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Covid-19: Resources to Make Sense of the Numbers

Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

Covid-19: Resources to Make Sense of the Numbers

The coronavirus pandemic is a story driven by numbers. The Winton Centre have produced a whole series of resources providing clear explanation and analysis.

Check out our range of articles, videos, and online tools helping to separate the signal from the noise.

  • COVID-19 vaccine intentions and attitudes

    A summary of our work investigating how people think and feel about COVID-19 vaccines

  • Communicating the potential harms and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine: UK data

    With news about a specific kind of blood clot being related to the AsraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, we were asked to help communicate this risk

  • Communicating the potential harms and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine: Italian data

    We were also approached to make visualisations using Italian data

  • Advice based on our work on communicating personalised COVID-19 risks

    Based on studies involving over 5,000 members of the UK public we have put together some advice for those wanting to communicate individualised risks from COVID-19.

  • How do the UK public interpret COVID-19 PCR test results?

    When a message about what a positive or negative test result means doesn't mention the possibility of false negatives/positives, people are more apt to interpret the outcome as definitive

  • What has been happening to attitudes to government, science and COVID-19 in the UK during the pandemic?

    Results from our surveys with the UK public from March to October 2020

  • How well did experts and laypeople forecast the size of the COVID-19 pandemic?

    We conducted a survey in April 2020 of 140 UK experts and 2,086 UK laypersons, and asked all to make four quantitative predictions about the impact of COVID-19...

  • Covid-19 Deaths by Local Authority in England and Wales

    This powerful tool allows you to visualise detailed death data in hospitals, care homes and private homes from country level right down to individual local authorities, updated weekly.

Podcast and Video Briefings

Risky Talk

Risky Talk podcast - our hit podcast Risky Talk dedicated several episodes to communicating around coronavirus.

Video briefings for the media - Every Tuesday the Office for National Statistics releases new data on deaths in England and Wales. In these videos, Professor David Spiegelhalter breaks down the key trends in care homes, in hospitals and the wider community.

The Winton Centre In The Media

Guardian article

David Spiegelhalter is regularly featured on the radio (Radio 4’s More or Less), on the TV (watch his interview with Andrew Marr here) and has written for The Guardian on the coronavirus statistics.

The New York Times covered our research into communicating uncertainty.

Gabriel Recchia wrote three pieces for The Conversation, exploring how our April survey showed that the UK public was supportive of a long lockdown, who was better at predicting the course of the pandemic – experts or the public, and how different ways that governments communicate the uncertainty associated with PCR test results affects people's understanding of their accuracy.

María del Carmen Climént has written about our research into trust and risk perception for a number of Spanish speaking outlets, including national newspaper El País and the Mexican publication Milenio.

Blog Articles


Our Glossary of Covid-related jargon, focussed on understanding the stats

How have Covid-19 fatalities compared with other causes of death? David Spiegelhalter and María del Carmen Climént, 13th July 2020

Exploring the trends in deaths and excess deaths. David Spiegelhalter, Updated 5th June 2020

Exploring trends in death rates by place of death. David Spiegelhalter, Updated 15th May 2020

Analysing excess deaths in different age groups David Spiegelhalter, Updated 15th May 2020

What are the risks of COVID? And what is meant by ‘the risks of COVID’? David Spiegelhalter, 13th May 2020

The problems of a ‘bad test’ for COVID-19 antibodies Alex Freeman, 10th April 2020

International Surveys

Trust in WHO 3

The Winton team have run a series of international surveys exploring risk perception of covid around the world. They have also looked at how levels of trust in government and the media have changed over time.

The results from the March /early April survey of 10 countries are available open access in the Journal of Risk Research and the full datatset form this work is available here. Read about our findings in blog posts from March and May.

Gabriel Recchia also wrote a piece for The Conversation, exploring our April survey which showed that the UK public was supportive of a long lockdown.

Our colleagues at Lund University also produced these helpful visualisations of our results.