Last week I presented at the Longevity 18 conference. My topic was on robustifying stochastic mortality models when the calibrating data contain outliers, such as caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the presentation can be downloaded here, which is based on a paper to be presented at an IFoA sessional meeting in November 20
All governments like to divert attention from their mistakes. However, this is tricky in an open democracy with a free press if those mistakes lead to tens of thousands of deaths. In contrast, it is straightforward for an authoritarian regime to manipulate the death counts. Nevertheless, it is hard to hide all the indirect consequences of excess deaths. This allows resourceful researchers to uncover what even dictatorships would rather keep hidden. In this blog we look at examples in China and Russia.
The covid-19 pandemic caused mortality shocks in many countries, and these shocks severely impact the standard forecasting models used by actuaries. I previously showed how to robustify time-series models with a univariate index (Lee-Carter, APC) and those with a multivariate index (Cairns-Blake-Dowd, Tang-Li
In criminal investigation, it is well known that passing time obscures the facts, making what happened more difficult to discern. Eventually, the case turns cold - unlikely to be solved unless we discover new evidence. In some ways for over a century, epidemiologists have been dealing with just such a cold case, picking through the rubble of the 1918 Influenza pandemic and trying to make sense of what they find. But as we will see, debate continues in a number of areas.
Humanity has suffered from many pandemics in the past, but the SARS-Cov-2 virus is the first to have its genome studied so extensively while the pandemic is ongoing. In a previous blog I looked at how the Delta variant displaced all other variants in the UK due to its increased infectiousness. Unfortunately, the increased infectiousness of Delta was not accompanied by reduced deadliness.
This blog discusses misinformation - including deliberate disinformation - during the SARS-COV-2 pandemic. I won't link directly to anti-vaccine content to avoid adding search-engine credibility to material best left unfound.
I'm not a fan of the hyperbolic use of military metaphors in civilian life. However, in rare cases they do seem appropriate, and the ongoing SAR-Cov-2 pandemic provides an example. After all, describing a worker as "front-line" seems justified when the occupation carries a materially increased risk of infection and death (SAGE, 2021).
That there is "no substitute for experience" is a truism, and one that is very tempting to apply wholesale to human immunity. Indeed, we previously touched upon an particular feature of the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak, the so-called "W-shaped" mortality impact resulting in disproportionate fatalities amongst younger adults in the 20-40 range.