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 Medical Research Council (MRC) Biostatistics Unit (BSU) regularly nowcast and forecast COVID-19 infections and deaths. This information feeds directly to SAGE sub-group, Scientific Pandemic Influenza sub-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.
What do COVID-19 deaths tell us about the epidemic?
England – estimated number of new COVID-19 infections England – Observed (red dots) and predicted deaths
The blue lines show when interventions have been introduced (lockdown on 23 Mar and the relaxation of measures on 11 May), and the red line shows the date these results were produced (31 July)
Report on Nowcasting and Forecasting – 6th August 2020
Report on Nowcasting and Forecasting – 29th July 2020
Report on Nowcasting and Forecasting – 13th July 2020
Report on Nowcasting and Forecasting – 6th July 2020
Report on Nowcasting and Forecasting – 1st July 2020
How many COVID-19 deaths have occurred?
COVID-19 death occurrences are subject to delay in reporting and the assessment of deaths by date of death is inevitably distorted by such delay. Any nowcast and forecast of COVID-19 deaths needs to consider the number of deaths occurred but not yet reported.
Report on Adjusting COVID-19 deaths to account for reporting delay – 17th June 2020
Report on Adjusting COVID-19 deaths to account for reporting delay – 26th April 2020
Report on Challenges in estimating the distribution of delay from COVID-19 death to report of death – 17th April 2020