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Coronametrics: The UK turns the corner

Adam Golinski and Peter Spencer

Discussion Papers from Department of Economics, University of York

Abstract: There are many ways of analyzing the progress of an epidemic, but when it comes to short term forecasting, it is very hard to beat a simple time series regression model. These are good at allowing for the noise in day to day observations, extracting the trend and projecting it forward. Our regression models are designed to exploit this, using the daily statistics released by PHE and NHSE. These strongly suggest that the tide has turned and that taking one day with the next, the national figures for deaths from this virus will now fall back noticeably, easing the pressure on the NHS and its staff. There is still a huge range of uncertainty associated with any forecast. The model is currently predicting a total of 113,000 admissions to UK hospitals by the end of April and that 19,000 people will die from the virus in English hospitals by then. There is a 1 in 20 chance that the mortality figures could flatten out more quickly, with around 1,000 more deaths occurring by the end of April. However, there is the same risk that this figure continues to mount, rising to a total of 24,000 by the end of the month. On current trends, the number of deaths in the UK is likely to be 10% higher than the number in England. Longer term, the impact of the virus will depend critically upon the likely relaxation of the current government strategy of suppression.

Date: 2020-04
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