Stack of Newspapers
 

BULLETINS

All bulletins are listed below, in order of date published and are available for download.

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A TALE OF TWO VARIANTS

21 December 2020 | Bulletin 91

This bulletin discusses the emergence of two new variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the UK and South Africa. Scientists studying these variants believe increased transmission risk is plausible but are not yet clear on the impact on severity of the disease, reinfection risk and importantly, the efficacy of vaccines.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 31

11 December 2020 | Bulletin 90
By Matt Fletcher, Nicola Oliver & John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group provides a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently

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WAVE 2 NON-PHARMACEUTICAL  INTERVENTION RESPONSES

10 December 2020 | Bulletin 89
By John Roberts

Over the last couple of months there have been different approaches adopted by the four nations within the UK to combat the second wave of COVID-19 infections. In this bulletin we explore whether the difference in approach enable us to demonstrate the relative effectiveness of restrictions. 

We conclude that all restrictions, with the exception of Tier 1, have a material beneficial impact on rates but that duration and behaviour before and after restriction can alter effectiveness.

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SARS-COV-2-AND SEASONAL FLU

9 December 2020 | Bulletin 88
By Stephen Kramer

Seasonal influenza is a material killer although focus has of course been elsewhere. This bulletin looks at the Southern Hemisphere's recent winter experience of flu and draws lessons from that. This Northern Hemisphere winter may be mild as far as flu is concerned.
But the risk of a ‘double hit’ remains. Flu vaccination has some effect against COVID-19, and so the flu vaccine could also provide a form of protective ‘counter double hit’ – as would the social distancing that has already become routine for many.

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VACCINE PRIORITIES

7 December 2020 | Bulletin 87
By Yifei Gong and Stuart McDonald

Nine groups in the UK have been prioritised to be vaccinated in the first phase. In this bulletin, we consider the logic of the priority order by examining the deaths to date in each group where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

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MONTHLY MEDICAL UPDATE - ISSUE 5

4 December 2020 | Bulletin 86
By Nicola Oliver and Dan Ryan

Given the pace of change with ‘all things COVID’, it can be hard – even for those who follow all the updates – to know what the overall state of play is regarding medical developments in particular, as opposed to just the most recent news. In this new type of Bulletin, we provide a summary of what we believe the current medical position to be.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 30

27 November 2020 | Bulletin 85
By Nicola Oliver and John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group provides a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently

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ARE THE EXCESS DEATHS IN 2020 JUST A ‘SHORTFALL’ FROM 2019?

25 November 2020 | Bulletin 84
By Richard Marshall

It has been suggested that the severity of COVID-19 in the UK is partly due to the low mortality in 2019, when we experienced a “shortfall” in excess winter deaths.
In this bulletin, we consider the extent to which excess deaths in 2020 depends on the period used as a benchmark, and how the excess deaths in 2020 might have looked lighter if winter mortality in 2018/19 had been in line with the 2015-18 average.

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AEROSOLS - A SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE

23 November 2020 | Bulletin 83

By Beate Degan and Nicola Oliver

In September, a group of academics published an extensive overview on the risks associated with viral aerosol transmission. In the form of an evidence-based FAQ, the document is more than 60 pages long. In this bulletin, we pull together the key points in an easily digestible format.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 29

20 November 2020 | Bulletin 82
By Matt Fletcher, Dan Ryan, John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group provides a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 28

13 November 2020 | Bulletin 81
By Matt Fletcher, Nicola Oliver and John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group provides a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently

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WHAT DEGREE OF COMPLIANCE DO WE NEED?

11 November 2020 | Bulletin 80
By Gordon Woo

For the UK reproduction number R to fall below 1, there must be a vast improvement in public compliance with quarantine. This bulletin discusses the merits of different strategies in containing the spread of SARS-CoV2

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 27

6 November 2020 | Bulletin 79
By Nicola Oliver, Matt Fletcher and John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group provides a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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UK HOSPITAL BED CAPACITY

5 November 2020 | Bulletin 78
By Nicola Oliver

In this short note, we present a summary of intensive care and acute bed capacity and associated staffing levels. It is not enough just to create extra beds, such as field-hospital type intensive care units (for example Nightingale hospitals). Without sufficient staff (with appropriate experience and training), these facilities are of little use.

