NIESR Press Release: NIESR publication finds that the number of UK Coronavirus deaths could have been almost halved by an earlier lockdown

Published: 19th October 2020

NIESR publication finds that the number of UK Coronavirus infections could have been almost halved by an earlier lockdown




Today (19 October 2020), the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has published a paper by Professor Andrew Harvey that discusses how new time series models can be used to track the progress of an epidemic, forecast key variables and evaluate the effects of policies: “Time series models for epidemics: leading indicators, control groups and policy assessment”.

Professor Jagjit Chadha, Director of NIESR said: “Professor Andrew Harvey develops new statistical time series techniques for tracking and forecasting the path of an epidemic. These models provide a means of assessing the effects of past policies and hence, informing future ones.

“He estimates the number of deaths that could have been avoided by an earlier UK lockdown in March and suggests that the increase in the number of deaths resulting from Sweden's softer lockdown policy was of the order of forty to forty-five per cent. Statistical approaches of this kind are often used in economics but not in epidemiology where the emphasis is on computer simulations. As such they offer a potentially valuable way of complementing the methods currently used to assess measures to combat Covid-19.”


Professor Andrew Harvey is an Emeritus Professor of Econometrics in the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. He is also a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the British Academy (FBA) and of NIESR. His research focuses on time series, financial econometrics, state space models, signal extraction and volatility.





Notes for editors:

The full discussion paper can be read here.

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