A rambling mind

Personal Ravings

Imperial College and Harvard forecasts and illustrations of cyclical pandemic behaviour

Where’s the exit?

My title for this post is drawn from a slide I have shown before, from the 17th April Cambridge Conversation webinar, which I reported in my April 17th blog post, and also in my April 22nd blog post on model refinement, illustrating the cyclical behavior of the Covid-19 epidemic in the absence of pharmaceutical interventions, with control of cases and deaths achieved, only to some extent, by Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs).

Chart 11 showing the effect on cumulative and daily UK model and reported deaths and cases of a 2-week circuit-breaker measure on October 19th

Recent events and Coronavirus model update

Many countries, including the UK, are experiencing a resurgence of Covid-19 cases recently, although, thankfully, with a much lower death rate. I have run several iterations of my model in the meantime, introducing several lockdown adjustment points, since my last blog post, as the situation has developed. The key feature is the sharp rise cases, and to a lesser extent, deaths, around the time of the lockdown easing in the summer. I have applied a 10% increase in current intervention effectiveness on October 19th (although there are some differences in the half-term dates across the UK), followed by a partial relaxation after 2 weeks, -5%, reducing the circuit-breaker measure by half – so not back to the level we are at currently. The effect of that change is shown in the final chart in the blog post.

Model and reported UK deaths and cases from Feb 1st to Sep 21st with 4 easings and 1 increase after the initial lockdown effectiveness of 84.3%, as shown on the charts

A brief look at model sensitivities to lockdown easing as we prepare for winter

The UK Government has just announced some reversals of the current lockdown easing, and so before I model the additional interventions announced today, I want to illustrate quickly the behaviour of the model in response to changing the effectiveness of current interventions, refecting the easings that have already been made, and also to highlight the sensitivity of the forecasts of case and death rates to the influence of lockdown effectiveness.

Modelled Cases & Deaths development since Feb 1st - Uninfected, Cumulative Deaths, Uninfected & Seriously Sick

SARS-Cov-2 modelling situation report

As we start September, the UK situation regarding Covid-19 cases and deaths has changed somewhat.

Since the UK Government re-assessed the way deaths data is collected and reported, the reported daily deaths resulting from Covid-19 infections have (thankfully) reduced to a very low level.

Cases, however, have started to rise again, although for a number of reasons the impact on deaths has been less then before. I have integrated the real world reported data with my model data to assess what is happening.

Model forecast for the UK deaths as at August 14th, compared with reported for 84.3% lockdown effectiveness, on March 23rd, modified in 5 steps by -.3%, -0% -0% and -0% successively

Model update following UK revision of Covid-19 deaths reporting

On August 12th, the UK Government revised their counting methodology and reporting of deaths from Covid-19, bringing Public Health England’s reporting into line with that from the other home countries, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. I have re-calibrated and re-forecast my model to adapt to this new basis.

Charts 4 and 13 for the comparison of cumulative & daily reported & modelled deaths, plus trend line, on the basis of 83.5% effectiveness, modified in 4 steps by -1%, -5% -10% and +2% successively

Model updates for UK lockdown easing points

As I reported in my previous post on 31st July, the model I use, originally authored by Prof. Alex de Visscher at Concordia University on Montreal, and described here, was to be updated to handle several phases of lockdown easing, and I’m glad to say that is now done. Alex has been kind enough already to adopt a method I had been considering, of introducing an array of dates and intervention effectiveness parameters, and I have been able to add the recent UK Government relaxation dates, and the estimated effectiveness of each into a new model code. I have run two sets of easing parameters as a sensitivity test.

My forecast for the UK deaths as at July 30th, including trend line for reported deaths, for 83.5% lockdown effectiveness

The effect of lockdown easing in the UK

As reported in my previous post, there has been a gradual reduction in the rate of decline of cases and deaths in the UK relative to my model forecasts. This decline had already been noted, as I reported before, by The Office for National Statistics and their research partners, the University of Oxford, and reported on the ONS website.
I had adjusted the original lockdown effectiveness in my model (from 23rd March) to reflect this emerging change, but as the model had been predicting correct behaviour up until mid to late May, I will present here the original model forecasts compared to the current reported deaths trend.

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