So we have Coronavirus in the UK. How bad is it really?
Currently the virus is spreading at 26% per day
Mortality is 4%
In countries which do test, death to recovery ratio is 3.5%- 4%. This is also the figure given by the WHO. Our testing is not in this league due to lack of government leadership and long running inadequate NHS funding.
BUT our death to recovery rate will be the same.
Today we have had 2921 deaths.
We must also have had around 70,000 recoveries although the government figures only indicate 135 (which has not changed for 9 days!). The vast majority have had mild symptoms and are probably unaware they have has the virus.
To get this many deaths we must have had just over 8000 cases some time ago. The WHO suggest a 14 day period from infection to death. So we had over 70,000 cases 14 days ago. We had recorded 2,478. Most people won’t realise they have it.
It is spreading at 26% so that 70,000 cases would have risen to has now risen to between 1.5 and 2 million without the lockdown.
If the lock down drops the growth rate in line with how it happened in China, Italy and Spain, then we should see the rate drop by about 1 percent a day. This started on the day of the lockdown so we should be seeing death rates dropping this week.
According to my model, the deaths should peak at around 1500 to 2000 a day in mid April, then start to drop off. Deaths should be at the “background level” (I don’t know – a few a day?) after the end of April. Total deaths will be around 30,000
Hospital peak will happen in the next few days.
These figures are based on UK government data and lots of educated guesses. A few days difference in then the growth rate will begin to turn down, and by how much makes huge differences in the total number of deaths and hospitalisations.
The latest death figures finally showed a downturn from 23% to 19%. Hopefully this is the beginning of the effects of the lockdown getting through to the death rate.
The overall trend however is considerably slower than in the other countries.
Perhaps this is due to the lack of protective equipment in hospitals, nursing homes, careers, and teachers looking after key workers children. NHS staff have been complaining of this since the epidemic started.
Or maybe it will speed up.
If it does not speed up above scenario will be much worse.
The effects of the lockdown ARE getting through. The average increase is now around 15%. It seems that the reported death numbers are always lower on a Sunday and a Monday then show a big jump on the Tuesday and Wednesday.
But the overall trend is that it is dropping around 1% per day.
If this continues, it could be all over by the end of April, but the pace will almost certainly slow down.
My model shows the growth down to 10% in about 10 days when deaths will be around 400 per day and total deaths will have been 15-16,000
I updated my model so that the trend in the reduction of growth rates matches the average of China, Spain, and Italy at the same point. This indicates a reduction of only 0.6% per day. The difference between 1% and 0.6% has a huge effect on the total number of deaths.
This indicates that the death rate will peak at around 1200 per day around 17th April, then reduce quite rapidly and still be mostly over by the end of April by which time total deaths will be around 30,000. However the end has a long “tail”
China took 40 days from the position we are at now to get to single figure deaths per day.
That would take us to May 20th. But China did not lift the lockdown in Wuhan until three weeks after that. Wuhan was the epicentre of the China outbreak. London is ours………………..!!
S Korea has reported 91 people apparently re-infecting. This is worrying. Maybe the “clear” criteria may be suspect, or maybe it’s a different strain. Or maybe you can get it twice, (or more).
To date, there have been 21 deaths of NHS workers in the UK. This has been exacerbated, by the Governments failures in distributing sufficiency supplies of PPE.
Now 21 deaths in the NHS is bad, but not many of these people would have been in the vulnerable age bracket or even have pre-existing conditions. So mortality for NHS workers who catch the virus will only be 1-2%.
The rate is fairly constant at about 3 NHS worker deaths every two days. so around 150-300 NHS workers are becoming infected every day.
Due to the Governments further failure to supply an adequate number of testing kits, many of these people will be unaware they have the virus and so will be spreading it around their colleagues and family and anyone else they come in contact with both in and out of work.
Social distancing will have helped to keep this down. Without social distancing, cases double every 3 days and cases would have multiplied by a factor of 40 within two weeks.
As expected the contraction if the growth rate has slowed down. I have changed my model to follow the same sort of “run down” experienced in Italy and Spain, although the pandemic in both of these countries is anything but over.
On 8th April (above) I estimated that growth would be down to 10% by 18th. It came down faster and growth dropped to 10% by the 14th. Deaths were 12,000.
I also said it could be over by the end of April. That was optimistic.
How do we define “all over”? We should reach single figure deaths around 24th June. But these will come from infections around 10th June.
Spain and Italy have already started to lift the lockdown when the growth rate in deaths was 3%.
We could be there in 1 week, but the government has extended the lockdown for another three weeks. That is one of the few smart things they have done.
In three weeks deaths should be down to around 270 per day. Around half of Italy’s and Spain’s present numbers.
Infections in three weeks will mainly be due to “leakage” from hospitals, and care homes This will be spread within the general population by idiots ignoring the governments guidelines.
The leakage can be greatly reduced by testing in hospitals and care homes. There is little we can do about the idiots.
We are still on track for growth rate of around 3% by 23rd of April, but any changes in the lockdown will be after that, at least after 7th May. By then, as forecast on 16th deaths should be around 270 per day, and growth should be down to around 1%.
