Exploring new variants, vaccines and NPIs

There has been increasing concern recently about SARS-Cov-2 variants that might escape vaccines to some extent, as well as having different transmission rates (as the Kent variant does), and causing different severity of illness with higher mortality. I have added a vaccination efficacy modifier, var_eff, by variant, as a multiplier to the standard vaccination efficacy, vac_eff, to help model such potential variants that have a partial or total capability to escape vaccines, and this post shows examples of how that works, using a third variant introduced to the model on January 1st 2021. In addition, I have completed adding fSS (the fraction of people becoming seriously sick from each variant) and fmort (fatality of the variant) by Covid variant.

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.