Online tool: Find out how your London area might fare in a second wave of coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 July 2020
Experts at Oxford University have created an online tool to pinpoint the local areas most at risk from a second wave of coronavirus, including in north London.
A map, devised by Oxford University’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, uses data of known Covid-19 vulnerabilities to predict which areas need the most resources.
This includes age, population density, ethnicity and hospital resources, and analyses the figures on a granular enough level to differentiate between council ward areas.
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Professor Melinda Mills, director at the Leverhulme Centre, said: “With additional outbreaks and second waves, thinking not only regionally, but at much smaller scale at the neighbourhood level will be the most effective approach to stifle and contain outbreaks, particularly when a lack of track and trace is in place.”
It does not predict or measure the number of cases, only locations which may fare worse in an outbreak - defined as a 10 per cent infection rate throughout the population.
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Hampstead and Highgate residents have been deemed to be generally more at risk of hospitalisation in comparison with Islington, Hackney or Brent.
The study’s lead author, Mark Verhagen, said: “London was hardest hit initially because of the sheer number of infections there, and since London has a relatively young population, the health care demand will in fact have been relatively low.
“To illustrate, if just as large a proportion of the population in the South West would have been infected as in London, the relative number of hospitalisations would have been much higher.”
The tool showed Harrow as a local area with an exceptionally high age-related risk of hospitalisations due to the virus, and in practice, Northwick Park Hospital was the first to call for a national emergency due to a lack of capacity.
Nationally, average is around seven people per 1,000 would need care if there was an infection spike.
Peripheral London boroughs may be most at risk due to older populations and higher levels of social deprivation.
Infection rates are assumed as constant across age groups. Hospital capacity is calculated relative to the number of hospital beds which were available in December 2019.
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