A rambling mind

Personal Ravings

Repeated elements of the 12-compartment model flowchart with repeated Incubation, Sick, Seriously Sick, and Better compartments, all infective, with transfer rates

The timing of multiple Coronavirus variants

Since my most recent posts on December 23rd and January 5th I have adjusted my model algorithms to model more than two variants, so that once better data is available on new variant characteristics, I can respond more quickly. The scenarios I have modelled show that presented with the threat of new variants, early proactive, preventative and decisive action in necessary as soon as a variant is identified. If a new variant is allowed to multiply and grow before appropriate Non Pharmaceutical Interventions are introduced (just as in the first days of the UK pandemic in March 2020, and with our UK March 23rd response) control of the virus is quickly lost.

New 12-compartment model flowchart with additional vaccination compartment V and repeated Incubation, Sick, Seriously Sick, and Better compartments, all infective, in addition to the Uninfected, Vaccinated, Recovered and Deceased compartments

Concurrent Coronavirus two variant modelling

I present an analysis of the pandemic situation in the UK, with two Coronavirus variants present since December 16th, and sensitivities to different New Year 2021 Non Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs), but always with the background of vaccine dispensing, which started in the UK on December 8th.

Chart 14 model output to 800 days. Realistic case scenario. New virus variant. Vaccinations start Jan 1st 2021 (Day 335) at 100k/day, at 95% efficacy, rising to 300k/day at 95% efficacy, until April 12th 2022. 10% Dec 16th Intervention enhancement. 20% intervention enhancement after New Year.

Exploring the possible impact of the new variant coronavirus

I cautiously welcomed “the end of the beginning”, and events since then have borne out the need for caution, with the discovery of a mutant variant of the SARS-Cov-2 virus (denoted VUI-202012/01) which seems to have a much greater transmission rate, as much as 70% more than the strain of SARS-Cov-2 we have seen previously in the UK. I have developed a further version of my Coronavirus model which now includes not only intervention capability but also a vaccination module, as reported before, and now the ability to add further virus strains with different transmission characteristics.

Chart 13 model outputs to 425 days, April 1st, 2021, no vaccinations compared with a 3-phase vaccination programme, as at December 8th

USA Thanksgiving lessons for UK Christmas and New Year?

We are aware that the rates of cases and deaths in the USA have increased steeply recently, and it seems that the natural public relaxation in precautions against Covid-19 for the Thanksgiving holiday period have exacerbated this. I have run my model with reductions to the USA intervention effectiveness during the Thanksgiving period (reflecting the increase in travel and social interactions in the USA) followed by reintroduction of the intervention effectiveness afterwards, to see the effect on the immediate projections. I have then applied similar changes to my UK models, to anticipate what the possible effect of such relaxations over the UK festive period might be. This is very much a sensitivity test of some scenarios, not a forecast.

Chart 13 model outputs to 450 days, April 27th, 2021, no vaccinations compared with a 3-phase vaccination programme, as at December 1st

The end of the beginning*

Now that it seems clear that a vaccination programme in the UK might start as early as next week, I have re-run my Covid-19 vaccination model for the UK, updating the November 25th scenarios (which begin on January 1st 2021) to reflect some potential UK outcomes.

Comparative vaccination charts for the UK to 800 days. Continuation of current NPIs on the left; and an graduated vaccine intervention on the right from January 1st 2021

Modelling of vaccine strategies

In my most recent post on November 18th, about updating my Coronavirus model to handle the impact of vaccines, I gave some examples of how case numbers, and more specifically death rates might be improved for the UK through a vaccination programme. Now that there seem to be several vaccines imminent, with efficacies ranging from 70% (Astra-Zeneca/Oxford) through 90% (A-Z/O via a different inoculation regime, and Pfizer), to 95% (Moderna) and several others in the mix, I explore some sensitivities in more detail, and also apply the model to the USA.

New 8-compartment model flowchart with additional vaccination compartment V

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaciiiine,…(don’t refuse it, just because you can)

In the news today, I read that Dolly Parton had given $1,000,000, through her Covid-19 Research Fund, to help fund the Moderna vaccine development. As The Times newspaper reported, this – erm – somewhat trumps the White House contribution to public safety. In her honour, Ryan Cordell composed and performed this ditty. The timing neatly coincides with the work I have been doing to incorporate vaccination into my Coronavirus model, and to that end I have been researching ways of modelling vaccination. I have made some appropriate changes, and run some model options for different vaccine efficacy; vaccinations per day; and date of starting the vaccination programme.

Model charts for the USA. Continuation of current policy until a postulated Biden intervention on February 20th 2021, on the left; and an early November 8th intervention on the right

Make America well again

I look at the impact of a postulated change in the timing of further measures to control the Covid-19 epidemic in the USA, against a current background of rapidly increasing daily case numbers and deaths. I also show an updated projection for the UK, both compared with Worldometers forecasts

Chart 11 showing UK model and reported deaths and cases, both cumulatively and daily, up to October 27th, with Seriously Sick and Deaths highlighted on Chart 12.

Adaptive triggering and the epidemic life-cycle

Introduction In my last post on October 21st, looking at the potential for an exit from the epidemic, I described a cyclical version of the modelling of the epidemic in the UK, reflecting outputs from Imperial College and Harvard earlier this year, which postulated a continuing cycle of partial lockdowns, easing of restrictions and upsurgesContinue reading “Adaptive triggering and the epidemic life-cycle”

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).

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