Austria is on target to be first European country to ease restrictions…statistical control charts can explain why…

Austria is planning to ease lockdown restrictions after Easter. Statistical control charts provide a simple and very practical tool for looking at data, and assessing the robustness of the claim.

Data for daily new cases and deaths can be used to plot not only daily data but also calculate control lines for mean and 1, 2 and 3 sigma. This is done using a moving average. Moving average is baed on 7 days. A moving average is needed as a fixed boundary cannot be maintained. The moving average is based on 7 days, which appears to be a reasonable time period. Control limits signal that day-to-day variations in data are to be expected. It is about looking for trends in data, not the noise from daily variations.

Results are shown in figures below, with yellow circles showing the trend. It is evident that Austria display all the signs of having new cases under control, with daily count reducing day-on-day.

For comparison, Italy is also included. A similar trend can be observed in the data, with the mean number of daily new cases (and deaths) going down.

ICNARC report on 2249 COVID-19 patients in critical care 04 April 2020

Survival rate when entering into invasive ventilation is 50%, and much lower if within first 24 hours of admission.

UK testing target of 100,000 daily coronavirus tests by end of April is simply not realistic

UK government has committed to do 100,000 daily coronavirus by end of april. This means an average daily growth in testing of more than 8%. It is not without reason that government hasn’t detailed a plan. There is no plan. The lack of preparedness leaves the country exposed as there is simply not enough tests available to test NHS staff on the frontline, and commit to a aggressive tracking and tracing strategy over the next month, as seen in other countries.

UK v Italy – Daily coronavirus deaths

UK continues to track Italy when it comes to deaths from Coronavirus. A 13-day lag to UK numbers – as seen on right side figure – illustrate the point well. Italy has had two weeks with daily deaths above 700. This is the UK over the next two week, and most likely it will be worse. The country is still not in full lockdown.

Falling labour productivity in the UK

Struggling UK labour market with productivity falling. Shows that the UK is unable to address the long running problem with productivity. Hence, GDP growth projections will need to be revisited by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Labour productivity for Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019, as measured by output per hour, fell by 0.5% compared with the same quarter in the previous year; and followed two previous quarters of zero growth.

The chart from an earlier OBN report shows how the productivity problem has not been addressed in the last couple of years. This will remain a major problem and one that Brexit will only make worse as more inefficiency is built into the economic model.

Interesting research that challenges the agglomeration argument in the UK

Research shows that the differences in productivity across the UK is modest when adjusted for factors including employment rates, commuting, industrial mix and occupational structure.

The result is that promoting growth and jobs in less prosperous parts of the UK does ‘damage’ the productivity of the country’s economy as a whole.