John Burn-Murdoch

John Burn-Murdoch


Stories, stats & scatterplots for @FinancialTimes | Currently working on bias in AI | john.burn-murdoch@ft.com | #dataviz

333223 followers  •  4339 follow  •    •   https://t.co/VZF28wenJw

Surprised by pushback to Boris Johnson’s comments that restrictions have played a key role in reducing UK Covid rates. Why do people think rates have fallen among unvaxxed groups? I always felt "lockdown effect" was implicit in these charts, but here it is explicitly labelled

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Of course, it’s very difficult to know exactly how big the lockdown effect is for several reasons, but we can now see from dozens of other countries how B.1.1.7 sends rates rising without restrictions, even among the age groups who have been mostly vaccinated. See France:

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Same is now clear in the US, too: With minimal restrictions in much of the US, hospitalisations have been rising again among under-50s as B.1.1.7 has taken hold. Vaccines produce the gap between those lines, but without restrictions in place, the lines can bend back upwards.

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And the impact of restrictions in the UK isn’t even new information. @ChrisGiles_  and I wrote about it two months ago when it was already clear lockdown was having an impact at least as large as vaccinations

None of this is to diminish the brilliance of vaccines, which remain absolutely ace. They’re already doing a fantastic job, and when they push us over the line to herd immunity that’s a total game-changer. Once you lock in herd immunity, restrictions become a thing of the past.

But we’re not there yet, and we were absolutely nowhere near there when UK rates began falling in January, which is why it’s so clear that it was restrictions that first sent rates downwards, with vaccines then joining the party and accelerating that decline.

But it really shouldn’t need saying that with a highly infectious virus spreading through the population (as it was in UK around Christmas), curtailing our mixing with others indoors has had a huge impact on reducing case rates, above and beyond the boost provided by vaccines.

NEW: the variant thought to be responsible for fuelling India’s grim second wave (B.1.617) has been found in the UK, and numbers are rising relatively quickly in Britain. Story from @AnnaSophieGross  & @JasmineCC_95  Quick thread on caveats:

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We don’t have sufficient evidence right now to say B.1.617 will continue its growth trend, and whether or not it does we don’t know whether it will set back the progress we’ve made on vaccinations. So for me, this goes in the "one to keep a very close eye on" bracket.

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NEW: a common response to reports of hospitals struggling this winter is "it’s no different to a bad flu season!" I’ve tracked down historical data on flu ICU admissions, including winter 2017-18, a record high. Here’s how England’s Covid winter compares to a bad flu season 📹

NEW: Friday 27 March update of coronavirus mortality trajectories • UK has more dead at this stage than any country except Spain & Italy ⚠️ • US now clearly more deaths than China or Iran, could soon pass France • India added Live version FREE TO READ

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NEW with @AndyBounds , @SarahNev  & @Laura_K_Hughes : The UK government’s published numbers of new cases at local authority level only include pillar 1 and *not* pillar 2 cases, meaning as many as 90% of new cases are missing from the data Thread:

New project: A “Bar Chart Race” animation showing the changing ranks of the 10 biggest cities in the world since 1500. Fascinating to watch giant cities vanish after falling in conquests, and amazing that three UK cities were in the top 8 in the late 1800s.

When lockdown is getting me down, I like to look at Israeli hospital data

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NEW: just updated our excess deaths figures, including data into April It’s abundantly clear that Latin America is the hardest-hit region in the world, with the five highest excess death rates globally. The UK is 21st out of 48 countries, and the US 24th

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