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MONTHLY MEDICAL UPDATE - ISSUE 4

 30 October 2020 | Bulletin 77

By Nicola Oliver & Dan Ryan

Given the pace of change with ‘all things COVID’, it can be hard – even for those who follow all the updates – to know what the overall state of play is regarding medical developments in particular, as opposed to just the most recent news. In this new type of Bulletin, we provide a summary of what we believe the current medical position to be.

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THE RISKS OF SOCIAL ISOLATION

28 October 2020 | Bulletin 76
By Matthew Edwards

The material mortality impact of social isolation has been under-appreciated, but needs to be considered in planning any form of lockdown strategy.

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HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS STATISTICS – A FAIR REPRESENTATION OF THE TRUE POSITION?

27 October 2020 | Bulletin 75
By John Roberts

The NHS has recently started providing a breakdown of COVID-19 hospital cases that enables an idea to be gained as to what proportion may have been acquired within the hospital, rather than in the community. This short note interprets the new data and other related factors in understanding what is driving the recent increase in hospital admission numbers.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 26

23 October 2020 | Bulletin 74
By Matt Fletcher, Nicola Oliver & John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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FALSE POSITIVES: MISLEADING RESULTS OR FALSE NARRATIVES?

21 October 2020 | Bulletin 73
By Matt Fletcher

COVID-19 case numbers in the UK have been increasing significantly, leading to conjecture that this increase may reflect a large number of “false positives” (people who are not infected but who test positive for COVID-19).
In this bulletin we consider the issue, and conclude that the vast majority of positive tests represent real COVID-19 cases.

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OVERDISPERSION - HOW SUPERSPREADING DRIVES THE PANDEMIC

19 October 2020 | Bulletin 72
By James Sharpe

In this Bulletin we explore how superspreading is an important contributor to R. Broad strategies can be successful at reducing R but may come at a high economic cost. Strategies which focus on reducing superspreading may – if successful – lead to suppression of the virus at a lower economic cost.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 25

16 October 2020 | Bulletin 71

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and releases that we've looked at recently.

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TRACKING THE MUTATION POTENTIAL OF SARS-COV-2

15 October 2020 | Bulletin 70
By Dan Ryan

In this article, we explore the mutation potential of SARS-CoV-2 in the face of selective pressure.

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ECONOMIC PROSPECTS

12 October 2020 | Bulletin 69
By Joseph Lu

A summary of two recent reports on current economic prospects by the OECD and the ONS.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 24

9 October 2020 | Bulletin 68

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and releases that we've looked at recently.

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MONTHLY MEDICAL UPDATE - ISSUE 3

2 October 2020 | Bulletin 67
By Nicola Oliver & Dan Ryan

Given the pace of change with ‘all things COVID’, it can be hard – even for those who follow all the updates – to know what the overall state of play is regarding medical developments in particular, as opposed to just the most recent news. In this new type of Bulletin, we provide a summary of what we believe the current medical position to be.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 23

25 September 2020 ǀ Bulletin 66

The COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and releases that we've looked at recently.

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LONG COVID

24 September 2020 | Bulletin 65

By Nicola Oliver

“Long covid” is a term used to describe illness in people who have either recovered from COVID-19 but are still report lasting effects of the infection, or have had the usual symptoms for far longer than would be expected. This bulletin highlights the range of symptoms and potential future burden of morbidity.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 22

18 September 2020 ǀ Bulletin 64
By Matt Fletcher, Dan Ryan and John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a summary of the key papers and releases that we've looked at recently.

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ARE WE EXPERIENCING A SECOND WAVE?

16 September 2020 | Bulletin 63
By Stuart McDonald

With COVID-19 case numbers again rising rapidly in the UK we examine various public data sources and discuss what these suggest about the recent spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT ISSUE 21

11 September 2020 | Bulletin 62
By Matt Fletcher, Nicola Oliver and John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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VACCINES - WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

7 September 2020 | Bulletin 61
By Dylan Liew and Adrian Baskir

As the journey to find a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine continues, we explore what might happen when we reach the finishing line in a UK context. Practicalities, priorities and potential challenges are explored in this bulletin.

