Planning Assumptions for a Fall Wave

Nurses COVID


Although it may not seem like it in the UK right now - where they are already seeing about 100,000 new flu cases a week - the first major wave of this pandemic is expected to sweep across Europe this fall.

Understandably, officials are attempting to quantify exactly how bad this fall wave could be - in terms of the numbers sickened, and the number of deaths they might expect.

ECDC is European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Their projections, and further commentary at:

indigo girl

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The Numbers Racket

Everyone, understandably, wants to try to put a number on the two big unknowns with the pandemic of 2009.

The Attack Rate, and the CFR.

In my last blog (see ECDC: Planning Assumptions For A Fall Wave) the ECDC (European Center For Disease Control) attempted to put some numbers to the type of fall wave they could expect in the EU.

While they are quick not to call their numbers a prediction, they come up with a likely symptomatic attack rate of 30%, and a CFR (Case Fatality Ratio) of .1% to .2%.

And based on what we've seen to date, and assuming the virus does not mutate towards greater virulence (or an older demographic) and antivirals remain effective and available, those numbers seem reasonable to me for most EU countries.

Of course, the virus could mutate and over time and antivirals could lose their effectiveness. A pandemic can last for years, and the ebb and flow of the virus - and its severity - can change from year to year.

As goes Europe, probably will go the United States and most other Industrialized nations, including Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

And if we accept the ECDC estimates, we can make some quick and dirty calculations regarding the number of people who might be sickened or die this fall and winter from this pandemic virus.

Read on:


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It would be good to look on the positive side, too. Many people could have gotten the vaccine in September, and acquire immunity within 3 weeks of that (if that time, which is for regular flu vaccine effectiveness matches the new H1N1 vaccine)........ and Tamiflu (or other brands) in mass quantities will be available for those who are pregnant, or become ill.

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