The US is undertaking the greatest economic experiment since the Reagan reforms in the early 80s

Will this be Biden’s moment, or will it resemble Mitterrand’s France in 1981?
The US economy did well last year, not by controlling Covid, but by borrowing and spending. A lot.

Now it plans to go further, using more borrowing and spending to put its economy on a better path than pre pandemic

The assumption is it can do better. Quickly. Complete reversal from post financial crisis where everyone accepted lasting economic scars and painful fiscal consolidation

The ambition is something else. Some in Europe are looking over the Atlantic enviously because Europe isn’t nearly so gung ho. Others worry that US failure will cement European fiscal conservatism for a generation

This is the economic experiment of our times. Exciting.…

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More from @ChrisGiles_

6 Feb
Disappointingly, there isn't a vaccine effect in the English coronavirus case data yet when looked at by age

There seem to me to be three plausible explanations
1) Be patient
2) English over 80 cases were affected by other forces - eg outbreaks again in care homes
3) The one-shot vaccine isn't as effective as two for older groups

These are not mutually exclusive
Read 5 tweets
2 Feb
UPDATE: After today's @ONS data, the latest estimate for the number of excess deaths in the UK linked to coronavirus is


Note that 50,000 of these have happened in the second wave, so don't let anyone say death numbers are normal

@ONS The one thing that is true is that in the second wave, excess deaths (compared with the 5 year average) are lower than the count of deaths wihtin 28 days of a positive test and coronavirus mentions on death certificates

@ONS There are two valid interpretations of this

1) Some would have died anyway eg from flu in a normal year. See @d_spiegel

2) Now we're better at preventing flu with social distancing the 5 year average is wrong, so excess deaths is an underestimate @statsgeekclare

Read 5 tweets
26 Jan
Here is the grim UK death total by different ways of measurement - all above 100,000

28 days since positive test

Death certificates with Covid mentioned

Excess deaths
And how the charts look on a daily basis

Charts courtesy of @jburnmurdoch
Excess was higher in first wave because testing for the virus was so poor.

It's lower in the second wave because there have been fewer non-Covid-19 deaths than usual - likely to be due to social distancing limiting other respiratory illnesses
Read 5 tweets
19 Jan
UPDATE: Following today's @ONS data for England and Wales, my estimate of the number of UK excess deaths linked to coronavirus since mid March 2020 has surpassed a new grim milestone of


Of these, 94,745 have been recorded officially, the remainder are estimates

@ONS There is now strong evidence that the number of excess deaths accelerated as the second wave became more intense towards the end of December - estimates of the daily totals rise significantly

But are still well below the spring peak

@ONS It no longer appears true that excess deaths in the second wave are lower than the daily death totals

Why? My hunch is that as waves intensify, hospitals find it harder to save those who would have survived when pressures lighter

Read 9 tweets
18 Jan
Want some good news?

The UK is doing well on vaccinations - domestically on track to hit its targets and internationally… via @financialtimes
@FinancialTimes In the most recent week, there were nearly 1.8m first jabs given and it's been speeding up (apart from the weekend)
@FinancialTimes This puts the UK fourth in the world at the end of last week with a vaccination rate twice the best placed other European county, Denmark
Read 6 tweets
12 Jan
UPDATE: A grim set of official figures today on deaths means my estimate of the number of people in the UK who have died since mid March linked to coronavirus is


After a recent acceleration, UK is on course to hit 100,000 by Saturday

Patterns of bank holidays around the end of the year add to uncertainty, but I have been cautious and there has been a recent
inflection point in excess deaths in the data across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Excess deaths rose from mid Dec

Excess deaths had been lower than deaths in hospitals for the whole of the second wave, but in the past two weeks that has no longer been the case.

It suggests fewer people dying of Covid-19 were particularly vulnerable and would have probably died anyway.

Read 6 tweets

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