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MONTHLY MEDICAL UPDATE - ISSUE 2

4 September 2020 | Bulletin 60
By Nicola Oliver

In this medical update we provide an overview of the state of play of vaccine development, treatment, testing and antibodies.

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MONITORING AND INTERPRETING EXCESS MORTALITY STATISTICS

1 September 2020 | Bulletin 59
By John Roberts

The focus on understanding the extent to which the pandemic has affected different countries has thrown a spotlight on the concept of excess mortality. However, care is needed when interpreting the data and results to ensure that an objective view is obtained as to what is being seen in the data.This note sets out some of the key considerations in attempting to come up with the best view on excess mortality.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 20

28 August 2020 | Bulletin 58
By Dan Ryan and Nicola Oliver

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 19

21 August 2020 | Bulletin 57
By Matthew Fletcher, Nicola Oliver and John Roberts

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT- ISSUE 18

7 August 2020 | Bulletin 56
By Matthew  Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

COVID-19 is still one of the hottest topics for scientific papers and articles. The COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group will provide you with a regular Friday update with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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COVID-19 REPORTED DEATHS AND EXCESS DEATHS IN SOUTH AFRICA

3 August 2020 | Bulletin 55
By Louis Rossouw

There are significant difficulties measuring, analysing and interpreting various numbers related to COVID-19. In turn, there are also difficulties with reported deaths and excess deaths. In this article we try to assess and compare excess death with reported death figures for South Africa and show some estimates as to the extent of under-reporting.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 17

24 July 2020 ǀ Bulletin 54
By Matthew Fletcher and Dan Ryan

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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DEATHS, EXCESS DEATHS AND STATISTICS

19 July 2020 ǀ Bulletin 53
By John Roberts and Matthew Edwards

In this bulletin we note the recent news about the unreliability of daily COVID-19 death figures in England, and re-state our belief  that excess deaths are the most reliable way of gauging the pandemic’s impact. Hence, nothing has changed – it remains the case that over 60,000 have (very likely) died from COVID-19.


We have analysed the difference between ONS and PHE-reported deaths, tracing the growing difference over time. Although the figures are different, the total erroneous reporting to date changes nothing. We are concerned that reduced public trust in the numbers, or Government advice, may have unwarranted consequences.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 16

17 July 2020 ǀ Bulletin 52
By Matthew Fletcher and Dan Ryan

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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ARE WE GETTING BETTER AT TREATING COVID-19?

16 July 2020 ǀ Bulletin 51 
By John Roberts and Matthew Edwards

Comparing COVID-19 deaths against hospital admissions shows that the in-hospital mortality of COVID-19 patients roughly halved from April to June. We discuss the possible drivers for this, and conclude that the improvement comes from a combination of hard-earned understanding leading to better treatment, and better staff-to-patient ratios. This great improvement will, we hope, help in any second wave.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 15

10 July 2020 ǀ Bulletin 50
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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IS COVID-19 SEASONAL?

9 July 2020 ǀ Bulletin 49
By Matthew Fletcher

Common coronaviruses are highly seasonal, with cases peaking in winter months. As we move out of lockdown and through the summer months in the Northern hemisphere, an obvious question is whether COVID-19 exhibits seasonality, as this will have a direct impact on the timing and level of any second wave of infection. This bulletin considers the factors typically involved in seasonality of diseases, and the research on the likely seasonality of COVID-19.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 14

3 July 2020 ǀ Bulletin 48
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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MONTHLY MEDICAL UPDATE - ISSUE 1

31 July 2020 | Bulletin 47
By Nicola Oliver

The monthly medical update will provide a view of what we think the medical state of play is. For issue 1 we have chosen to look only at vaccines as this is the area of most uncertainty.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 13

26 June 2020 ǀ Bulletin 46
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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LONGER-TERM MORTALITY AND MORBIDITY IMPACTS OF THE PANDEMIC

