Covid-19 is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the newly emerged virus, SARS-CoV-2. The virus rapidly spread and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. By 26 May 2020, worldwide confirmed cases reached 5,543,439 with 347,836 deaths.1
“How many people have died in recent days from Covid-19 in English hospitals?” A simple enough question, but the issue of delayed reporting means the answer is riddled with uncertainty.
There is a saying, incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain, that states: “History never repeat itself but it rhymes”. Seeking to understand the implications of the current crisis for the effective use of data, I’ve drawn on the nineteenth-century cholera outbreak in London’s Soho to identify some “rhyming patterns” that might inform our approaches to data use and governance at this time of public health crisis.
This article explores what people mean when they talk about testing for Covid-19 and how we should interpret test results. There are two main types of tests: those that detect active infection, and those that test past infection.1
This note considers the different measures of the death toll in the UK due directly or indirectly to the Covid-19 epidemic. However, it ignores some important issues that contribute to differences between measures. For example, the official figures are published with differing frequencies and geographic coverage, there are conflicts between dates of death and dates of registration, and there are definitional and legal differences between the four countries of the UK. These are important but will make little difference in the final reckoning beyond 2020.