‘Covid calculator’ suggests Swindon has no chance of becoming hotspot this month

A newly developed online Covid-19 calculator suggests that Swindon has no chance of becoming a coronavirus hotspot.

Devised by Imperial College London, the website predicts which parts of England and Wales have the greatest probability of seeing cases rise above 50 per 100,000, which it classes as a ‘hotspot.’

The calculator devised predictions for the likelihood of the Swindon borough’s R rate rising above 1 and of more than 50 new cases being recorded in a week.

The possibility of the R rate increasing to dangerous levels was just two per cent on September 5, and the chance of more than 50 cases within either of the first three weeks of September stayed at a consistent zero per cent.

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Lead researcher Professor Axel Gandy, from the Department of Mathematics at Imperial, said: “Covid-19 is, unfortunately, very much still with us, but we hope this will be a useful tool for local and national governments trying to bring hotspots under control.

“The model allows us to project where local hotspots of COVID-19 are likely to develop in England and Wales based on the trends that we’re seeing in those areas.”

The website was produced by the Department of Mathemtics, in collaboration with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling within the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis (GIDA), and Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA) at Imperial.

It uses data on daily reported cases and weekly reported deaths and mathematics modelling to reported a probability that a local authority will become a hotspot in the following week.

The site also provides estimates for each local authority in England and Wales on whether cases are likely to be increasing or decreasing in the following week and the probability of R(t) being greater than 1 in the following week.

The predictions do assume no change in current interventions (lockdowns, school closures, and others) in a local authority beyond those already taken about a week before the end of observations.

Dr Swapnil Mishra, from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, said: “We provide weekly predictions of the evolution of COVID-19 at the local authority level in England and Wales. Our model helps to identify hotspots – probable local areas of concern.

“We hope that our estimates will enable swift action at the local level to control the spread of the epidemic.”

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