic report, which can be found here.



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