Imperial College London’s Neil Ferguson – who originally estimated 500,000 deaths in the UK due to Coronavirus, now says that the virus will peak in just two or three weeks, and that UK deaths from the disease are now unlikely to exceed 20,000, according to NewScientist.

The need for intensive care beds will get very close to capacity in some areas, but won’t be breached at a national level, said Ferguson. The projections are based on computer simulations of the virus spreading, which take into account the properties of the virus, the reduced transmission between people asked to stay at home and the capacity of hospitals, particularly intensive care units. -NewScientist

Why the change of heart from Ferguson – who himself has contracted COVID-19?

Ferguson – whose ‘Terrifying’ research from just 10 days ago predicted 2.2 million deaths in the US and that the UK would need to be under quarantine for 18 months or more – now says that coronavirus will not overwhelm the UK’s ICU beds, and that over 1/2 of those it will kill would have died by the end of the year anyway because they were so old and sick.

His reasoning is that estimates of the virus’s transmissibility are much higher than previously thought – and that many more people have gotten it than we realize, making it less dangerous overall.

I guess he must have some sort of model that he plugs numbers into. How are epidemics modelled?

And I wonder if he’s right?

I guess any virus will have inherent high/low transmissibility, but won’t there be other factors as well? In cities, I’d expect transmissibility to rise because there are more interactions between people in cities. Same with crowded trains, buses, theatres, stadiums. And if people all stay home, transmissibility should fall to near zero. Perhaps that’s why he’s changing his tune about the UK, where we now in something like a lockdown.

I had an odd thought yesterday. What caused the rise of ancient Greece? Much of Greece consists of islands. Might the population of an archipelago of islands be more resistant (low transmissibility)  to epidemics sweeping mainlands? The islands are natural quarantine camps. During epidemics, the Greeks may have stopped all travel between islands, with the result that the epidemics never got to them. So Greek islanders weren’t decimated by epidemic diseases, and their numbers rose, and they spread to areas where populations had been decimated by disease – hence the rise of Greek civilisation.

Same reasoning might apply to fortified cities. The walls weren’t just to keep armies out, but also epidemics for a few weeks/months.

And in fact the same reasoning would apply to towns with separate, private, walled houses. Privacy is a health measure. An epidemic in a town where all spaces are public spaces would infect almost everyone.

Coronavirus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive

About Frank Davis

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18 Responses to Transmissibility

  1. slugbop007 says:

    These are the CDC’s approximate estimates on total flu deaths in the U.S.A. stics from 2019-20:


  2. Rose says:

    Matt Hancock tests posititve for coronavirus after Boris Johnson infected

    “HEALTH SECRETARY Matt Hancock has confirmed he has tested positive for coronavirus just hours after Boris Johnson announced he had also contracted COVID-19.”

    But they are both still working from home.
    I hope they feel better soon.

  3. slugbop007 says:

    I was just readiing your December 2019 and January 2020 blogs and comments and found this comment from Michael McFadden at the bottom of the page:

    – MJM, who thinks he has a pic of nasty old butts littering a sidewalk outside a bar in his files: 2 butts shown in the pic along with over 150 black old chewing gum wads ground into the sidewalk!

    Up and down Saint Lawrence Blvd there are thousands of wads of old chewing gum. Three years ago the City of Montreal decided to do something about it. They sent out brigades with some sort of steam cleaners. I watched one fellow try for many minutes to scrape off one black wad then finally give up. The City of Montreal finally gave up on this crusade as well. As I told one member of the cleanup crew butts are easily swept up into a dustbin, dried up wads of chewing gum are nigh impossible to remove. There is worse than cigarette butts embedded on our city sidewalks. Spilled cooking oil, food stains and a whole lot more. This particular sidewalk that I am describing was completely removed and replaced little over six years ago and now it’s a permanent, uncleanable mess.



  4. Igrowmyown says:

    Strange times we live in when you can be apprehended for going for a walk twice in one day. Better tell John Cleese.

  5. smokingscot says:

    I believe a brutal lockdown must show results – fast. Not everyone lives in peace and tranquillity; there are abusive relationships, not just between partners, some beat up on kids. And in some the accommodation is crappy. Money, especially for the poor, is an overwhelming issue.

    Our healthists need to acknowledge the sacrifice people have been made to endure and let people out without any great fuss. Maybe a night time curfew, but absolutely not what China has been doing; a rigid form of house arrest.

    Despite great risk to his/her self, this video has managed to get out. The rage and frustration is palpable and I suspect is being repeated elsewhere in China.

    Note to Boris and all other European leaders; fudge the figures, do anything you must, but get your lockdown out the way within 6 weeks. There are one heck of a lot of people who value freedom over safety.

  6. Igrowmyown says:

    Cressida Dick calls on retired officers to return, we’ll all be having our collars felt before long.

  7. peter soakel says:

    no comment) ker ching)

  8. Igrowmyown says:

    You haven’t seen a Bobby on the beat for decades,you will now,just don’t expect it to be for your benefit.

