REFLECTIONS ON THE COVID PANDEMIC IN THE U.K. (29th April 2020)
Retired Bayesian Statistician
A logistic model
An exponential model
If a pandemic is well-controlled e.g. by safe spacing, then the total numbers of deaths, and the total numbers of cases, will hopefully increase in time according to a logistic curve, in which case the curve will eventually flatten out. However, if the pandemic is badly controlled, then the numbers of deaths, and the numbers of cases, can instead follow an exponential curve, in which case vast swathes of the population will perish.
Despite the bad start in Britain (because of the herd mentality and parsimonious attitudes of our crass political advisors) there is some hope that the numbers of deaths in hospitals (excluding mental hospitals) will follow a logistic curve, and eventually flatten out. However, for the spiralling deaths in nursing homes, an exponential curve at the moment seems to be more appropriate. Moreover, extra, non-covid deaths in nursing homes are likely to be enormous. I am also very concerned about covid and extra non-covid deaths in our mental hospitals and prisons.
If we start moving more elderly covid-patients from nursing homes into hospitals, then that could well prevent the curve for hospital patients from flattening out. If we don't then we will face mass disaster in our nursing homes, with many patients left abandoned and dying.
Finally, the continuation of the lock-down, which seems absolutely necessary, is likely to lead to numerous extra deaths in our vulnerable and impoverished populations, for a whole variety of reasons,
I find it hard to believe that less than 200000 extra UK residents will perish during the course of this pandemic (the rate is currently about 12000 a week), and it is possible that 200000 could die from the coronavirus alone (including at least 50000 in hospitals). While it is impossible, given the quality of the data, to make valid quantitative conclusions at this moment, the number 500000 does come fearfully into my mind.
This could all lead to even worse civilian disaster scenarios e.g. in deprived, shopping, or downtown areas. If the people come onto the streets, then the reaction of the authorities is unpredictable. If there is a partial press blackout, then we might not know how many thousands have died,
Today (30th April) our crass Prime Minister painted a totally more optimistic picture. I think that Bojo's trying, as always, to brainwash his electorate. The U.K. is ranked worst per capita in the world.