A first 2022 Omicron update

While it is still very early days, both in the New Year of 2022 and also for the Omicron variant, this post adds to my recent 19th December update with a summary of further runs of my model for higher transmissions settings. Last time I ran options up to three times the transmission rate of the Delta variant, and I have now looked at transmission up to five times the Delta rate.

Omicron modelling update

I have run updates to my model for lower and medium vaccine efficacy to Omicron, and lower, medium and higher virulence and mortality, and continue to compare with reported data. While evidence is still in short supply, nothing has firmly contradicted the impression that Omicron is highly transmissive, as well as being possibly less virulent.

Just as we thought it was safe to go back into the water

Omicron is feared to have higher infectiousness than the Delta variant, with even greater concerns should it turn out to cause more severe symptoms, higher mortality, and possibly worst of all, if it were able to evade current Covid-19 vaccines. I have made some parametric runs of my model to assess the possible effects.

The pandemic situation in Europe

The pandemic situation in continental Europe has been worsening rapidly, and I felt that it I should update some country comparisons in a dedicated post.It confirms that the sourcing of data for a Coronavirus model of any given country is a very specific task nowadays, given the considerable differences in the underlying demographics, cultures, Government actions (NPIs) and public responses in the various countries.
This blog post isn’t looking at the modelling per se, but concentrates on the very different outcomes we are seeing across Europe, and looking at some of the reasons why.

Pandemic modelling review

Vaccination has somewhat stabilised the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic in the UK. I summarise the capabilities that I have found necessary and useful in modelling the behaviour of the pandemic; successive variants, different population age-groups, the effect of Government NPIs, and vaccinations.

Booster jab matters

Having just had my 3rd Covid jab, the “booster” jab, it provoked a few thoughts about that, my Coronavirus model, and the wider scene. I had incorporated multiple jabs into my UK model some time ago, and multiple phases for inoculation volumes to cope with the first and second jabs. I am taking this opportunity to report briefly on model outcomes for waning immunity in the context of booster jabs.

The UK Select Committees’ report into UK Government Covid failures

The UK parliamentary Health and Social Care, and Science and Technology Committees have just jointly published their substantial report criticising the many errors made by UK Government in its handling of the Covid crisis. It praised, justifiably, the excellent strategy (early risk investment) and deployment of vaccines. But its own timing is as questionable as that of any it seeks to criticise.

Implications of the R0 Reproduction Number in an unconstrained Delta variant environment

In my April 8th 2020 post about the R0 reproduction number and the use of SIR models to model the pandemic, I developed a chart which predicted the proportion of the population uninfected by the end of an unconstrained pandemic.

That chart allowed for an R0 up to 3, but the Delta variant that arrived in the UK a year later, in April 2021, has an R0 far higher than the original, possible 2.5 times as high, as much as R0=7, perhaps.

I have added to the scope of that previous post to develop a chart allowing R0 up to 7..

“Freedom Day”, multiple vaccinations and the Delta variant

In this post, I run a development of my model which includes immunity waning (at a 150 day half-life), vaccine hesitancy by group, multiple vaccine inoculations (representing the typical two jabs required by most vaccines for best immunity) and also the possibility of vaccinated people not only to become infected, but also to pass on the virus even if not infected themselves.