Friday 14 August 2020

Day 151 of self-isolation - Resurrection


Matthew 27:52 "and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;"

In the UK, the total number of Covid-19 deaths has suddenly fallen from 46706 to 41329 (a fall of about 12%). How did this happen?

Previously, if you tested positive for Covid-19 and subsequently died, you would be included in the death from Covid-19 count. There's an obvious problem with this - if you were infected in March, recovered in April and in July you were killed by a falling piano, you would still be counted as a Covid-19 death.

So, after taking scientific advice (there's a good case to be made for banning the word "scientific" in this context), it was decided to apply a time limit. So now, you're only a Covid-19 death if you died within 28 days.

This, of course, is also not quite right. Some people will take longer than that to die.

There isn't a "right" answer here. Whatever criterion you use, can be objected to. In my view, most statistics have this kind of problem, and we just have to do the best we can. What is important, is consistency over time. It would be nice to have consistency across countries, but that's not usually possible.

The past figures have all been revised to be consistent, and whereas before we were seeing a long tail of 60 to 80 deaths per day, we are now seeing a long tail of around 12 deaths per day.

And that is a BIG difference. Although the total has fallen by 12%, the daily number is a fifth of the old statistics.

This doesn't affect the case numbers; we're still seeing just over 1000 new cases per day, and we'll be seeing the deaths from that in September.

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