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Can you capture the complex reality of the pandemic with numbers? Bene, we tried…

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Individual experiences and suffering are, ovviamente, at the heart of the pandemic. But one way to understand what has happened is through putting those experiences together – and statistics are those personal stories ...

What questions should you ask when you hear a claim based on data?

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With cases, deceduti, reproduction numbers, opinion polls and more, we get bombarded with statistics every day. But how can you spot a naughty number, a shabby statistic or dubious data? Lists of questions have been giv...

Dealing with uncertainty about the Omicron variant

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The race is on to understand the new variant identified by scientists in South Africa and Botswana, dubbed Omicron (the next Greek letter was “nu”, but this could have been mistaken for “new”). Fears include greater s...

With Covid studies, the quality of the evidence matters

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In The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, Sherlock Holmes says: “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.” Recent claims of massive benefits from wearing masks and using ivermectin against Covid-19 depended o...

Possiamo essere certi che ce ne sono stati molto di più di 5 milioni di morti globali per Covid

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Su 1 novembre, le organizzazioni di stampa hanno riferito che il bilancio delle vittime globale di Covid-19 aveva superato 5 milioni. Ma, come evidenziano questi articoli, è probabile che questa cifra sia un'enorme sottostima. Collazione della Johns Hopkins University...

What proportion of pregnant women have been fully vaccinated?

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Recent articles have stated that only about 15% of pregnant women in the UK have been fully vaccinated. This seems low, but is it right? The figure is quoted in a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists pres...

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

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Negli Stati Uniti, the issue of whether “natural immunity” from prior infection is as good as vaccination is becoming politicised. per fortuna, 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 settembre 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 [invecchiato] 40 per 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”. Infatti, 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...

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

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Attualmente, confirmed cases in the UK are declining; by specimen date in England, they fell by 29% in the week up to 24 luglio. 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 luglio. Many sources of uncertainty mean we don’t know which one, if any, of these p...

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