“All those graphs that got put up at the press conference last Saturday, the projections were out of date at the time, they’re definitely out of date now. Sir David, statistician and chair of the Winton Centre for risk and evidence communication at the University of Cambridge, told BBC Radio’s 4 Today programme: “The infections are really broadly stable… but that stability covers up two things. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said an estimated 618,700 people in England – one in 90 – had Covid-19 between October 25 and 31, up from 568,100 the week before. Is this data suitable for what you’re trying to answer? England needed "dramatic action" to reduce the spread of coronavirus, despite the government's "ghastly" presentation of data used to justify the latest lockdown, a scientific expert has said. It spends a lot of time on problem solving, on things like: what are you trying to do? Now if this were a live audience, I’d be asking how many people have done stats courses. What do they mean? By using this site, you agree we can set and use cookies. How do mRNA coronavirus vaccines work? My book The Art of Statistics takes a very different approach. It’s amazing how far you can get without ever doing any fancy statistical methods or using probability theory or the sample distribution of the sample mean and all this sort of stuff we all had to endure – and which I’ve always taught, of course. If people put their hand up, I’d ask how many people actually enjoyed them, and most of the hands would go down. There is positive signs however, with new data which shows the rate of infections across England and Wales appears to be slowing down. The armed forces have been brought in to the city to help deliver the scheme, which uses lateral flow tests to deliver results in under an hour for people who are not showing symptoms of the virus. 4 min read An article by Nick Triggle on BBC Online raises the issue of whether many deaths from COVID-19 would have occurred anyway as … Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said the NHS would struggle to deal with increased Covid-19 hospitalisations and cases without new measures tougher than the three-tier system. Meet NASA's latest Mars Rover: Will Perseverance find life in 2021? • David Spiegelhalter is a statistician and professor of the public understanding of risk. Covid: How has the furlough scheme changed and what support is available for self-employed? Covid: Daily death projections shown at lockdown press conference revised down by 500 following 'error', Covid infection rate slowing but still rising, data shows. British nationals or residents who are returning to the UK either directly or indirectly from the country are now required to self-isolate along with all other members of their household, until two weeks have passed since they were last there. YOUR risk of dying from coronavirus is the "roughly the same as your annual risk", a top expert says. “That one (the slide about 4,000 deaths) was really ghastly – that was out of date when shown. Europe heads inexorably back to near total lockdown as Covid cases rise. It was never meant to be part of any formal document, it was leaked early and then it was part of the briefing to MPs.”. Senior statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter told MPs ministers picked worst-case scenarios which were often based on old data as they prepared their case for tighter COVID-19 restrictions. But it has tended to be taught in the past as a series of formulae and tests and regression and things like that. THERE IS a quote from Nate Silver about statistics which I think is very nice: “The numbers have no way of speaking for themselves. But while the infection rate has increased in recent weeks, “the rate of increase is less steep compared with previous weeks”, the ONS said. For more details of these cookies and how to disable them, see our cookie policy. I love statistics, I think it’s great. Alex Freeman is the executive director of the Winton Centre. It’s something we’ve all been dealing with over the past few months with covid-19: can we believe these numbers? The immune system: can you improve your immune age? The search for the origin of life: From panspermia to primordial soup. The universe is expanding too fast, and that could rewrite cosmology, The race to find and stop viruses that could cause the next pandemic, Covid-19 news: UK R number below 1.0 for the first time since August, AI can turn spoken language into photorealistic sign language videos, We seem to find larger animals more charismatic than small ones. “Those sorts of levels, even if they stay very stable and below the first peak of the virus, unless they start dropping, we are stuck with those for months and it seems to me and others that that’s not going to be sustainable in terms of what the health service can deal with.”. That makes me upset. The key is what is called the “data cycle”. David Spiegelhalter: How to be a coronavirus statistics sleuth. Sign up to read our regular email newsletters, During the covid-19 pandemic we've been bombarded with stats – making it more important than ever to understand what the numbers can and can't tell us. You don’t start off with data, you …. “If this is going to go down, it is going to go down very slowly unless some dramatic action is taken, which has been taken. Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said the NHS would struggle to deal with increased Covid-19 hospitalisations and cases without new measures tougher than the three-tier system. Professor David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of … A group of academics said the potential for “harmful diversion of resources and public money is vast”, and warned the half-a-billion-pound project could be a “costly failure”. From 4am on Saturday, all non-British national or resident travellers who have been in or transited through Denmark in the last 14 days will be denied entry into the UK. There were also a further 23,287 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9am. Existing subscribers, please log in with your email address to link your account access. data shared by public health officials used to justify the lockdown, rate of infections across England and Wales appears to be slowing down, Denmark was removed from the Government’s list of travel corridors due to widespread outbreaks of Covid-19 in its mink farms. A total of 64,170 deaths involving Covid-19 have now occurred in the UK, according to figures produced by statistical agencies. After Denmark was removed from the Government’s list of travel corridors due to widespread outbreaks of Covid-19 in its mink farms, the Government has announced it is also imposing immigration powers against foreign visitors from the country. Do Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine results stand up to scrutiny? The Government also said it is expanding the self-isolation requirements for Denmark. A further 355 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday, according to Government figures. Double climate disaster may have ended ancient Harappan civilisation, CRISPR gene editing of brain cells might prevent Alzheimer's disease. What can we conclude from it? • This article was amended on 1 & 8 May 2020. Science with Sam explains. We speak for them, we imbue them with meaning.” You can’t just collect some data and it’ll tell you the answer. The UK has the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 … Meanwhile, hundreds of people have been tested as part of a pilot mass coronavirus testing programme in Liverpool, with queues outside new test centres. During the covid-19 pandemic we've been bombarded with stats – making it more … Sir David was critical of the data shared by public health officials used to justify the lockdown, calling the information shown at last Saturday’s press conference suggesting a possible peak of 4,000 deaths a day a “mess”.