Wednesday, March 18, 2020 Snap

A week ago, I blogged the graph on the left. Last night, one of the epidemiological modelling teams advising the Govt published the graph on the right. Billed as "new research", it has formed the basis of the new Govt guidelines on social distancing to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Apart from the choice of colours, probably the most significant difference appears to be that I explicitly considered the possibility that we might increase our healthcare capacity over time (the green line rising in the left plot), whereas the modellers in Imperial College did not (the red line along near the x-axis).

The contrast between these two sets of projections of the epidemic, and the fatuous “flatten the curve” plots that I discussed here is stark. While my calculation was relatively trivial, it’s good enough to indicate that hoping to “flatten the curve” sufficiently to cope with the full progression of an epidemic is foolish at best.

Its very curious to me that the IC research has been billed as "new science" that justifies a new approach from the Govt. All the underlying data has been known for weeks, months even. The Editor of the Lancet is one of those who has been particularly vocal in pointing this out,
also here
and a horde of twitterati have been saying the same.
It would be interesting to know what has really changed. Is it just that the Govt realised that its genocidal policy of "taking it on the chin" wouldn’t be acceptable once people realised the consequential death toll?

One remaining problem with the IC research is their use of the standard mortality rate of about 1% overall that makes no attempt to account for the obviously deleterious effect of running out of hospital beds. If 15% require intensive care, and it’s not available, it is ludicrous to believe that only the same 1% will die.

Sloppy of journalists to not query this more forensically.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My son is physician at a top-5 hospital in the United States, and he has been saying this since at least February 1st. Every time I talked to him he kept bringing up countermeasure stories from China. I think he gets some info from friendships he made playing online games when he was a kid. Tons of contacts in Asia.

In 2018 they modeled a novel coronavirus outbreak - 65 million deaths worldwide.