Second Wave ‘Critical Stage’, Hospital Transmission Report

These are the UK coronavirus stories you need to know about today.

Second Wave ‘Critical Stage’

Imperial’s REACT continuing community COVID-19 swab testing study estimates 96,000 people a day in England are becoming infected. The latest swabs were collected on Sunday and the data are published in a preprint.

  • Infections are doubling every 9 days with infections increasing across all age groups and areas of the country.

  • An estimated 128 people per 10,000 now has the virus compared to 60 in 10,000 as of 5 October.

  • R is estimated to have risen to 1.6.

The authors conclude: “The co-occurrence of high prevalence and rapid growth means that the second wave of the epidemic in England has now reached a critical stage. Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below 1 if further hospital admissions and deaths from COVID-19 are to be avoided.”

Experts have commented via the Science Media Centre.

Professor Igor Rudan, joint director of the Centre for Global Health and WHO Collaborating Centre, University of Edinburgh, said: “This study should be considered very accurate and reliable scientific evidence that shows that a very large second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is underway.  It will inevitably lead to a very large number of infections, severe episodes and deaths in the coming weeks and months.  Efforts will be required to reduce the national reproduction number below 1.0 again.  The measures that were in place over the past 2 months across most of Europe were clearly insufficient to prevent the new large growth of infected cases and fast spread of the virus.” 

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine, UEA, said: “Although we do not know for certain what the prevalence of infection was at the April peak, it is likely that infection rates now are very similar to and maybe even higher than at the peak in April.”

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: “We can expect this situation to continue to deteriorate if authorities remain slow to react.”

Nowcast and Forecast

Also published today is the Cambridge MRC Biostatistics Unit’s weekly Nowcast and Forecast.

It estimates:

  • 55,600 daily infections in England with cases “particularly high” in the North West, and the North East and Yorkshire

  • The number of daily deaths is likely to be between 237 and 422 by 5 November

  • London, followed by the North West, continues to have the highest attack rate

Lead researcher, Professor Daniela De Angelis, commented: “The estimated trends in R values and growth rates show signs that the epidemic is growing at a slower pace in most regions. However, the rising number of infections and the R values remaining above 1 clearly indicate continued transmission, leading to the prediction of a steep rise in the number of COVID-19 deaths.

“Curtailing this transmission will require sustained social distancing interventions.”

PHE Data

Meanwhile Public Health England’s weekly national flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports showed case rates increased in every age

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El Paso imposes curfew as COVID-19 cases overwhelm hospitals: “We are in a crisis stage”

Residents in the Texas border city of El Paso have been urged to stay home for two weeks as a spike in coronavirus cases overwhelms hospitals. The crisis prompted the state to dedicate part of the city’s civic center as a makeshift care center for the ill.

Virus Outbreak Texas
A woman holds up a mask she bought at a store on Friday, May 1, 2020, in El Paso, Texas. 

Cedar Attanasio / AP

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Sunday night issued a stay home order with a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Violators could be fined $500 under the order.

“We are in a crisis stage,” said Samaniego, the county’s top elected official.

Earlier Sunday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 50 hospital beds will be set up in the convention center and another 50 beds could be added if needed.

Abbott ordered the alternate care site to expand hospital capacity in the El Paso area in response to the coronavirus surge, he said. The site, scheduled to open this week, will provide additional medical equipment and medical personnel.

The surge in El Paso cases comes as President Donald Trump downplayed the virus’ effect on Texas, saying during last week’s presidential debate: “There was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone.”

The state has already provided over 900 medical personnel to El Paso, some of whom will be staffing the convention center site.

“The alternate care site and auxiliary medical units will reduce the strain on hospitals in El Paso as we contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region,” Abbott said.

El Paso County health officials reported 772 new coronavirus cases Sunday, a day after a record 1,216 new cases were reported, making up more than 20% of the 3,793 new cases reported statewide. That brought the total cases since the pandemic first hit Texas to 862,375. An estimated 91,885 active cases was the most since Aug. 30, and the 5,206 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported statewide Sunday was the most since Aug. 22.

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‘We Are in a Crisis Stage’


El Paso, Texas is in “crisis” after an overwhelming rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have crippled the city.

The city’s hospitals have run out of intensive care unit beds after COVID-19 hospitalizations rose by 200 percent in less than a month, officials said Sunday, to more than 800.

Residents will now be under a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the hopes of reducing new cases of the virus, and those found violating the curfew could be fined $500, CBS News reported. People can also be fined for not wearing masks or social distancing in public.

“We are in crisis stage,” said El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego as he issued the stay-at-home order.

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The city, which borders New Mexico and Mexico, is also urging residents to stay home for the next two weeks to slow the spread.

El Paso’s Department of Public Health reported that the city hit a record-breaking 1,443 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and hospitalizations increased to 853, another record. The city, which has a population of slightly over 680,000, currently has 12,179 known active cases of COVID-19, another record.

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“If we continue on this trend, we risk detrimental effects to our entire health care system,” Angela Mora, the city’s director of public health, said, according to NBC News. “For the sake of those hospitalized and the front line health care workers working tirelessly each day to care for them, we ask you to please stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with those outside your household until we can flatten the curve.”

RELATED: Illinois Health Official Breaks Down Crying While Giving Update on State’s Rising COVID-19 Deaths

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the city will set up 50 hospital beds at their convention center and can add 50 more if needed. The state also sent 900 medical personnel to El Paso.

New cases of COVID-19 are once again on the rise in Texas, with the state seeing an average of 5,864 new infections each day on average as of Monday. The soaring numbers run counter to President Donald Trump’s claim at Thursday’s presidential debate that “there was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone.”

The U.S. as a whole is now well into a third wave of COVID-19 cases, with a record-breaking 85,085 new infections on Saturday, well above the country’s previous high of 75,687 from July 16. Around 20 states are seeing their highest case totals of the entire pandemic, particularly midwestern states like Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

As of Monday, more than 8,702,600 Americans have tested

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