Coronavirus may have already infected half of UK, study says
The leading person behind this finding is an expert in precisely this subject, so her conclusions carry more weight than most other pontifications on the subject.
And her prediction is highly congruent with what we know already: Lots of people are exposed to the virus but don't get ill. It seems highly likely that the people who get ill are a quite small fraction of the population. And those who die are an even smaller fraction. Given that, calculations of incidence have so far been much overblown. The numbers reported as adversely affected amount to less than 1% of the population and those who die are a tiny fraction of that.
In Australia only 11 people have died. What fraction of the 25 million population is that? It's totally insignificant.
And those who die all seem to be in risk groups anyhow. In Italy, the average age of those who have died is 80! And people in that age group frequently succumb to whatever flu is around that year. In Britain deaths were also in risk groups. 43 coronavirus deaths were recorded there on Wednesday 25th. But only one of those did not have an underlying health condition
Unless that radically changes, we must therefore conclude that the number of cases adversely affected may be no greater than what we see in a normal bout of the flu. The flu kills between 20,000 and 60,000 Americans every year. We are, in other words, moving heaven and earth to prevent something pretty normal and of no unusual concern.
In the whole of biology a trend never goes on forever. What we always see is an initial leap followed by either a flattening out or a steady decline. And exactly that will happen with the present infections. The big question, of course is WHEN will the infections stop increasing.
China has already experienced a cessation of new infections so from that datum we have to conclude that those adversely affected will be a very small percentage of the overall population.
We may however wonder how far we can trust the Chinese figures so the findings below are timely. They too lead to the view that only a small part of the population gets ill from the virus. So we now have two lines of evidence leading to the view that we are turning our world upside down for something very minor in the total scheme of things. If so, the rational course would be simply to let the virus run its course -- as we normally do with flu viruses
The rapidly spreading coronavirus may have already infected half the UK population — but that is encouraging news, according to a new study by the University of Oxford.
The modeling by researchers at Oxford’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease group indicates the COVID-19 virus reached the UK by mid-January at the latest, spreading undetected for more than a month before the first official case was reported in late February, the Financial Times reports.
But even though this suggests the spread is far worse than scientists previously estimated, it also implies that only one in a thousand people infected with COVID-19 requires hospitalization.
The researchers say this shows that herd immunity — the idea that the virus will stop spreading when enough of the population builds up resistance through becoming infected — can help fight the highly-contagious disease.
This view is in contrast to the Imperial College London modeling used by the UK government to develop policies to halt the crisis, including social distancing.
“I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology, who led the study, told the Financial Times.
If the Oxford model is confirmed by testing, Professor Gupta believes this means current restrictions could be removed much sooner than the government has indicated, the Financial Times reports.
The group is now working with colleagues at the Universities of Cambridge and Kent to start antibody testing to figure out what stage the epidemic is in and to assess protective immunity, according to the outlet.