How much normal risk does Covid represent

David Spiegelhalter
University of Cambridge

David Spiegelhalter, Statistician, communicator about evidence, risk, probability, chance, uncertainty, Chair, Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, Cambridge: We might say that getting COVID-19 is like packing a year’s worth of risk into a week or two. Which is why it’s important to spread out the infections to avoid the NHS being overwhelmed. It’s important to note that all the risks quoted are the average (mean) risks for people of the relevant age, but are not the risks of the average person! This is because, both for COVID and in normal circumstances, much of the risk is held by people whom are already chronically ill. So for the large majority of healthy people, their risks of either dying from COVID, or dying of something else, are much lower than those quoted here. Although of course for every death there will be others who are seriously ill. So, what might this imply for shutting down the world economy?


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