The average number of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections confirmed each day between the beginning and the end of September in Poland increased 3.5 times. The number of deaths after COVID-19 reported daily has increased by the same amount. The largest number of infections and deaths after the disease was recorded in the Lubelskie Province. In the region where about 5.5 percent of Poles live, about 15 percent of all September infections and deaths were recorded. The fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic is larger than the first, but still small compared to the second and third.
The epidemic in September ended with very disturbing information – at the end of the month the dynamics of the increase in the number of new infections jumped to the level of almost 68 percent. This is the third highest result this year. In fact, higher values of this indicator occurred only in the fall of 2020, during the second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, which of all the so far the most sharply increased, and in the first weeks after the appearance of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Poland, when all statistical comparisons were disturbed by the so-called low base effect – we just started from zero cases. But what is the dynamics and why is the report of the Ministry of Health of October 1 – because the data from it was used to calculate the 68 percent – still included in September? In sequence.
Let’s start with when, in the announcements of the health ministry, it began, and when September ended. Well, the data is presented every morning. Each report contains information that was received by the ministry on the previous day. Therefore, the coronavirus statistics for the period from September 1 to 30 are reports that the ministry published from September 2 to October 1, inclusive.
Second, the dynamics of the increase (or decrease) in the number of new infections. It is calculated by comparing the number of new confirmed infections on a given day with that reported the week before. We compare Thursday with Thursday, Friday with Friday etc. Why not Thursday with the Wednesday before it etc.? Because the data on new cases and (even more) fatalities fluctuate significantly depending on the day of the week. They are the lowest in the reports for Sunday and Monday (when the numbers for Saturday and Sunday are presented), and the arrears in the weekend are made up in the reports on the following days of the week.
The dynamics of the increase in the number of infections – the third result this year
And so, in the report from Friday, October 1 (i.e. in the data for September 30), we had 1,362 new infections. A week earlier, on September 24, the health ministry informed about 813. This means that at the end of the month the number of infections was 549 higher. This is an increase of almost 68 percent. Hence, we are talking about the growth dynamics of the number of new infections at the level of 68 percent. This year, the ratio was only twice as high – on August 16, it was exactly 100 percent, and on March 15, when the third wave was accelerating, it was 77 percent.
Throughout September, the dynamics of the increase in the number of new infections fluctuated between 13.5 percent and the already mentioned 68 percent. The average of this indicator for the entire month was almost 36 percent – that is, on average, the number of new infections was more than a third higher than in the last week’s report.
Average number of infections each day – an increase of 3.5 times
There is another indicator that shows the scale and development of the epidemic well, avoiding disturbances related to the fact that reports differ significantly on individual days of the week. This is a rolling average of the number of new confirmed infections, based on data for the past seven days. At the end of September (report from October 1) it was 966 infections per day. Even at the beginning of the month (September 2 report), there were only 278 infections per day. That’s a 3.5 fold increase in 30 days. Contrary to August, there was not a single day in September when the moving average fell – it was rising every day.
Are almost a thousand infections a day a lot or a little? On the one hand, to the peaks of the second and third waves – 25.6 thousand, respectively. and 28.9 thous. infections daily – we are still a long way from now. On the other hand, the highest level achieved by the first wave – an average of 759 infections – is behind us, and the increases are not over. The Ministry of Health is openly talking about forecasts of an average of 5,000 infections a day at the end of October.
Unfortunately, the 3.5-fold increase in the average number of new infections during the month was also accompanied by a 3.5-fold increase in the number of daily reported deaths from epidemics – from less than five at the beginning of September to more than 16 at the end of the month.
Coronavirus in the Lubelskie Voivodeship
In September, the coronavirus especially spread in the Lubelskie Voivodeship. For 30 days of the month, as many as 14, the daily report of the Ministry of Health contained information that it was in this region that the greatest number of infections was observed. In ten reports, Lubelskie was mentioned in second place (always after Mazowsze), and in the next two – third. Only four times the voivodeship from eastern Poland was beyond the symbolic podium and all these days fell on the first week of September.
In total, for the entire month, the largest number of infections in Poland was confirmed in Lublin – 3,016, i.e. 15.5 percent of all reported in Poland. Mazowsze was second in this respect with 2,963 infections (15.3%). The same applies to the death toll of the September epidemic. 44 deaths were recorded in the Lubelskie Voivodeship (over 14 percent of all in Poland), and in Mazowieckie – 40 (13 percent). However, the Lubelskie Voivodeship is inhabited by 2.1 million people, and in Mazowieckie (the most populous in the country) – 5.4 million. The population of Lublin is 5.5 percent. of all Poles, Mazovia – 14.1 percent.
Another indicator illustrates the situation in the Lubelskie Voivodeship even more clearly – the average number of confirmed infections in the last seven days per 100,000 inhabitants. At the beginning of September, for the whole of Poland it was 0.7, and for Lubelskie – almost 0.9. At the end of the month, this indicator for the entire country increased to 2.5, and for the Lubelskie Voivodeship it soared to 8.5 (!). Podlasie was second in this respect – 5.7, and Western Pomerania was third – 4.0. The best situation was in Świętokrzyska (0.9), Lubuska and Silesia (1.1 each).
Thus, the differences between the individual regions are significant, although it should also be remembered that we are still far from the levels from the second and third waves.
Coronavirus in Poland. How many Poles got infected and how many died in September? It’s not so simple
In general, about 19,400 Poles were infected with the coronavirus throughout the country throughout September. About, because it depends on how to count. The sum of the numbers provided by the Ministry of Health in its daily reports is 19,405 infections. However, if you subtract the one reported on September 1 from the total number of infections recorded since the beginning of the epidemic, which was reported on October 1, we will get 19,396. Where do these discrepancies come from? In its daily tweets, the ministry repeats the reservation that corrections are introduced in the ICT system on an ongoing basis.
We have the same problem if we want to count how many people suffering from COVID-19 died in September. We know that there were over 300. If we use the first method of calculation, it will be exactly 305. If the second – 308.
What is the situation in hospitals?
Patients in covid wards each account for approximately 26 percent of both dedicated beds and pandemic ventilators. At the beginning of the month, it was nearly 8 percent of beds and less than 10 percent of respirators. It should be remembered that at the end of September, over 6.5 thousand patients waited for covid patients. beds and fewer than 660 ventilators (and even fewer at the beginning of the month), meanwhile, at the height of the Third Wave, hospitals threw 46,000 beds and more than 4,500 respirators to fight the epidemic.
Main photo source: Jacek Szydłowski / PAP