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

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Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

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: there is plenty of the virus to go around, but we are not yet at the levels that put us into Level 5, and we are far below where many of our EU neighbours are. …


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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Photo by Lydia Matzal on Unsplash

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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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

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 cannot do anything more. For months we have been carefully observing social distancing guidelines, wearing masks when we are indoors, trying to avoid poorly ventilated spaces, and we have eliminated home visits from friends and family. And yet still we are back in lockdown. …


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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Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

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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Photo by Brett Meliti on Unsplash

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 severe, but not only because of this, because severity has decreased across all age groups. …


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

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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.

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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?

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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

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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 tests during the peaks of spring. …


On the Probability of SARS-CoV2 Infection in Ireland & the Benefits of Mitigation

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Photo by Aldric RIVAT on Unsplash

In Ireland today, we have a certain chance of becoming infected with the coronavirus over the course of the next week, unless we take precautions. We can roll this many sided dice once a week for 100 weeks, and hope that our number doesn’t ever come up, or we can take a few simple precautions and only roll the dice one time. That’s the difference wearing a mask, keeping our distance, and behaving sensibly makes. That’s the choice most of us can make to keep everyone safe. I think it’s a simple choice.

We are used to hearing about case numbers and test positivity rates but what do they mean in terms of the probability of infection today, or this week, or over the next few weeks? In this article we will attempt to calculate a daily probability of infection in the hope that it will help people to calibrate their behaviours, preventing some from becoming overly anxious, because of an inflated sense of risk, while ensuring others don’t behave too carelessly if the misjudge the level of risk in the other direction. Moreover, by turning numbers of cases into probabilities of infection, we can compare countries more effectively and better quantify how various mitigation efforts work to reduce our risk of infection. …

About

barrysmyth

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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