How London has kept Covid hospital cases down during second wave

Lower levels of movement, and consequently social mixing, may help explain why hospitals in the capital have so far escaped a major surge of cases in the second wave.

Hospitalisations in London are at less than 150 per 100,000 people, compared to around 400 per 100,000 in the North-West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Other factors may include the relative youth of the capital’s population, a lower incidence of obesity and other co-morbidities and perhaps a higher level of acquired immunity gained when the capital caught the brunt of the spring wave.

“London is a young city,” said Duncan Robinson, a policy and strategy analytics academic at Loughborough University. “Many Londoners may be able to work from home, decreasing mobility and risk. Some Londoners do not have that privilege, being key workers who cannot avoid the use of public transport, increasing their risk.”

Dr Robinson cautioned that while hospitalisations in London were lagging those in the North, intensive care admissions in the city were high.

“We are seeing intensive care admissions in London increasing at a similar rate to the increases in the North-East and the North-West, which is a concern,” he said. “When comparing different areas of the country, we have to be aware of variations in demographics between and within regions. ¬†

“Although London is a young city, it is a diverse city with areas of the highest deprivation nestling in between areas of the lowest deprivation.”

Conversely, the data also shows people in London were more likely to spend time at home than they did prior to the pandemic. For instance, in April they spent around a third more time at home than normal.

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