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These are shocking times. Does it remind you all of 2008-2009, when a general catastrophe affected nearly every company?

We continue to see unscheduled updates from all sorts of companies, to tell us how the Coronavirus situation is affecting them. Few, if any, parts of the economy are left untouched.

CV19 Estimates

Let me preface this analysis by saying that every death is a tragedy. I want to look at some of the numbers.

Yesterday, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser said the "best-case scenario" was for 20,000 people in the UK to lose their lives to the new coronavirus. It would kill two or three times as many people as the seasonal flu.

For context, 540,000 people were recorded to have died in England and Wales in 2018. So there are probably around 600,000 deaths across the UK as a whole every year, including Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In this "best-case scenario", therefore, the virus would  increase the total number of deaths in a year by only around 3.3% (excluding the double-counting effect, where another underlying illness would have caused death instead). 

More bearish projections were issued by academics from Imperial College. Assuming the virus is allowed to spread rapidly, they predicted that 250,000 people could lose their lives, i.e. about half the number of total deaths per year from all other causes.

That scenario would involve a "single, relatively short epidemic". I guess the rapid spread of the disease would bring about a faster immune response from the population.

However, I'm not sure if that 250,000 number is possible. The Chief Scientific Adviser appeared to agree with Jeremy Hunt that there could be roughly 1,000 cases for every 1 death.

If that's true, then the mortality rate is only around 0.1%. So given the total population size, the maximum number of deaths in the UK is…

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