24 June 2020 ǀ Bulletin 45
By Matthew Edwards and Andrew Gaches

This Bulletin considers the plausible mortality and morbidity consequences in respect of economic shock, physiological impacts on ‘severe symptoms’ survivors, behavioural changes, and mental health. We conclude that the sum total of these is likely to be material and negative, although we do not try to quantify the impact.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 12

19 June 2020 ǀ Bulletin 44

By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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CARE HOMES – FORGOTTEN BY US, NOT BY COVID

17 June 2020 | Bulletin 43

By Dan Ryan and Adrian Baskir

Care homes have become a controversial topic in the pandemic, for the saddest of reasons - a very high COVID-19 mortality rate, caused to some degree by poor policy (analogous to what happened in other countries, Italy for example). In this bulletin, Dan Ryan and Adrian Baskir summarise the experience to date - with around 1 in 7 care home residents dying - and draw out lessons for the future.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 11

12 June 2020 ǀ Bulletin 42

By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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ESTIMATING R FOR THE UK

12 June 2020 ǀ Bulletin 41

By Stuart McDonald

The reproductive rate R is fundamental in studying the spread of the coronavirus.  In this Bulletin, Stuart McDonald uses ONS and NHS data to estimate how R has moved over recent months.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 10

5 June 2020 ǀ Bulletin 40

By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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FACEMASKS FOR PUBLIC USE

4 June 2020 | Bulletin 39

By Nicola Oliver

The use of facemasks by the public has been recommended or mandated in many countries, while the UK has remained ambivalent. This bulletin reviews the evidence for mask wearing by the public. Most of it points in the same direction: masks reduce transmission.

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MORTALITY IMPACTS OF THE PANDEMIC - FUTURE INVESTIGATIONS

3 June 2020 | Bulletin 38

By Andrew Gaches

In our first bulletin looking at the impact of the pandemic on mortality, we considered what could reasonably be inferred now about the likely post-pandemic mortality of survivors. In this second bulletin, we explore the question of mortality from the perspective of how best to use data once we are ‘post-pandemic’. This will be a challenge for pension schemes and insurance (and reinsurance) companies.

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HOW DOES COVID-19  AFFECT THE ECONOMY?

1 June 2020 | Bulletin 37

By Joseph Lu

The pandemic has killed many: is the economy next on the list? In this bulletin Joseph Lu considers what has happened so far, and what the prospects are. How can we bounce back? To prevent spread, we had the lockdown: pubs and shops shut, construction halted, many people losing money, many workers furloughed; many jobs may go. Prolonged lockdown is bad for mental and physical well-being as well, not just economic. How do we return to some new normality safely? How do we balance pandemic controls with the need for travel and trade?

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 9

29 May 2020 | Bulletin 36

By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID‑19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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STANFORD’S CONTRASTING FATALITY ESTIMATES

22 May 2020 |  Bulletin 35

By Matthew Edwards and Stuart McDonald 

Over the last couple of days Stanford academics have published greatly contrasting estimates of the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of COVID-19. We briefly examine both papers and consider them in the context of other work done in this area (including our related work using Italian data).
We conclude that the study by Grewelle and De Leo, with its estimate of 1.0% for the IFR globally, looks plausible and in line with much other work in this area.

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MORTALITY IMPACTS OF THE PANDEMIC – SURVIVOR MORTALITY

27 May 2020 | Bulletin 34
By Matthew Edwards

COVID-19 mortality is associated with risk factors such as obesity and diabetes that imply higher ‘normal’ (all-cause) mortality. In this Bulletin, we consider how this may lead overall mortality of the post-pandemic ‘survivor pool’ to be lighter than it was pre-pandemic. We conclude that the effect will be low other than in subgroups with a high proportion of COVID-19 deaths (which is what you would expect). This is the first of three bulletins looking at 'post-pandemic' mortality - next we look at mortality analyses post-pandemic, and then the impact on mortality improvements.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 8

22 May 2020 | Bulletin 33
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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ANXIETY AND THE POWER OF NOW

22 May 2020 | Bulletin 32
By Zoe Harcombe

This Bulletin was written by guest author Zoe Harcombe on mental health and anxiety in the context of the pandemic. Zoe looks at the definition of generalised anxiety disorder per the DSM (diagnostic standards) and posits that anxiety about COVID-19 is not a disorder, but a natural response to an unnatural situation. The article considers institutional responses then looks more at how we can cope better individually.

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DEVELOPMENT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN THE UK AND SIMILAR
COUNTRIES (PART 2)

21 May 2020 | Bulletin 31
By Chris Daykin

In this update to his previous end April Bulletin on international COVID-19 comparisons (standardising what should be regarded as 'Day 1' in different countries),Chris Daykin considers - as well as, obviously, updated international comparisons - the issue of excess mortality in the UK so far this year and how it seems to relate to COVID-19. Chris also considers how the known COVID-19 age 'curves' compare with normal mortality.

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‘A TALE OF TWO COVIDS’ –SOUTH AFRICA AND THE UK

20 May 2020 | Bulletin 30
By Louis Rossouw

In 'A tale of two Covids', Louis Rossouw provides a comparison of how the pandemic is unfolding in South Africa and the UK. Although there are some similarities (almost simultaneous lockdown), the differences have been greater – timings of cases, population age profiles, health systems (and existing common conditions), and economic strength. Of these, it is the economic situation that leaves South Africa with less room to move, but a careful exit from lockdown is also required - or infections and deaths could accelerate rapidly and undo the good work done to date. Similar issues to those facing other countries.

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TESTING TO CONTAIN THE
SECOND WAVE THREAT

18 May 2020 | Bulletin 29

By Gordon Woo

In early February, when there were less than two hundred confirmed COVID-19 cases outside mainland China, each country formulated its own national strategy for dealing with the emerging coronavirus.


The most successful strategies, which have minimised loss of life, contained the first wave through a rigorous regime of testing, contact tracing and quarantining, in addition to social distancing measures.


Strategies relying on self-isolation of infected people have failed because of widespread asymptomatic transmission. Mass testing is a prerequisite for breaking the invisible chains of asymptomatic transmission which inflate the reproduction number.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 7

15 May 2020 | Bulletin 28
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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TACKLING COVID-19 THROUGH ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS

13 May 2020 | Bulletin 27
By Dan Ryan

As we in England change our mantra from “Stay at Home” to the more nuanced “Stay Alert” and the possibility of increasing numbers of socially distanced contacts, it is vital to understand the range of data sources that the UK government is using to understand the spread and impact of this crippling disease. And indeed, what data is being shared with us now and what will be shared in the future. Our data scientists and researchers have never been more crucial as we chart a course through the maelstrom that is COVID-19, and accessible electronic health records are an invaluable resource in that battle.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 6

8 May 2020 | Bulletin 26
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently

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VACCINES AND ANTIVIRALS

7 May 2020 | Bulletin 25
By Nicola Oliver

An effective vaccine will ultimately allow life to return to normal, but the development process is lengthy and success is not guaranteed. In this bulletin we present an overview of potential vaccine candidates as well as other pharma approaches such as antiviral drugs.

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COVID-19 – AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE

5 May 2020 | Bulletin 24
By Dermot Grenham

COVID-19 numbers in Africa are currently much lower than in Europe and the USA. It is not clear to what extent this is due to a lack of data or to features of Africans and their environment which are helping to keep the numbers down. The young age profiles and experience of past pandemics is beneficial. In this Bulletin Dermot Grenham presents an African perspective.

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RISK FACTORS FOR COVID-19

1 May 2020 | Bulletin 23
By Matthew Edwards

Very little ‘multivariate’ analysis has been done to quantify the effect of COVID-19 risk factors simultaneously. Hence there is potential to misunderstand the operation of risk factors because of confounding – where the effect of one risk factor is distorted by the effect of another.

Understanding risk factors better can help with understanding the underlying pathogenesis, and with evaluating strategies to move beyond lockdown.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 5

1 May 2020 | Bulletin 22
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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DEVELOPMENT OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IN THE UK AND SIMILAR COUNTRIES

28 April 2020 | Bulletin 21
By Chris Daykin

In order to make meaningful international comparisons of the impact of the pandemic, it is important to allow for the dates at which infections began to take off in different countries and the relative population sizes. This Bulletin adjusts for these factors in order to provide a more appropriate comparison than is often presented.

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HOW COVID-19  KILLS

27 April 2020 | Bulletin 20
By Joseph Lu

This bulletin summarises how COVID-19 kills. COVID-19 damages the lungs, causing death. The joint culprits are the virus and an over-reacting immune system.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 4

24 April 2020 | Bulletin 19
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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COVID-19 - WILL HEALTH INSURERS BE THE UNLIKELY WINNERS?

22 April 2020 | Bulletin 18
By Adrian Baskir

In this 18th bulletin, Adrian Basker, Chief Actuary of International Markets at Bupa and a member of IFoA Health and care board explores if health insurers will be the unlikely winners in the COVID-19 crisis. 
This unprecedented crisis is a significant disruption to the healthcare supply chain with unexpected consequences.  Health insurance typically affords its customers access to quicker and in some cases, perceived better quality of care. But public healthcare has become the only option for Covid-19 treatment in some of these countries.  In the UK, independent hospitals are currently re-provisioned to the NHS, so access for non-urgent non-Covid-19 treatment is temporarily reduced. In other countries, lockdown measures, rather than re-provisioning, would reduce access to non-Covid-19 treatment.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 3

17 April 2020 | Bulletin 17

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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RISK, UNCERTAINTY, PSYCHOLOGY AND JUDGEMENT

16 April 2020 | Bulletin 16
By Tan Suee Chieh

Tan Suee Chieh, President Elect of IFoA, spoke to 600 actuaries in South East Asia in four separate Zoom meetings from 27 March to 10 April on COVID-19; Risk, Uncertainty, Psychology and Judgement. Using his background and interest in actuarial science, psychology, culture, change dynamics and other disciplines, he has woven a personal narrative on the unfolding COVID-19 crisis. This is his narrative and it does not represent IFoA policy.

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BALANCING LIVES SAVED WITH ECONOMIC COSTS

16 April 2020 | Bulletin 15
By Peter Tompkins

In our latest bulletin "Balancing Lives Saved with Economic Costs" Peter Tompkins examines a recent paper from Professor Philip Thomas, Professor of Risk Management at the University of Bristol. The paper made headlines by suggesting that the fall in economic output resulting from a lockdown could "be sufficient to cause significantly greater loss of life than would be gained by the lockdown measure, especially if the partial shutdown of the economy were to last more than 2 months". However, certain issues that we have identified on review of this paper lead us to question the author’s key conclusion, in particular that a substantial lockdown would have life expectancy outcomes less acceptable than the base case “do nothing” scenario.

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HEALTHCARE INFRASTRUCTURE - THE CHALLENGES

11 April 2020 | Bulletin 14
By Nicola Oliver

Sufficient healthcare capacity is at the heart of shaping the severity of a pandemic; put simply, not enough beds and staff will result in more deaths. In this latest bulletin, we consider the challenges facing the NHS during this unprecedented health crisis. What is the current capacity and where can we look to increase the ability to provide optimal care for the critically ill?

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COVID-19 - INTERPRETING THE DEATH DATA

14 April 2020 | Bulletin 13
By Matthew Fletcher and Dan Ryan

Details of COVID-19 deaths in the UK are published by various bodies, including the ONS, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the NHS. These datasets are not all the same, representing different populations and different ways of recording the deaths data. Here we present the challenges of each of the datasets that are providing mortality data.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 2

9 April 2020 | Bulletin 12
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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COVID-19 - EXCEPTIONAL VOLUNTEER RESPONSE!

7 April 2020 | Bulletin 11
By Gary McInally and Mohammed Khan

On the last day of March 2020, the member-led COVID-19 Actuaries response Group issued a 'call to arms' to actuaries across the profession. The exceptional request for volunteers to support government agencies requiring mathematical and statistical skills across the health service and wider public sector, has been met with an exceptional response from members across the profession.

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ARE THIS YEAR’S COVID-19 VICTIMS ALREADY ‘ON DEATH ROW’?

