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New coronavirus cases in Southwark being driven by the under 40s

The second coronavirus wave in Southwark is being driven by cases among the under forties, according to new data.

Around two thirds of new cases in the borough are for those aged between eighteen to 39.

This is in marked contrast to the first coronavirus wave, where the over fifties were disproportionately affected.

Cases are not limited to certain areas in the borough, according to Southwark’s Head of Public Health Intelligence, Chris Williamson.

“The overarching message here is that constantly being one of widespread community transmission, without the kind of clustering you see in other parts of the country,” he told a meeting this afternoon.

The majority of new cases are caught in the home, from family members or visitors to the home.

Cases are lower than the London and national averages, and actually dipped in the days before lockdown. However, they are expected to begin rising again in the coming weeks.

Already Covid admissions to local hospitals have begun rising. There are fifty confirmed Covid cases occupying beds at King’s College Hospital, and 27 at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

Officials also shared their frustrations at the national NHS Test and Trace team. Southwark contact tracers have been hit with delays in cases being sent to them to trace.

“There’s times when we don’t get our cases until the end of the day when we’re meant to get it by 10am, that’s our biggest issue at the moment,” Mr Williamson said. “We don’t get any warning of the cases, they can fluctuate quite a lot day to day.”

The News has already reported that on average, national teams are only handing over cases after nearly six days. They are supposed to hand over a case after 24 hours if they have not made contact.

A lack of data on the ethnicity of new cases is also proving difficult. 

“For a third of our cases we have an unknown ethnicity, and that’s after looking at the ethnicity provided at point of testing, and also after matching against records from the NHS as well,” he said. 

“So it’s difficult to draw conclusions.”

Despite that, according to data presented this afternoon, Southwark’s local contact tracing is among the best in London, both at reaching cases and their contacts.

The council has also launched a ‘community ambassador’ scheme whereby volunteers in certain communities are recruited to share accurate information about coronavirus outbreaks with friends and family.

Students and school pupils could also be recruited to the scheme, according to Acting Head of Public Health, Jin Lim.


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