Will the government lift restrictions then? Hopefully they will be closely observing Spain and Italy, whose situation we seem to be following quite closely, two to three weeks behind.
The Government learned nothing from other countries onto the way into the pandemic, will they learn anything on the way out?
Although the USA figures look really bad compared to ours, and Trump’s attitude is simply appalling, we should remember that USA deaths per million of population are less than a half of the UK’s.
The figure for Italy and Spain show a very long “tail”. Both countries have levelled out at around just over 3000 deaths per week (we are at 5000). How is this happening? For a death rate of 5000, this implies 150,000 new infections two weeks earlier. If the country is in lockdown, with no foreign travel, and the general public have been isolated for a month, then the infections must be “leaking” from either identified sources, such as Hospital and Care homes, or unidentified sources such as asymptomatic members of the general public who are not socially isolating.
Identified sources are made worse by the ongoing lack of PPE and both identified and unidentified sources are made worse by lack of testing and tracking facilities.
We have had 20,000 deaths to date and we are currently suffering 5,000 deaths per week. As the government continues to defend its (in)actions, it is worth looking at the records of countries who manage better then we do:-
China had under 1000 per week at the peak with no other countries to look to for guidance. Total deaths of the pandemic were less than our weekly average.
S Korea has had 291 deaths total
New Zealand has had 15 deaths total and are starting to exit lockdown
Singapore has had 12 deaths total.
In America, California with a population of about 70% of the UK has only 8% of the deaths on the UK.
As regards the countries who handled it less well:-
Italy peaked around 2nd April with 5,700 deaths per week. 2 weeks later this had dropped to 68% of the peak.
Two weeks after Spain’s peak, deaths had dropped to 56%
Our figure two weeks after the peak is 81%.
When the government catches up with PPE, testing, and tracking we should finally see the numbers coming down.
The government has just added about 35% to the death statistics by finally adding in deaths in care homes. As the growth pattern in care homes is not published my model will need updating as figures come available.
But what is evident, by looking at other countries, is that the death rate tends to reduce by around 3% per day.
This implies it will be around early July when the daily death rate reduces below 100 per day, and mid September before it gets to single figures.
The Governments Plan
The government was never in a position to stop the virus quickly due to the reasons mentioned previously. The plan is to slow the spread so that the NHS has a better chance of coping. Highly vulnerable people are to isolate.
After a period of time people who have, or have had the virus will recover and become non-infectious and then those who have not had it can start mingling again without fear.
Is this a good plan?? Well it’s the best we can do now, but the government could have done far better. Nipping the outbreak in the bud like S Korea did, and Hong Kong did and like New Zealand are doing would have saved thousands of lives and avoided the inevitable recession which is going to follow.
Everyone is agreed that the UK lockdown should have come MUCH earlier. E.g. New Zealand has locked down with only 1 death and 950 cases. Cases per day are falling already.
Was there a better plan?
Yes, but our completely negligent government ignored it. South Korea’s first death was two weeks before the UKs, but they implemented a test and track regime immediately. People are still dying in South Korea but at a rate of around 4 a day. Our people are dying at a rate of 700 a day and increasing.
S Korea has had 169 deaths from Corona virus. since it started and the rate has stabilised.
The UK are currently getting that many every six hours and it will get much worse.
The government had around a month to implement the S Korea model, which involves no lockdown and minimal deaths.
Our government’s negligence will be responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of our people, and for throwing the country into a recession which will last for years and years.
That said, they have finally grasped the nettle and are doing the best they can under the present circumstances.
It is crisis management. But the crisis was brought on by this and pervious governments complacency and criminal neglect.
The key services and the general population are doing a wonderful job and the whole country is coming together. Yes, there are some people still flouting the rules, but the percentage of the population who are ignoring government guidelines is almost certainly much less than the percentage of MPs (and MSPs) who are ignoring them.
The key lesson to those most vulnerable is to VERY STRICTLY SELF ISOLATE until the epidemic is over. And don’t worry. It is really not super infectious.
Consider – it the early days the spread was 1 person passed it to 3 people. That person was probably infectious for a week before they realised.
How many people does the average person interact with in one week? But only 3 get the virus! The government guideline on social distancing and washing your hands is more than adequate to keep you safe. Stick to it.
So we have Coronavirus in the UK. How bad is it really? REALLY BAD.
A Second Wave?
Is a second wave possible? Only if the government are even more negligent than they have been already. After this epidemic, we will have lost between 20 and 30 thousand of our loved ones. The 3% mortality figure tells us that around 600 thousand will have had the virus. That leaves slightly under 50 million people or 99% of the population who have not had it and so have no antibodies.
We may have a vaccine by then. If not then we can minimise the effects using the S Korean or New Zealand model using testing and tracking.
But will we? Cash will be tight due to the inevitable recession and the Conservative government has a history of starving the NHS of funds with a view to further privatisation.
My prediction is that the Conservative government will subcontract testing and tracking to a private company who is a sizable Tory party donor, probably with links to MPs past and present.
‘Selling off NHS for profit’: Full list of MPs with links to private healthcare firms
PM David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Lib Dems Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are also on the list – here is the full rundown. Is your MP on there?
Looks like the subcontracting has started and is already causing issues, but investers in private companies will be profiting.