Weekly round-up: herd immunity statistics and seeing the future

According to the Daily Mail, *patience with Government Covid 19 restrictions is wearing thin in Britain. If the policies fail, presumably we will fall back on Herd Immunity. For a vaccine is a long, long way off as far as we can see. But is herd immunity a real scientific concept? Or do epidemiologists talk about something else? How is it calculated, and is it the same in all nations? Here Nature has a fascinating read for those who like to think, rather than taking everything at face value.


The false promise of herd immunity for COVID-19

The term ‘herd immunity’ used to be typically discussed as a desirable result of wide-scale vaccination programmes. During the pandemic, it has become a shorthand for allowing the coronavirus to run its course. It’s a shift that horrifies many public-health researchers. “We have never successfully been able to do it before, and it will lead to unacceptable and unnecessary untold human death and suffering,” says Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Nature digs deep into the misunderstandings that fuel the arguments in favour of the approach and sets out the relevant facts.

Nature | 11 min read

If we are going to understand epidemiology, or anything else, we all need to be more numerate. Mr Peter Seymour of Hertfordshire offers us two pieces towards the deeper understanding of statistics and people who think that they can predict the future. Especially Fund Managers!

The first, from the Wall Street Journal, tells the story of how some financial journalists outguessed a group of market experts


The second by blogger Philip Tetlock, looks at the deeper reasons why things go wrong. In the murky world of algorithms, models and statistics, it’s all about assumptions. Get these awry, and your whole massive effort, however well-intentioned, falls flat.


We think that is more than enough heavy reading for one weekend! Enjoy.

#algorithm #statistics #forecasting #covid19 #sars-cov- 2 #coronavirus #fundmanagers

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