Wednesday, April 1, 2020
How likely are you to die of coronavirus?
April 1, 2020
The national conversation is dominated by coronavirus statistical models at the moment. The Imperial College model, the Oxford model, the
That’s bad enough. But there’s a more profound problem, which is that deaths themselves can be recorded very differently in different places. Professor Sir
I want to reiterate: this is a very simple, stupid model, put together by a journalist, not an epidemiologist. The actual models will be far more complex, and will take into account other things — the number of cases in hospital and so on — to try to ground them in objective fact. Don’t mistake this for some plausible estimate of infection numbers. And there are loads of other things to worry about: people suffering long-term health consequences, even if they live; people dying of other things because the healthcare system is overwhelmed.
In the end, we need testing. And not just the sort of testing we have now — PCR testing, which shows who has the virus right now; we need serological testing, which shows who has had it in the past. That will come along relatively soon, and hopefully can be quite quickly used to test randomly selected people, like an opinion poll sampling a population; then we can see how many people have had it, and from there work out the IFR. But for the moment we don’t have that.
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 7:25 AM