expert reaction to latest COVID-19 Nowcast and Forecast, by the MRC Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge

expert reaction to latest COVID-19 Nowcast and Forecast, by the MRC Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge

SEMrush

The MRC Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge have released their latest nowcast and forecast of COVID-19.

 

Prof Sheila Bird, Formerly Programme Leader, MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, said:

“Yesterday’s forecasting by my former colleagues at MRC Biostatistics Unit is fascinating: particularly for what it reveals regionally. But first the good news: it is possible, although we’ll need to see data for a few more weeks to confirm, that COVID-deaths may have peaked this week. Unfortunately, the second wave has been broader and is likely to cost more lives than the first.

“Observed COVID-deaths were very well-fitted in some regions, not so in others (West and East Midlands); and COVID-deaths have peaked in some regions but are forecast as increasing still in North West and East and South West.

“Pre-Xmas, regional plots – East of England, London and the South East excepted – showed a notable dip in infection-incidence during the November lock-down with rebound thereafter in December. The three exceptional regions were put rapidly into Tier 4: the reason as much genomic (Variant of Concern) as absence of impact from lockdown, the two potentially confounded by behaviours.

“Gloomy pre-Xmas short-term forecast – made ahead of, and so without accounting for, Tier 4 restrictions – was that on New Year’s Day England might record 750 COVID-mention deaths (95% uncertainty: 620-900), almost as many as at the April peak. Thankfully, the observed count was at the lower end of the forecast.

“On 21st December, I asked: should I be as worried in the East Midlands as those in the South West, neither then in Tier 4, that our median forecasts for COVID-mention deaths on 1 January 2021 exceeded the region’s 1st wave peak?  Answer is yes – as confirmed in the updated forecast.

“It is also intriguing to ponder why there were seemingly more observed COVID deaths in the West and East Midlands pre-Xmas than nowcasting had allowed for: behavioural, genomic, BAME or treatment-related explanation(s)?”

 

 

https://www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/nowcasting-and-forecasting-14th-january-2021/

 

 

All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:

www.sciencemediacentre.org/tag/covid-19

 

 

Declared interests

Prof Sheila Bird: “SMB is a former programme leader at MRC Biostatistics Unit.”

None others received.

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