New interactive map predicts where coronavirus hotspots might flare up in next 3 weeks

THIS new interactive map can predict where coronavirus hotspots could flare up in next three weeks.

The tool, created by experts at Imperial College London, reveals the local authorities in England and Wales where cases are rising.

To visit the map website, click here.

It suggests that Breckland in Norfolk will be among the high risk areas in less than two weeks.

All of the other hotspots are in the north of England, including Bolton in Greater Manchester, Rossendale in Lancashire and Leeds, West Yorkshire.

South Tyneside in Tyne and Wear and Pendle in Lancashire – already flagged as current hotspots – also show a high probability of remaining on the list in the next couple of weeks.

The team define a hotspot as a local authority where there are more than 50 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of the population per week.

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They use data on daily reported cases and weekly reported deaths as well as mathematical modelling, to report the probability that a local authority will become a hotspot in the following week.

The predictions assume no change in current interventions, such as lockdowns and school closures, in a local authority beyond those already taken about a week before the end of observations.

Researchers also note that an increase in cases in a local authority can be due to an increase in testing, which the model does not currently account for.


It also assumes all individuals within each local authority are equally likely to be infected, so demographic factors such as the age structure of the population are not considered.

It also shows estimates for each on whether cases are likely to be increasing and decreasing, as well as the probability of the R rate being greater than 1.

The R value indicates the number of people each infected person will pass the virus onto.

If the number is great than 1 it suggests the outbreak is not under control and cases will continue to increase.

 

 

The tool suggests that there is a 100 per cent probability the R rate is currently above 1 in South Tyneside and the Wirral.

It also shows Oldham as a hotspot, but the recently reported case numbers have declined so the model suggests it's unlikely to still be of concern next week, with the probability of R being over 1 down to 12 per cent.

In comparison, recently reported case numbers for Bolton and Corby have increased, leading the model to show a high probability of these areas remaining hotspots in the next couple of weeks.

The probability of R being over 1 in these local authorities is 98 per cent and 94 per cent respectively.

Professor Axel Gandy, from the Department of Mathematics at Imperial, said: “The model allows us to project where local hotspots of Covid-19 are likely to develop in England and Wales based on the trends that we are seeing in those areas.

"Covid-19 is, unfortunately, very much still with us, but we hope this will be a useful tool for local and national governments trying to bring hotspots under control.”

 

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