Sunday, May 10, 2020

More Data

The United Kingdom has now overtaken Italy to have Europe's highest number of virus deaths.

Now of course we have to be very careful with crude numbers like this. Not every country counts the deaths in the same way, there are misdiagnoses and miscounts and false positives and all the rest of it.

But none the less I feel very disappointed that our country has had so many deaths compared to say Germany. I don't what the reasons are, and no doubt one day there will be a lengthy and very costly public enquiry that will examine the data in minute detail. For now here are my guesses, in no particular order:

High population density - South East England has some of the most densely populated parts of Europe, if not the world.

London - London is one of the world's largest cities with an extraordinary ethnic mix of people, all crammed together and using a large but very crowded public transport system. 

Minority groups - some minority groups, notably Blacks and Asians seem to have an unfortunate vulnerability to the disease. Despite The Guardian's  best efforts, it looks like this is due to genetics more than discrimination.

Care homes - lots of our elderly people go into care homes when they're fragile and vulnerable. This may be in contrast to other countries with more common extended families such as Italy.

But all the above points are really educated speculation; we need more data, and lots of it to be able test theories. At the moment, at least to the general public, this data isn't available.

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