Credit Our World In Data
While some parts of the world - including the United States - are currently enjoying a drop in COVID cases, across the UK and most of Europe, COVID rates are headed in the wrong direction (see chart above), with the biggest increases being reported in the Baltic region of Europe (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, etc.).
While vaccination still provides moderate-to-good protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death we are seeing growing evidence that `breakthrough' infections are becoming more common, suggesting that vaccination alone may not be enough to curb COVID transmission this winter.
Even highly vaccinated countries - like the UK and Denmark - are seeing significant increases in COVID transmission, and last week we saw calls by some professional organizations to reinstate some COVID restrictions (see UK: NHS Confederation - Enact ‘Plan B plus’ to avoid ‘stumbling into winter crisis’).
From Denmark's SSI (Statens Serum Institut) we get the following forecast for COVID activity through mid-November, which predicts increasing infections and hospitalizations. One hope, not included in the models, is that the COVID Booster shots - given primarily to those > 60 - will blunt the impact of this expected surge.
Expert group expects increases in both infection and new admissions
The expert group for mathematical modeling has projected the development in covid-19 infection and new admissions until mid-November. In a new note, the group expects significant increases in both the daily infection rates and new admissions. How large they actually become is, in turn, more uncertain.
Last edited October 21, 2021
On September 20, 2021, the expert group for mathematical modeling announced that it would issue notes at shorter intervals that follow the development of the covid-19 epidemic. The first note in the series comes today. Here, two different models have been used to estimate the expected development in the daily infection rates and new admissions in the coming weeks.
Read the new note here.
“The models show how it will go in a scenario where the activity in the community and the vaccination connection both correspond to the level we have now. Based on that, we still expect to see an increase in the daily infection rates and new admissions in the next six weeks. But it is also still uncertain how big the increase will be, ”says doctor Camilla Holten Møller, who heads the expert group for mathematical modeling.
It shows the new note
According to the new note, it is estimated that in mid-November we will see between 600-3,200 daily infections and between 25-110 daily new admissions.
Although the population's behavior may change, and it is unknown what significance the autumn holidays have for the spread of infection, the model group assesses that both infection rates and new admissions are more likely to end up in the lower part of the range.
It is estimated that most infected people will be found in the younger and unvaccinated age groups. However, a significant number of breakthrough infections are also expected among vaccinated 12-59-year-olds. That is, people who are diagnosed with covid-19 infection, even though they are fully vaccinated and the full effect of the vaccines should have entered into force.
If you look at the number of new admissions in the age groups 0-59 years, they consist primarily of people who have not been vaccinated. On the other hand, if you look at people aged 60 and up, the majority of newly admitted people have been vaccinated.
3rd connector can limit increase
However, the effect of the 3rd vaccination is not included in the models. It is therefore expected that the number of admissions among the elderly will be reduced as a result of revaccination.
The expert group expects that in future they will be able to present updated estimates for the development in the daily infection rates and new admissions every two to three weeks.
Read the new note here.
Figure 1. Daily infection rates in two different models for unvaccinated (left column), vaccinated (middle column) and the total number of infected (right column). The development in popIBM is illustrated in the orange curve, while the development in pop9 is illustrated in the green curve. The black curve shows for each week the observed average infection rates per day until 3 October 2021. The purple dots are the observed infection until 11 October on a daily basis. Days with <5 are excluded. Vaccine efficacy against infection ranges between 60-80%, while the reduction in transmission risk ranges between 50-80% for vaccinated.
We also don't know how COVID and Influenza will interact this winter, or what impact (if any) the AY.4.2 variant will have on the future course of this pandemic.
I'm also continuing to wear face masks in public, and recommend it to others, even if they are fully vaccinated. This winter, it can help protect against both COVID and influenza, and potential COVID/Flu coinfections.