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)?”
All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:
Prof Sheila Bird: “SMB is a former programme leader at MRC Biostatistics Unit.”
None others received.