Corona Virus Disease - Covid-19

Update: 8 April 2020: The weekly multiplier of number of Covid-19 cases is 2.06, well below its peak value 5.76 of 18th March. This factor has to go to 1 for new cases to stop. We are a very long way from that but at last moving in the right direction. Unfortunately our cases are still more than doubling in a week. The Royal Berkshire Hospital increased its intensive care beds to 34 in March and was then targeting 56. More "Nightingale" hospitals are to be built, following Excel, London, in Birmingham, Manchester, Harrogate, Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow. There may eventually be 10 sites. A "SARS-COV-2 Testing Alliance" of research centres, universities and businesses is to be formed to offer virus testing to front-line staff, perhaps eventually to support public health measures. We understand that volunteers from the Reading University staff will be involved. The Reading Walk-In Centre is to be used as a Covid-19 assessment hub - GPs will refer their patients and patients registered with the Reading Walk-In Centre will be handled from Milman Road Health Centre using the same telephone number, 0118 902 8300, as for the Broad Street Mall centre. HealthwatchReading have a prescription collection service for those who cannot get their medicines otherwise. Reading Borough Council have services for vulnerable people who have no other resource coordinated through their One Reading Hub which is also the contact point for volunteers - both on 0808 1894325.

The corona virus disease Covid-19 which has rapidly spread across the globe since its detection in Wuhan, China presents a grave threat to the people of Reading. The disease is mild or even asymptomatic for some, but for others appears to proceed through a debilitating fever and cough,and for a certain proportion of cases goes on to a severe and dangerous pneumonia, which makes breathing difficult or inadequate.

Everyone is urged to observe the advice set out by the NHS to the letter.


All should practice hand hygiene, cough and sneeze hygiene, face hygiene, avoid crowded places, do not queue too close to others (at least 2 metre separation), avoid public transport if possible - be aware of what you touch and who you are close to. Those over 70, those with long-term conditions, those pregnant or with a weakened immune system should especially observe these rules, staying at home if possible, to avoid picking up the virus.

A person living alone who has shown the symptoms of a high fever or continual cough should stay in for 7 days (without visitors if possible) - relying on others to deliver shopping. A household with more than one person where one person has these symptoms should stay in for for at least 14 days (without visitors if possible) - relying on outsiders to deliver shopping. Anyone who develops symptoms must stay in for 7 further days. Here is the NHS advice on staying in if you or someone in your household gets symptoms.

We should all protect the NHS and NHS and social care staff who are now in the front line of this epidemic. Keep yourself free of the virus and if showing symptoms self-isolate as above, use the phone to contact your GP surgery, and access the NHS 111 service online by preference - do not go t.o a GP surgery, clinic or hospital without being told to do so.

At present Covid-19 testing is done only for severely ill patients in hospital and NHS staff. So the true number of cases is much greater than the number of confirmed cases reported. It is thought that for every one person with symptoms who has the virus there are about one without symptoms who could still be spreading the virus.

As of 8th April 2020 there were 129 confirmed cases in Reading, 121 in West Berkshire, 129 in Wokingham, 117 in Windsor and Maidenhead and 79 in Bracknell Forest according to the Public Health England Coronavirus reporting site.

At present the number of confirmed cases is multiplied by about 2.06 every week. We can expect that it will soon be widespread and we should expect many surfaces in public places to carry infection. Even in Italy which has been in lockdown for four weeks the weekly factor is still 1.26, though this may reflect earlier conditions. It is clear that Italy has passed the peak number of daily confirmed cases on 26th March.

Read about Royal Berkshire Hospital's Coronavirus Action Plan

The growth of the infection is shown by this table of confirmed cases and deaths due to Covid-19 for the UK.

Date Confirmed Cases Deaths from Covid-19 Weekly Growth Factor of Cases
29 Feb 23
1 Mar 36
2 Mar 40
3 Mar 51
4 Mar 85
5 Mar 115
6 Mar 167
7 Mar 209
8 Mar 273
9 Mar 319
10 Mar 373 7.31
11 Mar 456 5.36
12 Mar 590 5.13
13 Mar 797 10 4.77
Cheltenham Festival ends
14 Mar 1140 21 5.45
15 Mar 1391 35 5.09
Testing only hospital cases
16 Mar 1543 55 4.84
Social distancing advice - reduce social contact
17 Mar 1950 56 5.23
18 Mar 2626 104 5.76
19 Mar 3269 144 5.54
20 Mar 3983 177 5.00
Pubs, cafes, gyms, restaurants, schools closed
21 Mar 5018 233 4.40
22 Mar 5683 281 4.09
23 Mar 6650 335 4.310
Stay At Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives
24 Mar 8077 422 4.142
25 Mar 9529 465 3.629
26 Mar 11658 578 3.566
27 Mar 14759 759 3.705
Prime Minister, Health Secretary have Covid-19. 6,200 cases in hospital. 33,000 beds cleared for Covid-19 patients.
Testing of NHS staff to start.
28 Mar 17089 1019 3.406
29 Mar 19522 1228 3.435
30 Mar 22141 1408 3.329
31 Mar 25150 1789 3.114
1 Apr 29474 2352 3.093
2 Apr 33718 2921 2.892
3 Apr 38168 3605 2.586
4 Apr 41903 4313 2.451
5 Apr 47806 4934 2.449
6 Apr 51608 5373 2.331
7 Apr 55242 6157 2.197
8 Apr 60733 7097 2.061

Reading's local services are affected by the epidemic - please see Reading Council's corona virus web page .

Reading Voluntary Action has advice on what you can do to help your community and is recruiting volunteers wanting to assist in these exceptional times at their web site .

Reading Buses has announced that it will generally run a Saturday service (except Sundays) with the 21a route eliminated as the University is closed. See their website. Reading concessionary bus passes can now be used in Reading at ANY time of day.

For an informative, individual view of the NHS's outlook subscribe to Roy Lilley's weekly newsletter at the Institute of Health Management web site

London's School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is offering a 3-week free online course on the COVID-19 disease -
click here for more infomation.

Read about Royal Berkshire Hospital's Coronavirus Action Plan