COVID-19 deaths: comparing age groups

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This article is reproduced by kind permission from Drowning in Data:

It’s been clear from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that certain age groups are more affected than others. How can this be graphed?

First off, the NHS OpenData website shows this for daily cases over the last 60 days:

And for daily deaths, it shows this:

These can be combined. We can graph the number of daily deaths versus the number of daily cases to combine both of these sets of information into one graph. I’ve used all the currently available deaths per day and cases per day data on the NHS OpenData website from 28 February until now to create the following graph:

One disadvantage of graphing just cases and deaths in this way is that the change in both as time has passed is lost. This could be retained by using a bubble plot at the cost of making the graph look much busier.

Breaking it down yet further using sub-graphs for each age group we see:

And by keeping the scales on each sub-graph the same, we can see the large disparity in death rates and infection rates between different age groups:

In summary, we see

  • Different age groups show very different rates of infection. In particular, people in the 25-44 and 45-64 groups have the majority of cases
  • Different age groups also show very different death rates – 75-84 and 85+ have low rates of infection but high rates of death.
  • Very few cases and deaths are recorded each day in the 0-14, 15-19 and 20-24 age groups.

Perhaps this information can be used to inform decision making about lockdowns and vaccination planning. Do all age groups need to lock down when only a small percentage of the community is most at risk of harm from COVID-19?

For more articles and data sets please visit Drowning in Data:

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