What Became of the Graph of Doom?

Prof Carl Heneghan and his colleagues at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine have been taking a look at the daily case numbers and comparing them to the prediction projection made by Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance last month. Readers will recall that in the Graph of Doom, Witless and Unbalanced warned that we could reach 50,000 daily cases by October 13th. That’s tomorrow, folks. So how did the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer do? The original CEBM post was written on September 28th, but the data on the graph was updated on October 11th.

Last week, Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientist, said: ‘At the moment we think that the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.’

We reported last week on the rule of four on how to make sense of COVID cases. The Government’s data today shows that cases assessed by specimen date have not yet doubled over 21 days. On the 23 Sep they were 4,914 compared to 2,614 on 2 Sep – 88% higher, but not yet double.

Vallance said “If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days… if that continued, you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.

We put the doubling to the test by creating a tracker of the projection. At the moment there is a significant divergence in the case data with the 49,000 cases that were projected by the 13 Oct. We will keep this tracker up to date to monitor the changes.

The seven-day moving average takes account of four days before and three days after to provide an estimate and takes into account the latest reporting – the specimen date takes five days to stabilise and therefore lags the current reporting by this amount.

It’s just as well Witless and Unbalanced didn’t become weather forecasters.

Stop Press: David Patton, a lockdown sceptic on Twitter, has found some data showing that in several university towns the number of daily new cases is declining.