Tag: SpiegelhalterAnthony

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Which protects you more against Covid – vaccination or prior infection?

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In the United States, the issue of whether “natural immunity” from prior infection is as good as vaccination is becoming politicised. Fortunately, the Office for National Statistics has released results from a sophist...

What’s the value of a confirmatory PCR test?

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After a wave of cases in which a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test was followed by a negative PCR test, a private laboratory handling swab tests has been suspended. But conflicting results are not a new problem....

More people are dying at home than in the past

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From the start of the pandemic to 24 September 2021, deaths at home in England and Wales have been 37% higher than the 2015-2019 average, according to the Office for National Statistics. For every three people who use...

Rules and advice don’t slow the spread of the virus – human behaviour does

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Recent queues for fuel have shown the consequences of abrupt changes in behaviour. Almost as sudden were the changes around the first lockdown in March 2020, when close meetings between people plummeted by about three...

Take care with claims about unvaccinated case rates

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ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston, wrote a Twitter thread with the headline: “Infections higher among double vaxxed for those [aged] 40 to 79 than for non-vaxxed.” ITV changed that headline, but Peston was surpris...

More depression and anxiety, but fewer suicides during lockdown

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People suffer stress, anxiety, isolation and despair, and it’s important to understand trends in these conditions. The Office for National Statistics’ regular Opinions and Lifestyle online survey asks four main questi...

Numbers don’t always mean what they seem to mean

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Last Wednesday, the Evening Standard trumpeted “Covid deaths rocket to 207 in deadliest day in nearly 6 months”. In fact, deaths within 24 days of a positive test were slightly down over the previous week. So what did...

Who is now receiving critical care for Covid?

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In his memoir of having Covid-19, the poet Michael Rosen recalled doctors telling him he had a 50–50 chance of surviving mechanical ventilation. This advice was optimistic: of ventilated over-70s in the first two wave...

Will we reach herd immunity for the new coronavirus?

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The Office for National Statistics Covid infection survey estimates that, either through vaccination or infection, an extraordinary 94% of adults now have antibodies to Sars-CoV-2. So why are cases increasing and why ...

Daily cases can be falling while the number of people infected still rises

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At present, confirmed cases in the UK are declining; by specimen date in England, they fell by 29% in the week up to 24 July. In contrast, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that over the same period t...

What will happen in the third wave?

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Mathematical models simulated vast numbers of possible futures for after the UK government lifts Covid restrictions in England from 19 July. Many sources of uncertainty mean we don’t know which one, if any, of these p...

Why most people who now die with Covid have been vaccinated

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A MailOnline headline on 13 June read: “Study shows 29% of the 42 people who have died after catching the new strain had BOTH vaccinations.” In Public Health England’s technical briefing on 25 June, that figure had ri...

Have more than 100% of older people been vaccinated?

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Across the world, more than 2bn doses of Covid-19 vaccines have gone into arms, and on 2 June, the BBC headline “75% of UK adults have had [their] first vaccine jab” was based on an Office for National Statistics esti...

Why is the new Covid variant spreading?

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The UK’s fine performance in sequencing Sars-CoV-2 genomes allows Public Health England to publish detailed analyses on the progress of variants and the latest report represents the changing of the guard. The B.1.1.7 ...

Covid, false positives and conditional probabilities…

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Bunhill Fields burial ground contains the relics of John Bunyan, William Blake and Daniel Defoe. Of import to statisticians is the tomb of the Rev Thomas Bayes, Presbyterian clergyman from Tunbridge Wells, who died 2...

Which countries have fared worst in the pandemic?

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Last April, one of us (DS) wrote an article saying it was too soon to compare how lethal the pandemic had been in different countries. Nearly a year later, has the time come? Unfortunately, countries have different wa...

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