More information has become available since I started writing these articles. In particular the mortality rate, and the way that other countries are tackling the virus.
As we are now approaching the end of lockdown the following articles will deal with the progress.
Tracking the number of infections in the UK is a fruitless task. The number arrived at depends on both the number of infections and how many people you test. If we use data from countries who test well, like New Zealand, Australia, and S Korea we find that the mortality rate is about 1.34%. So we can estimate infections by 1/1.34% or about 75. Now this is what the infections were 14 days before. So we must take the growth into account.
If we do that for the UK we find reported cases two weeks ago are 8-9 times the number of deaths today. In fact the number of cases must be about 75 times the number of deaths. So deriving statistics from cases in the UK is of little value. All of these calculations use deaths.
Care home deaths
I get the UK figures from the governments own statistics`.I take the “deaths in all settings” number, and subtract “the equivalent figure under the old measure” which was hospital deaths, to arrive at care home deaths.
The Office for National Statistics publishes a care home death figure which is far greater, although the total death figure is similar.
R value vs Growth Factor
The government insist on quoting the “R value” (or R nought) when determining the spread rates of the virus.
The R value is the measure of how many people one person infects before they are free from the disease via recovery or death. It is extremely difficult to calculateand in my humble opinion a singularly useless figure to track progress against the virus.
We are not told what the actual value of R is, other than ” between 0.5 and 0.9. Neither are we told what we are aiming for other than “less than 1”
If we assume that 100 people are infecting others over a 14 day period, then with a R value of 1, at the end of 14 days we will still have 100 people infected. With and R value of 0.5 then 50% would be infected.
My explanation of the R value may be too simplistic or simply wrong. I can’t check as the government publish neither the R value figure nor the calculation method.
The government are currently (7th May) saying the R value is about 0.7.
My stats show the growth rate is 97.08%
It seems that a method to convert growth rate to R value raise 97.08% to the power of 14 which gives 66% or 0.66.
It is much easier to track the growth rate and it is an unambiguous figure. Unfortunately, we can only derive the infection rates as they were two weeks previously. But this is still better tracking than infection rates from a grossly inadequate testing regime.
We can however compare our growth rates with other countries and gather from their experiences as they attempt to come out of lockdown.
All of the data on the following pages use the growth factor, but assuming my explanation is close enough , here is a translation from Growth Rate to R nought.
It seems that people are not infectious for th full 14 days, but probably nearer to 7 days. Given that, it is probably more accurate to raise the growth rate to the factor of 7 rather than 14. This would make the 97.08% growth mentioned above equivalent to R0 of 0.81.