For the record…

The first time I mentioned coronavirus on this blog was on 27 February when I wrote;

I’d be surprised if this disease kills as many people in the UK this year as die on our roads, but I might well be wrong. I may look foolish in future, but if so it won’t be the first time, and I’ll look even more foolish if I am one of those to die (but then looking foolish won’t be my biggest concern).

Five weeks is a long time in pandemics and we have now passed the 1800 deaths in the UK that amount to a year of road traffic deaths.

Where will we be in five weeks time – that’s 6 May? No predictions from me.

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6 Replies to “For the record…”

  1. I'm prepared to be proved very wrong, so will make a prediction. Despite the big jump in deaths over the last 2 days, at least partly due to the fact that deaths in care homes are now included in the statistics, I think we are about at the point where the daily death rate plateaus and the daily rate won't climb to the levels seen in Italy and Spain. If the plateau lasts for 3-4 weeks as it did in China and averages 500 a day, with some ups and downs, and as many people die after the plateau as have up to now then the total will be between 15 and 20 thousand, so Boris's statement last week that 20,000 deaths would be a good outcome seems a bit pessimistic.
    15,000 deaths seems an horrendous number but to put it into context 3.91 million people die from respiratory infections globally each year (source Our World In Data) as the U.K. population is just under 1% of the global total this could mean 35,000 deaths a year.
    Obviously every death is a tragedy, but I don't think 10,000 extra deaths (assuming some of the people dying from Covid-19 would've died from respiratory infection in a "normal year") justifies the hysteria in the media, and possibly dose not justify the measures that have been put in place. Sweden has exactly a tenth of the number of deaths the U.K. has, from a population about a sixth the size of ours. They have very few restrictions, all shops, cafes, and primary schools are still open. Who is right? Only time will tell, but if the relative death rates stay the same then I think the answer will be Sweden.

    1. Hindsight is a marvellous thing, and many will profit by it once this is over.

  2. The Swedes are playing Russian roulette with the heath of the nation, this virus kills, it doesn’t matter the percentage of other diseases in correlation with corvid 19, and you can’t stack one up against the other as some sort of justification. If the Swedes want to accept the consequences of this hippy-drippy approach to this crisis, then it’s their own bloody fault if it goes wrong, and I hope someone in Sweden engages their brain and sues the buggers for incompetence.

    On a brighter note because I need it, we’ve just ordered 10 new barn owl boxes for the farm and the two pairs we have breed successfully this year for the young to use next year.

    1. Mark whilst you were optimistic regarding deaths on roads, whether there will be a substantial increase in the number of people who would have died is questionable, seeing as some form of respiratory disease whether that be flu or pneumonia.

      In 2018-19 EWD were estimated around 23,300, on average they are nearer 50,000. Its been admitted that the modelling undertaken for the government on the number of deaths from Covid 19 does not take into account EWD. So there is a question still to be answered as to how many will die from Covid 19 that would not have died anyway. Many suspect the answer to that will be 2,000 or less.

      The issue of course is that the sheer number of cases threatens to overwhelm the health service and that means that not eveyrone will be able to get treatment and other people with illness may not get treatment or get treated in time and may also die.

      Interesting comment from Thomas re the Swedes, not a nation known for taking unnecessary risks and rather difficult to criticise their approach when one has no information on why their taking this approach or the measures (such as widespread testing etc.) they are taking. I would expect them to be doing this on an evidenced based rational.

      Rather different from the UK government which seems hopelessly uncoordinated, have by all accounts taken more notice of nudge experts and mathematical modelers than public health experts and have only just woken up to the fact that testing and tracking are critical to the control of the outbreak.

      1. EWD by the way is Excess Winter Deaths, most of which are due to some form of respiratory disease and is termed excess because the people concerend die before they would normally be expected to. The causes vary, but respiratory diseases the principle reason due to ill health, poverty, (poor diet, unable to afford to keep homes heated) poor standard of housing (damp, heating insulation etc.) air pollution.


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