Apr 2, 2020
The unfolding coronavirus
pandemic is a story driven by numbers. But how reliable are the
numbers we have? What can the data really tell us – and what are
the major areas of uncertainty?
In this special episode,
recorded on 1st April, Michael Blastland and Professor David
Spiegelhalter help us separate the signal from the
- Why the absolute
numbers of confirmed cases and deaths from Covid 19 are
dodgy, but the rate at which those numbers change
is still a useful indicator.
- Why Norway vs
Sweden is an unfolding natural experiment: neighbouring
countries with broadly similar populations, but Norway has gone
into strict lockdown and Sweden is being relatively
- There are usually around 600,000 deaths per year in the UK.
When we look back, will Covid 19 have caused many excess deaths –
or could the figures for 2020 end up looking similar to a
bad flu season?
- How can we think about our personal risk of
dying from Covid 19? David sets out how getting Covid 19 multiplies
your existing level of risk depending your age: it provides a
“pulse” of heightened risk over a short period.
Full transcript available at
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Risky Talk is produced by Ilan
Goodman for the Winton Centre for Risk
and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge.