Upcoming Surge In Deaths To Rival Or Exceed Last Winter?

Data Dog

I've created a spreadsheet that appears to accurately predict deaths in the short term based on an estimated 24 day lag time between confirmed cases and deaths.

This simple mathematical function indicates that over the course of the next month we could see a peak in deaths that rivals or exceeds the carnage from last year, even in nations with good vaccination rates such as the US and the UK.

I'm attaching plots for those nations with traces for the confirmed cases and the actual versus predicted deaths. This is no magic model. It's dirt simple and robust, with no state variables or feedback, and apparently also amazingly accurate.

I fine-tuned the lag time by evaluating the match between predicted vs actual deaths by eye. I also added two 'anchors' to better align the lag time to the early pandemic before testing became widespread when people were dying in hospital waiting rooms with zero advance notice of confirmed case. The lag time ramps up linearly from zero to maximum based on those two 'anchors'.

I'm attaching two plots each for these two nations, one with the full pandemic time series and another zoomed in from last winter's peak through today. The markers are set to the cases and predicted deaths that apply to today's prediction, so that you can see where we currently are on this trajectory.

According to my spreadsheet, this coming carnage is already baked in based upon the confirmed cases to-date. It's as if these people are already dead and just don't know it yet.

The principle unknown are how much vaccination and Omicron are improving the case fatality rate in the very short term. It is possible that a dramatic shift in the case fatality rate could perturb the predictive capability of the function. Since it relies upon the lag time of 24 days, there's a 48 day window where abrupt shifts in trends could perturb the result. News reports I've seen don't indicate that either vaccinations or the penetration of Omicron have dramatically changed the outlook in the short term. I'm expecting that this coming surge of deaths is at least partially real, and that my predictive function is keeping up with the trends. Improvement in case fatality rate over the past two years as treatments and vaccines were rolled out don't appear to have dramatically perturbed the historical performance of this predictive function. Delays in testing and reporting seem to be more of a factor, as indicated by abrupt excursions in the US data during/ following the holidays and also during/following the January 6th insurrection.

Recent deaths data in the US and the UK indicate that the uptick in deaths has already begun. This increase is clearly visible in the raw deaths data in my plots, doesn't show up in my symmetrical weighted 13 day running average deaths trace because there's a 6 day processing delay inherent in that averaging function and it's nearly a week behind this uptick. I chose that averaging function because it maximally preserves signal integrity while keeping the averaged trace time-aligned to the raw trace and also maximally flattens the weekly reporting cycle without overly suppressing detail in the traces. This allows the predictive function to closely follow the actual deaths with good fidelity and keeps the plots easily discernible while preserving as much information as possible.

I would have posted this data sooner if it was ready. I've been developing this spreadsheet since the beginning of the pandemic and it wasn't until this week that I finally got it working to the level where I felt confident in the results. I haven't seen anything similar anywhere else. The complicated epidemiological models don't provide such an accurate short-term prediction and the one at IHME isn't automatically updating. With my formula, I just download the latest data and the result is instantly available. It doesn't require any tweaking.

I'm using the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 cases/deaths time series database and the Our World In Data Covid-19 testing database. There's no mathematical magic and no super genius involved in this spreadsheet. Compared to what epidemiologists routinely do with their modeling, it's trivial. I'm amazed at how well it works. I wasn't expecting it to conform so closely to reality, but apparently when the pandemic data is good, so is the predictive capability of my spreadsheet.

I'll post updates as I improve the spreadsheet with more nations. I haven't added the two 'anchors' for other nations yet and I've recently rewritten the entire spreadsheet from scratch to clarify and simplify it. I'm hoping to eventually add it to GitHub where I'm getting my data from. My first version from nearly two years ago wasn't useful and was poorly received by the experts. Maybe now it's nearly ready for prime time?

Attachments

• 49.4 KB Views: 9
• 46.2 KB Views: 9
• 38.9 KB Views: 8
• 46.2 KB Views: 8

Data Dog

Here’s the closest I can find online to my predictive formula. The author time-shifted cases to align with deaths.

What I’m doing is taking a ratio of that time-aligned cases and deaths data and using that ratio to predict future deaths from current cases. I’m doing the same with the number of tests performed in place of cases.

Then I’m averaging the results of the two predictive functions and tweaking the time shift for optimal alignment. I think 21 days is too short. I think the actual lag is closer to 24 based on my results. I also think my method is more useful because it automatically scales itself over time with no user intervention required.

Data Dog

So after starting this thread I noticed two things. First, apparently cases in the UK may have already peaked (plainly visible in my plots above) and the predicted deaths aren't nearly what they were last winter, only 1/4, according to my function.. Second, I just heard on KQED that 98% of cases in the US are Omicron as of today and none of the patients have required ventilators, plus the rise in cases in the US recently is so steep as to potentially upset the accuracy of my predictive function.

Maybe it's not as bad as it looks at first glance. We'll just have to wait and see...

Meanwhile, the page that drew my attention to KQED is one indicating a dramatic decrease in US lifespan that is attributed principally to Covid-19.

Hayseed

Data Dog, I have a question. How much faith do you have in the data that you are using?

Data Dog

Well science isn’tabout faith. The stats in the US and UK are known good, comparatively. Stats from Russia, India, etc are known to be less comprehensive.

The fact that it is possible to apply my simple formula and achieve good correlation between cases and deaths indicates at a minimum that errors are at least systematic rather than random.

I’ve been consideringIHME data too. They are further along in the analysis and modeling, and they publish plots with traces that are based on reported stats and ‘actual’ numbers that are estimated from test positivity, orders for caskets and urns, etc.

Final stats on disease always include adjustments for known inadequacies in reported cases and deaths. IHME is making these adjustments in real time to correct errors that perturb their models. It may prove beneficial for my formula too or at least make the magnitude more a reflection of reality.

The truth is that these numbers are always lacking and that’s why epidemiologists include wide margins of error in their final estimates, regardless of what aspect of health they are reporting on. Numbers are better than ever with computers and Internet so we probably have a far better grasp of facts today than we did 25 or 50 or 100 years ago.

Data Dog

The rapid increase in cases and the plunging Case Fatality Rate of Omicron upset the accuracy of the extrapolating prediction function I was using and the result was a significant exaggeration of the predicted deaths in the short term.

I changed the function to use either cases, testing, or both for the prediction, depending on which one produced the most accurate prediction. The basis for the prediction is carried forward in the most recent portion of the trace where the confirmed deaths have not yet occurred for the most recently confirmed cases.

The output of the function is more noisy in the recent past but it aligns better with the actual deaths and likely is a better short-term prediction:

The raw deaths data (ragged pink trace) indicates that the US has passed the peak deaths and is on the way down. The extrapolated prediction of future deaths (red trace) concurs.

The US extrapolated predicted deaths trace seems to indicate that the current peak is likely to top out at 75% of last winter's peak. However, that's not the full story, because events abroad indicate more trouble is coming our way.

The UK is experiencing a resurgence due to a new Omicron subvariant:

"Sublineages and BA.2 subvariant

Researchers have established the existence of three sublineages of Omicron. The 'standard' sublineage is now referred to as BA.1/B.1.1.529.1, and the two other sublineages are known as BA.2/B.1.1.529.2 and BA.3/B.1.1.529.3.[46] They share many mutations, but also significantly differ. BA.1 and BA.2 share 32 mutations, but differ by 28.[47] This makes them as different as some other major variants,[48] and it has been suggested that BA.2 should receive its own name based on the Greek alphabet.[47]"

The increase in confirmed cases is the most abrupt yet. The UK has not yet seen the peak in deaths from this new Omicron subvariant, but the extrapolated prediction indicates it will be more severe than the prior peak from the original Omicron variant by perhaps 40%:

That new Omicron subvariant could cause deaths per 100K in the UK to exceed the US in the short term, according to my revised extrapolating prediction function:

A significant factor in this predicted reversal of deaths per 100K is the Case Fatality Rate in the US reaching parity with the UK recently:

The parity in CFR could be due to a recent uptick in the number of people getting their first vaccine dose. This is the only vaccination metric in the US that recently achieved parity with the UK:

Perhaps the most significant factor in surviving the oncoming Omicron subvariant is how recently a person was vaccinated? If so, that means booster doses are critical to saving life as vaccine immunity rapidly fades. Or maybe the simple act of getting that first jab is the most important factor in surviving the new Omicron subvariant?

Another factor in the reversal of predicted deaths per 100K is the cases per 100K in the UK recently exceeding the US. With more cases, deaths will likely increase too:

When that Omicron subvariant saturates the US, it could cause a lot of damage.

"While there is currently no evidence that the BA.2 lineage is more severe than the BA.1 lineage, experts have warned that BA.2 could extend the current wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.S."

If that new peak in deaths due to the Omicron subvariant in the US also becomes 40% higher than the most recent Omicron peak, the deaths/day/100K could exceed last winter's peak, topping out near 1.08 this winter:

vs 1.00 last winter:

It looks as if my original prediction of Omicron deaths meeting or exceeding last winter's peak is on track, despite the exaggeration in the original function. The situation is not as bad as it first appeared, but it's still bad.

I'll post another update after the Omicron subvariant does its damage to document how well my prediction tracked reality.

I think the most salient factor in this analysis is the recent plunge in Case Fatality Rate. The degree of penetration of new vaccines combined with lower lethality of new variants are the two things that our public health officials said would happen as life gets 'back to normal'. It appears that we are well on our way and that's a good sign, despite the high number of deaths.

Meanwhile in other news some Democratic governors are relaxing mask mandates this month. I guess they agree that things are getting 'back to normal'. Hopefully new variants are even less lethal and Covid-19 becomes just another common cold soon.

Last edited:

Data Dog

As of February 4, IHME modeling and simulation still doesn't indicate a resurgence in US deaths from the Omicron subvariant that is making the rounds in the UK:

There is a lot more expertise behind their work, however, they have been consistently conservative in their modeling. I'm not sure how well I trust their short-term predictions compared to mine.

They don't have the most recent peak in UK cases in their simulation yet either. Their modeling lags reality significantly:

The advantage of my simplistic function is that it provides immediate results.

I guess we will see who is right.

My simplistic extrapolation doesn't indicate a resurgence in the US either because the new Omicron subvariant isn't yet represented in the cases, but that won't stop me from speculating based on what my extrapolation portends for the UK.

EDIT: It appears that I was mistaken about the Omicron subvariant. The UK has reverted to BA.1 so it's a resurgence of the original:

Last edited:

Roj5

I'm not sure how well I trust their short-term predictions compared to mine.

" I've created a spreadsheet that appears to accurately predict deaths"
"plunging Case Fatality Rate of Omicron upset the accuracy of the extrapolating prediction function I was using and the result was a significant exaggeration"
"The situation is not as bad as it first appeared, but it's still bad."

Don't forget that countries [science] report predictions to allow governments to implement actions... If deaths start to rise unexplained, the prediction will show an ever increasing curve and government will make a change e.g. lockdowns.
Your position is based on historical figures and will typically predict what would happen had government not taken action but will be along the lines of what science had previously reported.

In a simple format, what do you predict the USA weekly average (cases/ deaths reported) to be (assuming the week ends Fridays) for the following. I have made my estimate too for the craic.

18Feb22 165000 (1900)
25Feb22 145000 (1650)
04Mar22 110000 (1650)
11Mar22 70000 (1500)

Roj5

This simple mathematical function indicates that over the course of the next month we could see a peak in deaths that rivals or exceeds the carnage from last year, even in nations with good vaccination rates such as the US and the UK.
Looking at the link below, the peak in deaths was significantly less than the previous Winter peak.

As your post was 12 January 2022 (reporting significantly less deaths than 12 January 2021) , how was your model reporting incorrectly after an hour?

Hayseed

I don't think faith and trust mean much any more. The last several years have demonstrated a complete lack of any standards. It's been one lie after another. And I don't think covid is the only thing they have been lying about.

They make up false threats, to give them power and purpose. These are very empty people.

Roj5

And I don't think covid is the only thing they have been lying about.
In your opinion and not from a scientific origin?

Roj5

I agree with you! [Data Dog, I have a question. How much faith do you have in the data that you are using? ]
I currently have reservations about Data Dog's methodology as they seem to report after-the-fact.

Hayseed

"In your opinion and not from a scientific origin?"

It's from a long lost concept my parents first taught me. Then from my teachers, college and university professors. It use to be called the primary purpose of education, but now is referred to as conspiracy theories.

We called it free critical thinking and expression. But not taught or practiced for decades. Cloning dogma seems to be the purpose now.

Anyhow, that's where it comes from. When you see decade after decade of false and fake agendas and policies, their not too hard to spot.

Roj5

Anyhow, that's where it comes from. When you see decade after decade of false and fake agendas and policies, their not too hard to spot.
I would day it is a human behavioural science... When a claim is made, you would hope that if people are able to evaluate it as false in the future that they would be able to evaluate it the present.
Whilst human behaviour is so driven by financial gain, then the cycle of distrust will continue...

You;ll have to excuse me as I am from the UK so I may not be accurate in my facts, but the principle is my main point.

The pledge of building a wall between America and Mexico at the expense of Mexico.

The border is around 2000 miles... Can it be said that he broke his promise or would it be reasonable to consider that it wouldn't be a realistic aim to achieve in 3.5 years unless more essential parts of America were to suffer such as infrastructure.
Believing that Mexico would pay up money to pay for the wall should really sound alarm bells.... I would hope people would consider that America would be appointing and managing the contractors and expecting Mexico to agree for errors, mismanagement etc...

People believe what they want to hear and disregard the claims of what is realistic... The people behind the main person see the popularity and support it further with the hope of implementing at least some realistic changes and hoping the public support doesn't wain.

In the UK (and other countries) there has been a big push for Green Policy to be implemented and changes on emissions etc..., however the vote for the parties that would implement this is typically less than the people protesting.

The joys of behavioural science.

Hayseed

Yes human behavior is perplexing. I disagree with every statement you made about it.

Roj5

Yes human behavior is perplexing. I disagree with every statement you made about it.
You disagree people vote for what benefits them and believe they are victims of unrealistic promises.

Hayseed

I disagree with your comprehension of human behavior and motive, and therefore your comprehension of human endeavors. I comprehend existence in this reality, in a different fashion than you do.

Roj5

I disagree with your comprehension of human behavior and motive, and therefore your comprehension of human endeavors. I comprehend existence in this reality, in a different fashion than you do.
Ok... I was trying to make it scientific to keep within the forum rules, but...

"When you see decade after decade of false and fake agendas and policies, their not too hard to spot. "

Why do you Americans keep promoting and ultimately putting people in power with fake agendas and policies? Are the population unable to identify this or are these the best people available for the role?

Hayseed

It's a matter of comprehension. It's the information YOU select, and the way you put all of it together in your mind. Comprehension is unique to every person. It's what makes you, you.

So, what is a danger to you, is a blessing for me. For instance. With all the information I can gather, the increase in CO2, without the predicted temperature rise, shows me that global warming is a blessing, not a threat. And that science is wrong about earth's environment. From what I find, this earth has been starving for CO2 for millions of years.

Some even believe the information from the media or academia to comprehend and form their opinions and judgements. I trust neither.

It might be from being raised in the country setting, we learned to recognize manure, at an early age.

Roj5

It's a matter of comprehension. It's the information YOU select, and the way you put all of it together in your mind. Comprehension is unique to every person. It's what makes you, you.

So, what is a danger to you, is a blessing for me.
It is this part that I am curious on though...

When you see decade after decade of false and fake agendas and policies, their not too hard to spot.
A Government has a policy of increase CO2 emissions, irrespective of whether you voted for this Government or not... WOuld your position be it was a false/ fake agenda and the other points you made...

There are a multitude of reasons why a promise can't happen.... I could promise the family a dream holiday 10k miles away for 2023 but if I am made redundant and lose my income or if a new Covid variant means flights into the country from my home country are banned etc... Then I would have failed in my promise.
In 2022 with the information I have available, my promise was sound and to plan for every potential risk would mean you ground to a halt.

I believe (within reason) all pledges, promises etc... I make a personal evaluation how likely they can be met and which ones our less likely to occur if an 'unknown' occurs.
My position is based on how helpful something will be to me and friends/ family (current/ future) and the likelihood it can be sufficiently achieved in a term.

Many changes are incredibly small and certainly take generations to come in... Not long ago an advert was working its way round social media along the lines of stop and think... Should you have that 5th beer and drive? This was the mid-70s. To instantly go from no limit to where we are now would have caused a huge uproar...
When I started work, a lunch beer was acceotable... Now alcohol consumption on an Evening is evaluated if you are set to drive the next morning... It has taken 50 years to that stage.

Roj5

With all the information I can gather, the increase in CO2, without the predicted temperature rise, shows me that global warming is a blessing, not a threat. And that science is wrong about earth's environment. From what I find, this earth has been starving for CO2 for millions of years.
We have differing views and I respect that, but I am not questioning whom is right or wrong here.

sameer

Having different views and opinion is a good thing and it can have an impact on our socity. I personally agree with Hayseed. Something bad for others can be good for me. It's all about our thinking and perceptions. How we take things matters the most in most cases.

Hayseed

We have never had another choice or option. Whatever the future brings we must adapt. Suicide excluded. I can't find any validity to this climate response. If all the west, stopped all the CO2 emissions from energy production, this very hour, the CO2 will still rise far above any measured values. It can not be stopped. China and India alone, will put more CO2 into the air than mankind has ever seen. If you think the coal haze of the early 1900s western industries was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet.