1/n] The pandemic will end when we reach herd immunity. The question is how we get there.

In a world without science and technological innovation there would be no alternative: The only way to achieve immunity is for a large share of the population to get infected.
2] But that’s not the world we live in. We can achieve herd immunity via a vaccine.
3] So it's a question of how optimistic we are about medical innovation.
Being in favour of a high infection rate now makes sense if you are pessimisic about the world's chance to develop a vaccine or to make progress towards good antivirals.
4] The vaccine trial that I follow most closely is the one here in Oxford, because I'm a volunteer in the trial.

– The early results were very good thelancet.com/journals/lance…

– And they are so hopeful that the vaccine is produced for several months by now
5] This was the Times headline this morning.
6] And even if Oxford's vaccine candidate fails – which might of course well happen – it is only one of 213(!) vaccines that are currently under development.

7] The chance that we will get a vaccine does not seem very low to me.

And until then we need to control the virus by proven public health measures [ourworldindata.org/coronavirus#ho…] so that we can avoid new lockdowns.
8] About the difference that vaccines make I wrote this earlier thread

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More from @MaxCRoser

20 Oct
The rise of confirmed cases in Europe is very rapid.

– This is showing the 7-day rolling average. Over the last week 138,500 cases were confirmed every day.
– The doubling time of confirmed cases for Europe as a whole is two weeks.

[interactive source ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-da…] Image
But as always, confirmed cases are only a fraction of total cases.

And testing has become worse in the last weeks – the positive rates have increased in many European countries – so that the true doubling rate is likely quite a bit faster.

[source ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-da…] Image
And across European countries that differences are large.

Belgium & the Czech Republic report more than 700 cases per million every day.

On the other hand Estonia & Norway report fewer than 30 per million. Testing there is better so that the true difference is likely larger. ImageImage
Read 6 tweets
18 Oct
The cumulative death rate – since the start at the pandemic – in European countries.

The 5 countries where most lives were lost are: Belgium, Spain, the UK, Italy, and Sweden.

The countries that did well – those at the bottom – suffered a death rate that was 10-times(!) lower.
And these are the current positive rates of testing. Those countries that did poorly in containing the pandemic were – and are – also doing poorly in testing.

Belgium, Spain, UK, Italy, and Sweden have high positive rates.

Especially Finland, Norway, and Denmark are doing well.
You can explore all this data for yourself in our Data Explorer ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-da…

There you also find global data and data on confirmed cases, number of tests, and much more
Read 4 tweets
9 Oct
What will the global decline of economic growth mean for extreme poverty?

• Orange is the pre-COVID scenario.
• The rise of poverty shows us what to expect under a contraction in global growth this year of 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

This is very, very bad. Image
The global goal of ending extreme poverty globally was out of reach before the pandemic as I and many others have written last year.

It would have required all countries to grow at 7 percent annually.
Now with the global pandemic it is not realistic at all sadly.

(Reaching the 2030 would now require all countries to grow at rates of 8 percent per year between 2021 and 2030 and this we cannot realistically expect.) Image
Read 5 tweets
9 Oct
1/n] I think it's a very good decision to give this year's Peace Nobel to the World Food Programme.

Hunger is one of the world's biggest problems and the WFP – one of the UN insitutions that works outstandingly well – is making the world a better place.

2] The world has made a lot of progress against hunger. This is the decline of famine deaths over time.

The WFP helped to avert possible famines in southern Africa (1991–92 & 2000–01), Afghanistan (2001), and western Africa (2012).

[Our work on famines: ourworldindata.org/famines]
3] But hunger remains a massive problem – 11% of the world population are undernourished.

And after decades of progress the share of people that are undernourished has not fallen in recent years.

[@_HannahRitchie's work on hunger on @OurWorldInData: ourworldindata.org/hunger-and-und…]
Read 5 tweets
7 Oct
Almost unbelievably fast progress here in Britain. Coal is disappearing rapidly.

This visualization shows the daily share of Britain's electricity that is generated by coal.

In 2012 still 40% was generated by burning coal. Now we go months without any.

Here is the recent change in the context of the last century.

Smil and others say that energy transitions are slow, but this doesn’t look slow to me.

Britain was absolutely dominated by coal for generations. And now Britain got almost rid of it.

40% of electricity was generated by coal back in 2012.

In 2013 the country implemented the ‘carbon price floor’ (a top up carbon tax to the ETS).

According to this study (chapter 4) this is what led to the unprecedented reduction in coal generation.
Read 4 tweets
5 Oct
In the UK the number of cases rose rapidly.
But the public – and authorities – are only learning this now because these cases were only published now as a backlog.

The reason was apparently that the database is managed in Excel and the number of columns had reached the maximum.
Here is the article dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8…

Glad that they are apparently now working on a solution. Not one, but several Excel spreadsheets…
It is now also the main headline at the BBC: bbc.co.uk/news/uk-544125…
At the end of last week confirmed cases were "actually nearer 11,000" – about 4,000 more than reported.

This is very, very bad and also means that the outbreak is much more rapid than thought.
Read 5 tweets

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