Thursday 19 March 2020

British Chief Scientific Advisor thinks there might be a 'death rate of one fatality for every 1,000 cases'

The British Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance answered questions from the House of Commons'  Health and Social Care Select Committee on Tuesday afternoon. The Committee chairman Jeremy Hunt asked him whether the expected death rate was one fatality for every 1,000 cases, which would mean that there is "potentially 55,000 cases".

Sir Patrick replied: 

"We've tried to get a handle on that in SAGE (the scientific advisory group for emergencies) and if you put all the modelling information together, that's a reasonable ballpark way of looking at it. It's not more accurate than that."

Let's hope the mortality rate is 1 in 1,000, the same rate as for flu. Disregard numbers of coronavirus cases reported in different countries, because they largely reflect how many people in a country were tested. This is why rich or important people, like the new Romanian Prime Minister, are announcing that they have the virus. They undergo tests. Figures for deaths are very much much accurate.


  1. Stockpile aphrodisiacs

    From vintage Dom Perignon to salted caramel truffles from Charbonnel et Walker, now is a good time to ensure that your pantry is fully stocked with everything you need for a romantic tete-à-tete behind closed doors. Feeling really extravagant? You may want to invest in a dozen oysters too - but freeze them immediately to guarantee their freshness.

    Love in the time of Coronavirus
    The Tatler guide to dating during a pandemic

  2. Choose your partner wisely

    Someone with a medical degree might come in handy, answering all your burning questions, but equally, don’t expect to see them much. Someone who has inherited their wealth would also be a wise choice, as their assets aren’t so dependent on the global economy and its current state of free-fall. Better yet? Try long-distance. Go for someone on another continent: you'd never have to see them anyway.

  3. Adhere to a kissing ban

    To curb the spread of Coronavirus, social distancing measures are being actively encouraged... it’s never been cooler to be chaste.
    The key message here? Make them wait for that all-important first kiss.

  4. If we assume that case fatality rate among individuals infected by SARS-CoV-2 is 0.3% in the general population — a mid-range guess from my Diamond Princess analysis — and that 1% of the U.S. population gets infected (about 3.3 million people), this would translate to about 10,000 deaths. This sounds like a huge number, but it is buried within the noise of the estimate of deaths from “influenza-like illness.” If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR tests, the number of total deaths due to “influenza-like illness” would not seem unusual this year. At most, we might have casually noted that flu this season seems to be a bit worse than average. The media coverage would have been less than for an NBA game between the two most indifferent teams.

    A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data
    John P.A. Ioannidis is professor of medicine, of epidemiology and population health, of biomedical data science, and of statistics at Stanford University and co-director of Stanford’s Meta-Research Innovation Center.

  5. "As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data"

    There's one thing you can be certain of in a time like this. Politicians will make decisions based on political considerations. Their main objectives are going to be to save their own political careers, advance the interests of their party and advance their political agenda. Whether their actions will actually be good for the country is of no concern to them.

    And in order to save their own political skins they have to be seen to be doing something. Anything.