Coronavirus trajectory – UK due to be as bad as Italy in just 12 days time

18th March 2020 / United Kingdom

The facts and figures of Coronavirus are becoming more clear with every passing day. We now know a lot more about it than we did just two weeks ago and the beancounters and number-crunchers are uploading data by the ton into algorithms and programmes to make predictions of what we can expect and therefore how best to defend ourselves.

In the UK, we have a lot of people to be concerned about with regard to this outbreak. There are over 8 million people over the age of 70 and 21 million people with serious diseases, such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes and autoimmune disorders, that if infected could prove lethal.

There are half a million pregnant women and unsurprisingly –  55,000 give birth every month. In total, far from being worried just about the elderly nearly half of the entire population have increased risks.

We like to socialise and because of that, there are 63,000 restaurants and cafes, 39,000 pubs and nearly 8,000 clubs. All of that requires one and half million people to service it, which is why they are now grinding to a halt.

This is because we now know how this disease gets about. One person, having contracted coronavirus will infect on average just 2.5 people in five days – but thirty days later an average of 406 people are infected. Each one of them compounds the same numbers.

The power of social distancing is just as important to understand. With 50 per cent less exposure to normal (average) human interaction – just 15 people are infected after 30 days and with 75 per cent less exposure – just 2.5 people are infected. This is why a policy of social distancing was so important. Why the government failed to grasp this is still a mystery.

Italy has a similar population (60.5m) as Britain does at 66.4 million. In Italy, from patient number 100 reporting with coronavirus, it took just 23 days to reach 25,000. From the graph below, you can see Britain, like many many other European countries, are on the same trajectory. Where it stops is not yet known.



The Imperial College Covid-19 response team – which has been advising ministers – said that even with the “social distancing” plans set out by the British Government, the health system will be “overwhelmed many times over”. The forecast is something in the order of 250,000 deaths directly attributed to the coronavirus. That’s about half of all deaths from all causes in an average year in England wales.

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That number is still hard to believe no matter how many times we are told it. For context, 40,000 civilians were killed in Britain throughout World War 2, and about 27,000 people are seriously injured on British roads each year – unfortunately, 1750 die because of them. But mass bombing raids over several years such as was the Blitzkrieg and amassing all the collective coffins of the last 50 years of road fatalities pales into relative insignificance against a quarter of a million people in morgues in a few short months.

We need to brace ourselves for the coming shock. If this virus plays out as predicted we need to be considerate, sympathetic and warm-hearted to our own. Now is the time to show we are truly better than we have shown ourselves to be in the last few years.


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