After the UK second wave/ripple initially appeared to be peaking around the 7th October and then kept going up, we now have sufficient data to begin to estimate the size of the second wave or perhaps ripple given how much smaller it is than the main epidemic. The basic tool we can use to estimate the scale, is an assumption that the epidemic curve (as shown by deaths attributed to covid and not "cases" whch are very misleading) follows the same shape with the same timing, but that the scale is much smaller.

UK Daily deaths attributed to covid (from woldometer)

As can be seen from the above graph, the number of covid deaths started to become noticeable on this graph about mid March and it was rising most rapidly the first week of April, indicating that we should see the fastest rise in numbers about three weeks after we start to see them rise. We are now about 4 weeks from the beginning, so we should be able to make an estimate of the size of this second wave/ripple and that in turn allows us to make various estimates of scale and duration.

IIn April, at the start of the epidemic the rate of rise in deaths per a day was about 50 (so each day had the same deaths as yesterday plus an extra 50). Today, the curve is rising by about 7 extra deaths each day. During the main epidemic about 41,000 deaths were attributed to covid. That suggests that we will get about 6000 deaths in this second wave/ripple. So about 48,000 deaths in total. (assuming that we get a number of reducing size peaks of perhaps 600 + 60 + 6 in a third.fourth,fifth, etc. ripples, most of which would not be noticed in the stats).

This also begins to tell us how effective the "lockups" were. They delayed the deaths of about 15% of people who would have died in the main peak who are then likely to die in the second. If we assume the same ratio for a third, fourth, etc peak, then the lockup "saved" about 17% of the deaths or around 7000 deaths, of which 2000 have already occurred. However, given that the average age of death for covid victims is HIGHER than the normal average age of death, and that they also tend to have other serious health issues, it is quite likely that the victims would have died within a short time of their death from covid.

If all the deaths had occurred in a single epidemic, then we would have got 48000 deaths. However the lockup delayed the deaths of about 7000 of those of whom about 6000 are likely to die in this second wave 6months later. If we take the average age of the population as 40 and average age of death as 80, that's equivalent in lost years equivalent to 75 people. A third ripple might cost the equivalent of 25 full life equivalent and given the limited life of covid victims we should stop there. This suggests that if the lockup cost £500billion, then the cost per full life equivalent "saved" is about £5 BILLION per full life equivalent. Note cancer treatment in the UK assumes treatment costing less than £1million per full life equivalent is good value. in other words, this medical procedure of lockup is 5000x too expensive to be funded as treatement by the NHS.


The main epidemic took about 3-4 weeks to peak, one month to drop down to half its peak and about three months to drop below the "noise". Based on a similar timescale, we should be at peak about now. The first peak was around 1000 deaths/day so if this second is in proportion we expect about 146 deaths/day at peak. The current is about 140 - 150 (~10% of all deaths) which gives confidence we are close to peak. Assuming lockup has little or no effect (a good approximation), we should be back down to about 70 death/day by mid November and about 20 by mid December, which is low enough that it will appear to be over by Christmas. However, I would expect an even smaller ripples in the new year, perhaps peaking at around 20-30 deaths/day (~2% of total deaths I suggest in January/February).

By Mike Haseler (Planetary Engineer)