  9. Dirk says:

    Inaccuracies about the stock market. Baffling statements about a closed GM plant. Stating you can call coronavirus the flu.
    President Donald Trump on Friday continued the false and misleading claims that have become a part of White House briefings on coronavirus, wrapping up a week in which the number of confirmed cases across the country topped 100,000.
    We are still combing through the transcript, but here is the developing roundup:

    The real state of the stock market 22 days ago
    Trump claimed that 22 days ago, “everything was going beautifully” before the US got hit by what he calls “the invisible enemy.” He said, “22 days ago we had the greatest economy in the world, everything was going beautifully, the stock market hit an all-time high”
    Facts First: While the market had previously set all-time records under Trump, on March 5, 22 days before Trump’s comments, the Dow dropped 3.6% or 970 points, then its fifth-worst single-day point drop on record, adding to a 3,000-point drop since its peak on February 12. That day’s fall in the Dow followed drops of 1,000 points and 800 points earlier that week.
    How unforeseen the coronavirus crisis was
    Multiple times throughout Friday’s press briefing, the President claimed the current situation was unprecedented and unforeseen. According to Trump, “nobody was prepared for this,” not even past presidents. He added, “In all fairness to all of the former presidents, none of them ever thought a thing like this could happen.”
    Facts First: This is false. The US intelligence community and public health experts had warned for years that the country was at risk from a pandemic. Experts had also warned that the country would face shortages of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, if a pandemic occurred.
    You can read a full fact check here about some of the pandemic warnings. You can read a full fact check here about warnings about the need for additional ventilators in a pandemic.
    The former GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio
    As he did on Twitter earlier on Friday, Trump suggested at the briefing that General Motors should manufacture ventilators at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio.
    “…frankly, I think that would be a good place to build the ventilators, but we’ll see,” Trump said.
    Facts First: General Motors sold the shuttered Lordstown facility in November 2019. Trump had applauded the potential sale in a tweet in May 2019. Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said on Twitter after Trump’s Friday tweet but before the briefing: “General Motors sold Lordstown. If the President cared about its former workers, he would know that.”
    The coronavirus and the flu
    Trump said of the coronavirus: “You can call it a germ, you can call it a flu, you can call it a virus, you know you can call it many different names. I’m not sure anybody even knows what it is.”
    Facts First: You cannot accurately call the coronavirus “a flu.” They are, simply, different viruses with different characteristics, though they share some symptoms the coronavirus has a much higher mortality rate.
    Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday during an online chat with NBA star Stephen Curry that the coronavirus is “very much more transmissible than flu and more importantly, it’s significantly more serious” — with a mortality rate approximately 10 times higher than the 0.1% for the flu.
    It’s also obviously untrue that there is not “anybody” who knows what the coronavirus is. Though it was initially seen as a mystery virus when it emerged in China, we knew its genetic information by early January.
    New York and ventilators
    Trump said, “We sent thousands of ventilators to New York and they didn’t know about it at the time, they were complaining. Thousands. We had 2,000 and then 2,000 and then 4,000, and they were going there in large numbers.” Trump also said at the briefing that New York had been unaware of thousands of ventilators sitting in “a warehouse.”
    Facts First: There is no evidence that New York did not know ventilators had arrived from the federal government when Gov. Andrew Cuomo was demanding additional ventilators. “Not true,” New York state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday night. “We knew the ventilators arrived — and we need more ventilators. This is just the beginning of addressing the problem that we have.” Zucker specified that a total of 4,000 ventilators had been received, not the 8,000 Trump suggested here.
    Here’s a rough timeline of what happened.
    Cuomo said last weekend that the state needed 30,000 ventilators. Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that 400 ventilators had been secured for New York City. Cuomo replied at a news conference that 400 ventilators were not cause for self-congratulation, adding, “What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?” It was later on Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence announced that 2,000 additional ventilators had been shipped to New York that day and that 2,000 more would be shipped the following day.
    Cuomo told CNN on Friday that Trump was “incorrect and grossly uninformed” in his comments about New York having been unaware of a stockpile of ventilators sitting around in New York. Cuomo said the state does not need to dip into the stockpile at the moment; he said his estimate of 30,000 ventilators needed is about the expected peak of the crisis in approximately 21 days, not about the present moment.
    “So the point is, ‘Well they’re in a stockpile, you must not need them’ is just ignorant — of course you don’t need them today!” Cuomo said. “You need them when you hit the apex, which is 30,000. We’re not there yet.”
    Tariffs on China
    Trump said, “China pays 25% interest on $250 billion worth of product that they send in.”
    Facts First: Trump was inaccurately describing his 25% tariff on $250 billion worth of Chinese products. A tariff is, simply, not the same as “interest.” It is a tax paid by the importer — the American purchaser — not a charge paid by an entity that has borrowed money.

    Study after study has shown that Americans are bearing the cost of the tariffs; Americans make the actual tariff payments.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Facts First: You cannot accurately call the coronavirus “a flu.”
      Stay safe, Dirk! It really is NOT the flu!!! My youngest (runner, cyclist, so physically very fit!) is on day 5 and struggling right now as a “mild” case. It will take another 5 days to know which way this is going.
      If 55 year old Boris can run this country and emerges in a few days miraculously cured he hasn’t got this corona virus strain.

      For the rest here: Don’t miss Qanon today/tonight for more deep space… erm deep state revelations.

      • Rose says:

        I hope your youngest will recover soon, Brigitte and best wishes for you and your family.

      • Emily says:

        So sorry to hear it, Brigitte, best wishes for a speedy recover for your youngest.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Thank you very much!

        Here what my offspring told me this morning:
        Mum, I’ve had bad flu before. This is much worse. Takes the stuffing out of me. Taking paracetamol when the fever bouts come. Felt better yesterday but last night was horrible again.

        Can we please compare flu etc. death rates when this pandemic is over? It would make kind of sense.

        Currently the death rate is at 18% but at this point in time this means nothing.

      • Dirk says:

        Brigitte, I have been continuously living on the Indonesian island of Bali for the past 37 years. This is the tropics with an average annual temperature of 27.5 degrees Celsius, but most of the time it is 31 degrees like today and for the past 4 months. Fierce sunlight. I sit in the garden hoping that sunlight kills the virus. (I am not infected – yet)

        102 deaths so far in Indonesia, 2 on the island of Bali, but not many people are tested.

  10. Dirk says:

    Dear Brigitte, over here in Indonesia I predict a disaster


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