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Winter is coming, but it is not here yet

At the end of last month we shared some analysis of COVID-19 hospitalisation rates, thanks to ECDC and US Covid-Net. Three weeks on (Week 37 ended on 14 September) and there are clear signs of exponential growth in the numbers in hospital in different countries across Europe, whilst those in the USA continue to fall.

This table shows how far we are below the peaks that we saw in the first wave in April & May. But temperatures are starting to fall across Europe and it becomes clear why many are getting worried.

Lockdowns will undoubtedly reduce the spread of the virus as before - but the real questions are 1) how vulnerable is the population this time, 2) how much lower would Rt be thanks to changes in behaviour (masking, social distancing, hygiene) and 3) how much more effective is our management and treatment of COVID-19. The challenge facing us is assembling and communicating, effectively and convincingly, the many different strands of research, both completed and ongoing, to put any policy decisions in context.

With that in mind, we will be posting daily between now and Christmas on research that illuminates one of these key questions. We look forward to hearing your perspectives and insights.

Winter is coming. Valar dohaeris.

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