Covid-19: Worrying figures on the rise in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions make for bleak reading

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There are a number of reports and statistics published today and they all make pretty bleak reading.

Apart from the obvious grim news that cases of coronavirus are still increasing and hospital admissions are now also rising, four sets of data today suggest we should all be concerned about the next few weeks.

The weekly NHS Test and Trace figures do not illustrate a world beating operation in action.

Only 68% of contacts of infected people was traced, the lowest weekly percentage since the system began, last week it was 72%.

More worryingly, only a quarter of those who got a test at a local or mobile testing site got their result in 24 hours, overall only 60% got results in 24 hours.

None of this bodes well, it's crucial to give people results as soon as possible, so they can isolate and hand over their contacts swiftly.

And if 32% of contacts traced aren't spoken to, there are a lot of people, potentially infected walking around spreading the virus.

Also out today is the Office for National Statistics analysis into underlying causes of death this year.

It shows three times as many people died from Covid 19 than from flu or pneumonia.

That might not sound like a surprise but it suggests coronavirus could be more deadly than flu and pneumonia combined.

Between January and August those dying from Covid made up 12% of all deaths, pneumonia was responsible for 3.5% and flu 0.1% - Covid was the underlying cause of death in 95%.

You could say it blows Donald Trump's claim that coronavirus is far less lethal than flu out the water.

We're still waiting to see details Public Health England's surveillance report - but that is likely only to confirm sadly what we suspected.

I think the most worrying aspect about today is the idea that parts of the NHS have the potential to be overwhelmed very soon.

We are hearing reports that some hospitals are filling up.

I understand one hospital in the North East is at 96% capacity and there are similar stories across the North West too.

This is all while the NHS tried desperately to keep other services open, like routine operations, diagnostics and referrals.

But as figures from NHS England confirm, they are still way behind and the back log is getting bigger.

111,000 have been waiting over a year for routine care and two million are waiting more than the target of 18 weeks.

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There has been a 20% drop in the numbers of patients starting cancer treatment and GPs referrals for cancer check up are also down by 31,000 compared to last year.

None of this is good news, it's storing up trouble for the future and ultimately means far more indirect deaths.

It may also mean, as Covid admissions rise further, hospitals will be forced to pause routine care again.

Trust leaders are concerned about all of this.

They want the government to act quickly and decisively to get this under control.