An Analysis of 7-Day Cases by Age Group during Christmas Week

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COVID concern is justifiably high at the moment here in Ireland, what with all of the indicators moving in the wrong direction, and our UK neighbours struggling with a new and more contagious strain of the virus, leading to travel bans and the sudden re-imposition of more strict lockdown conditions for many UK residents.

The slightly good news is that it looks like we may have done just enough in October/November to get us through Christmas Day because, at least for now, we have not yet reached the peak virus levels we saw back in October. Don’t get me wrong…

An exit-analysis as restrictions are lifted during Ireland’s second COVID-19 wave, and what this means for Christmas and beyond.

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Now that we know how restrictions will be lifted in Ireland over the coming weeks, and with a special COVID edition of the Late Late Toy Show behind us — truly a Toy Show for the ages — it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. That’s great. Just what we need. But we also need to continue to be very careful over the coming weeks.

In this post I will look at how we have managed in wave 2 and what it means as we look forward to this very unusual COVID Christmas. …

Why we need help to overcome our congitive biases if we are to live safely with the coronavirus.

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Over the weekend I have been thinking a lot about what happens next, as we come out of Level 5, and whether we might be able to live safely with the virus, rather than bounce in and out of further lockdowns. Let’s face it, we have not been doing so well to date, and the economic and social costs are mounting to say the least. Can we really afford yet another lockdown in the new year to pay for the inevitable excesses of Christmas?

But what is to be done? After all, so many of us feel that we simply…

What an analysis of millions of marathon race records reveals about marathon pacing based on sex, age and ability.

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Hitting the wall is the great leveller in the marathon. Whether you are a fast runner or a slow runner it will stop you in your tracks just the same, but the cruelest trick of fate is that you are much more likely to hit the wall precisley when you are chasing a new personal-best.

There’s a bit of a story behind this work. I’m a computer scientist (I’m probably best described as a data scientist these days) which means I love working with code and data. I’m also a runner which means I enjoy running long distances, reading about…

Why we needed to move from Level 3 to Level 5 and why we need to change the way we think about virus transmission.

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Recently I wrote a piece about whether Level 3 restrictions in Ireland would be sufficient to bring transmission rates back under control. I was tentatively optimistic, because of some early positive indications from Dublin and Donegal, where Level 3 restrictions had already been in place for some time. But it was always going to depend on how well, and how quickly, we reined in the sort of behaviours that had led us to Level 3 in the first place. …

Why & how Ireland’s second COVID-19 wave differs from the frst.

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In Ireland, we are well into the second coronavirus wave, along with the rest of Europe, but it is surprising to see just how different this wave appears to be, when compared with the first wave. Despite the fact that both waves have been similar in duration, and have produced a comparable number of confirmed cases, they differ in terms of the age profile and severity of cases, because of the actions we have taken.

  • Wave 1 was dominated by older and more severe cases. Wave 2 cases skew much younger, and as a result cases have been far less…

The road to Level 3 for Dublin and where it may lead.

Photo by Nicholas Chester-Adams on Unsplash

If we are not all in this together, then we are not in it at all.

By way of a follow-up to Friday’s post, which discussed some of the early signs that Level 3 lockdowns are working in Dublin and Donegal, this post takes a closer look at Dublin’s recent COVID history, to chart the ups and downs of the recent numbers. …

A look at what we have learned from recent restrictions and their ability to change the course of the virus.

Will our current Level 3 restrictions allow us to regain some control over this virus? Or will they only serve to delay a move to Level 5? This is a question that has dominated the past few days.

Obviously we don’t know what the future will hold, and it can be difficult to detect whether things are improving, especially when we focus on numbers of daily cases, which only seem to go up. …

Would Lockdown Level 5 Really Fix our COVID Problem?

Photo by Dmytro Pidhrushnyi on Unsplash

Updated: 7/10/2020 to adjust the time for confirmed cases to be hospitalised from 7 days to 14 days and from confirmed cases to fatalities from 14 days to 28 days.

Over the last couple of days there has been a flurry of reporting and speculation about Ireland’s current COVID status and what it will mean for our lockdown level, not to mention the prospect of a leap to Level 5. The airwaves lit up with argumnets for and against this, but often without the supporting evidence. …

An analysis of confirmed cases and estimated infections in Ireland in September 2020

Photo by Will Turner on Unsplash

At the time of writing the 7-day rolling average of confirmed cases in Ireland was just over 200 cases per day and growing. Given that our peak was 903 cases per day back in April, this suggests we are now exceeding 22% of this peak. Some people have questioned whether this is a fair comparison, and there are reasons to believe that it may not be:

  1. We are much better at finding cases now than we were in April, because our testing infrastructure is a lot better; tests have reached approximately 10,000 tests per day recently, compared with about 5,000…


Professor of Computer Science at University College Dublin. Focus on AI/ML and recommender systems, with applications in e-commerce, media, and health.

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