7 April 2020 | Bulletin 10
By Matthew Edwards

Although many COVID-19 deaths involve those with chronic health problems (e.g. diabetics), such health problems are normal at high ages. People with managed conditions such as diabetes, even in the presence of adverse risk factors (e.g. obesity, smoking) would generally have several years of life expectancy at high ages. The contention that the majority of this year’s COVID-19 victims would have died this year absent the coronavirus is incorrect.
Furthermore, it is a dangerous message as it could easily lead to an ‘it doesn’t matter’ attitude to the health crisis, and in particular, could weaken the case for social distancing.

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THE FRIDAY REPORT - ISSUE 1

3 April 2020 | Bulletin 9
By Matthew Fletcher and Nicola Oliver

Every week, more is written on COVID-19 than any individual could possibly read. Collectively, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group read more about the outbreak than most, so we’ve decided each Friday to provide you with a curated list of the key papers and articles that we’ve looked at recently.

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COVID-19 IN NUMBERS: TEN TIMES WORSE THAN SEASONAL INFLUENZA?

2 April 2020 | Bulletin 8
By Matthew Edwards

In this bulletin, we look at the Case Fatality Rate of COVID-19 and compare it with that of seasonal influenza. We conclude that it is around 5-10 times more lethal than normal flu for people in the 50+ age range. This comparison excludes the question of infectiousness, but the Coronavirus seems to be more infectious (higher R0) than other well-studied influenzas. Taking that into account exacerbates the above comparison in terms of overall mortality impact.

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MODELLING AND THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

1 April 2020 | Bulletin 7
By Joseph Lu

Fighting this COVID-19 pandemic requires a good grasp on how the virus spreads, impacts health care demand and could be managed. This bulletin highlights some examples of how mathematical modelling has contributed to the understanding and intervention of this pandemic, “the health crisis of a generation”.

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COVID-19 A CALL TO ARMS

7 April 2020 | Bulletin 6
Guest Authors, Gary McInally & Mohammed Khan

A call to actuaries to volunteer their time  to support the UK government agencies during the pandemic.

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SUPPRESSION VS. MITIGATION.

30 March 2020 | Bulletin 5

By Adrian Pinington

This bulletin looks at the rationale underlying each of the two main strategic responses to the rapidly emerging COVID-19 epidemic – suppression or mitigation.

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THE UK IS NOT LIKE CHINA!

30 March 2020 | Bulletin 4

By Matthew Fletcher

A paper on COVID-19 has been published by individuals from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London, (not the team who advised the UK government). Analysis of this paper for Bulletin 4  suggests that the comparison to China is not valid, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

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WHAT IS A CORONAVIRUS?

27 March 2020 | Bulletin 3
By Nicola Oliver

This bulletin addresses what the coronavirus is biologically, how it spreads and causes the disease COIVID-19, the disorders it creates and it’s course.

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HAS OVER HALF OF THE UK ALREADY BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19?

26 March 2020 | Bulletin 2
By Stuart McDonald

Stuart McDonald expresses serious concern about both the reporting of the study and the inclusion in the study of implausible scenarios.

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IS THE IMPERIAL COLLEGE PANDEMIC MODELLING WORK ‘FIT FOR PURPOSE’?

24 March 2020 | Bulletin 1
By Matthew Edwards

Is the Imperial College pandemic modelling work ‘fit for purpose’?

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THE CO-MORBIDITY QUESTION

7 May 2020 | News Article
The Actuary
By Matthew Edwards & Stuart McDonald

Would the majority of COVID-19 victims have died this year anyway, as some have suggested?
Matthew Edwards and Stuart McDonald investigate

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LET’S DISPEL THE MYTH THAT CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS WERE ALL AT DEATH’S DOOR

10 April 2020 | News Article
The Spectator
By Stuart McDonald

There has been a bit of an unpleasant and inaccurate narrative over recent days that the majority of Covid-19 deaths were people who were 'at death’s door' in any case. Some have been making the point that these people died 'with', rather than 'of', the disease. It's important to address that.

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COVID-19 FORUM FOR ACTUARIES LAUNCHED

25 March 2020  | News Article
The Actuary

A forum for actuaries has been launched to help the profession come together and learn how best to respond to the deadly coronavirus sweeping the world.