Real-time tracking of a pandemic, as data accumulate over time, is an essential component of a public health response to a new outbreak. A team of statistical modellers at the MRC Biostatistics Unit are working with Public Health England (PHE) to regularly nowcast and forecast COVID-19 infections and deaths. This information feeds directly to SAGE sub-group, Scientific Pandemic Influenzasub-group on Modelling (SPI-M) and to regional PHE teams.
The work uses a transmission model, data on daily COVID-19 confirmed deaths from PHE (by NHS region and age group) and published information on the risk of dying and the time from infection to death, to reconstruct the number of new COVID-19 infections over time; estimate a measure of ongoing transmission (R); and predict the number of new COVID-19 deaths in different regions and age groups.
In the latest findings, published on the 5th June 2020, researchers, including Prof Daniela De Angelis, report:
- We estimate that across England there are 17,000 (11,000–25,000, 95% credible interval) new infections arising each day
- We estimate that the number of deaths each day is likely to fall to between 100–250 by mid-June
- We believe it is probable that Rt is below 1 in all regions of England with the exception of the North West and the South West
- In the South West, although Rt is around 1, the numbers of new infections occurring in the region on a daily basis is relatively low
- There is some evidence that Rt has risen in all regions and we believe that this is probably due to increasing mobility and mixing between households and in public and workplace settings
- An increase in Rt will lead to a slowdown in the decrease in new infections and deaths
- There is evidence, from the forecast of deaths for the whole of England, that the increases in the regional reproductive numbers may result in the decline in the national death rate being arrested by mid-June
To read the full report, click here