These are the UK coronavirus stories you need to know about today.
Risk Tool Predicts Hospitalisation and Death
UK researchers have developed a COVID-19 risk tool called QCOVID to help assess which patients are at the highest risk of hospital admission or death.
It was developed using data from more than 8 million English GP records of patients aged 19-100 and linked to COVID-19 test results, hospital, and death registry data.
Known risk factors, such as age, ethnicity, and comorbidities are taken into account.
The tool predicted 73% and 74% of the variation in time to death from COVID-19 in men and women, respectively. The results are published in The BMJ.
Lead researcher Julia Hippisley-Cox, a GP and professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice at the University of Oxford, said in a statement: “Risk assessments to date have been based on the best evidence and clinical expertise, but have focused largely on single factors. The QCOVID risk model provides a much more nuanced assessment of risk by taking into account a number of different factors that are cumulatively used to estimate risk.
“This model will help inform clinical advice so that people can take proportionate precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19.”
The tool will be updated as new data emerge. Commenting via the Science Media Centre, Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, said: “This paper is an important landmark in our understanding of COVID-19 risk and paves the way for more emphasis on targeted, risk-based responses to managing the public health threat over the coming months and years.”
Latest Local Lockdown
South Yorkshire is the latest region to move to the very high Tier 3 lockdown measures from Saturday.
The latest 7-day case rates per 100,000 for the area were:
Scotland won’t be easing its latest restrictions which were due to end on Monday. They’ll be extended ahead of the introduction of a new tiered system.
Lung Cancer Referrals
The number of people urgently referred to a lung cancer specialist dropped by 75% during the first wave of COVID-19, according to a report from the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC).
At least a third of lung cancer patients have already died since the beginning of the pandemic, and some deaths may have been labelled as COVID-19, the report said.
UKLCC Chair, Professor Mick Peake said in a statement: “Fear of engaging with health services, halting the national programme of lung cancer screening pilots, and restricted access to diagnostic tests have all contributed to a drop in urgent 2-week wait GP referrals in England.”
He added: “Government guidance to stay at home with a cough, a key symptom of lung cancer, has also caused further confusion.”
In today’s daily data another 26,688 UK positive tests were reported and 191 deaths.
There are 6479 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 629 ventilator beds are in use.
Nowcast and Forecast
The MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, has