Covid tracking site re-launch: Officials to update page daily with Covid, cold and flu data
- The UKHSA Covid dashboard has recorded 20.9million positive tests to date
- READ MORE: Fury over ‘chaotic’ start to Covid and flu autumn jab rollouts
Brits will now be able to track Covid, flu and respiratory virus outbreaks via a new online dashboard.
Launching later this month, officials will publish data on a host of viruses alongside existing updates on Covid, liquid measurement for medicines in an effort to increase public health awareness.
It will replace the Government’s current Covid dashboard, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed today.
The original site will be decommissioned in the weeks following the new dashboard’s launch, once it’s fully up and running.
It comes as the Government health body last month confirmed Covid testing and community surveillance would also be ramped up again ahead of winter.
Launching later this month, officials will publish data on a host of viruses alongside existing updates on Covid, in an effort to increase public health awareness. It will replace the Government’s current Covid dashboard (pictured), the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed today
The original site (pictured) will be decommissioned in the weeks following the new dashboard’s launch, once it’s fully up and running
Hospital admissions and numbers of beds occupied by Covid patients had also been rising. Latest NHS data shows daily Covid hospital admissions have risen almost 30 per cent since June, with a seven-day rolling average of 322 as of August 25, compared to 251 on June 7
The current Covid dashboard, hailed as one of the best in the world in the early years of the pandemic, was updated seven days a week throughout the first two years of the Covid crisis.
This allowed the ministers, experts and the public to monitor outbreaks in granular detail across the country.
During its early days, it became the most-viewed Government website ever, with 1million unique users and more than 70million hits per day at its peak.
In February last year however, it was watered down as part of No10’s official ‘living with Covid’ plan.
Since its launch the dashboard has recorded 20.9million positive tests, more than 1million hospitalisations and 194,000 fatalities within 28 days of a positive test since the start of the pandemic.
The website, which used to be updated daily at 4pm, contains outbreak data from both a UK-wide level as well as figures for each England’s nearly 7,000 regions.
Read more: UK Pirola cases jump to 36: Covid variant infects nearly entire care home with health chiefs fearing outbreak is ‘early indicator’ that strain is super transmissible
It also provided an early signal of upcoming waves by detecting surges in cases.
As it stands, the current site shows infection levels based on just 550 Brits testing per week.
Meanwhile, Covid hospital admissions only reflect patients with virus symptoms who are swabbed and test positive.
The new UKHSA virus dashboard will initially show cases of Covid, flu, and a number of respiratory viruses.
This will include human metapneumovirus (hMPV), which can cause complicated lung infections in the young; parainfluenza, rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus and adenovirus.
Covid and flu will both have separate tabs, while a third will cover other respiratory viruses.
This could change however in the event of outbreaks of lesser-known viruses.
In its early days officials will request user feedback to enhance the dashboard’s layout.
Once fully up and running, health chiefs aim to later include other pathogen data aside from respiratory viruses.
Steven Riley, director general of Data Analytics and Surveillance at the UKHSA, said: ‘Harnessing the power of data will help us to continue protecting the health and wellbeing of the people we serve, both in the UK and around the world.
‘The launch of our new dashboard later this month, which will build on the capabilities we developed through the pandemic, will help us to achieve this.’
In a strategy document published this week, the UKHSA also labelled the original Covid dashboard a ‘breakthrough in the democratisation of public data, making information and metrics available to everyone, not just a select few in Whitehall’.
It added: ‘This transformed the debate about the virus and the need for lockdown, allowing for new perspectives and new projects.’
The push for a new dashboard collating all Covid, flu and respiratory data comes ahead of an expected spike in Covid cases as the nation heads into the colder months.
Concerns about a surge in cases, fuelled by the Pirola variant, the health service brought forward the start date for the autumn Covid and flu jab rollouts by an entire month.
Some 34 cases of the Omicron spin-off, scientifically known as BA.2.86, have been confirmed in England.
This UKHSA graphic shows the number of Pirola cases by date the test containing the infected sample was received, cases surged on August 26 shortly after the start of the care home outbreak
But officials warn the true scale of the outbreak is much larger and that it is spreading in the community undetected.
Of the 34 Pirola cases that have been detected to date, 28 came from a single outbreak in a care home in Norfolk, which infected 87 per cent of residents and left one hospitalised.
Health chiefs said this signals a ‘high attack rate’ and could be an early indicator that the strain spreads easily indoors.
UK scientists were first alerted to Pirola on August 14, with concerns immediately triggered due to its large number of mutations.
While only two cases have been confirmed in Scotland, more are suspected as health agencies have detected the variant in wastewater analysis.
No Pirola cases have yet been detected in Wales or Northern Ireland.
In total, five people with confirmed Pirola infections have so far required hospitalisation, though UKHSA analysts last week said no deaths have been recorded.
Experts have also told MailOnline the data suggests that the Omicron sub-variant is more transmissible than its predecessors but that it is no more severe.
However, the true scale of the UK’s outbreak is unclear.
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