Declining Omicron cases but increasing deaths

Something odd seems to be happening with the relationship between reported UK Covid-19 cases and deaths in the last few weeks, when deaths have been increasing somewhat more quickly than recently, but cases have declined steeply. My model charts seem to expose this oddity.

They think it’s all over – but it isn’t

In this article, I present a few variations of the current model to illustrate some outcomes depending on different assumptions about the current dominant variant, Omicron BA.2; they are fairly consistent in their forecasts over the 1400 day period of the model, from the outset in February 2020 to December 2023, and show that as NPIs are removed, vaccination is what keeps us safe.

Omicron BA.2, vaccination for 5-11 year-olds, and the honeymoon period

I haven’t needed to make significant updates to my Coronavirus model for a while, because it has been working well.
The original Omicron variant morphed into the new BA.2 variant, and although it seems no more dangerous than its predecessor, it is thought to be between 33%-50% more transmissible. I have assumed the lower value of 33% more transmissive for this post.
I have added Omicron BA.2 as fifth variant v5 to my model, with 8 times the transmissibility of Delta, compared with the original Omicron variant v4 in the model, at 6 times the Delta transmission rate.

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.

“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.

Delta variant impact on June 21st easing – delay or reduce?

Having explored what pandemic advisers might be seeing and highlighting to decision-makers in Government, I run scenarios with different settings for the planned June 21st relaxation of lockdown, the last in the series of relaxations over the first half of 2021, following the January 3rd lockdown. These model scenarios show examples of what the relative consequences of the June 21st relaxation as planned, versus four other options:- cancellation of the June 21st step altogether, two different delays, of 28 and 56 days, and lastly a 50% reduction in the scope of the June 21st relaxation.