Tue, 5 October 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST


How to Make Sense of the COVID Numbers

Sir David Spiegelhalter and Dr Anthony Masters

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How many people have died because of COVID-19? How does COVID-19 compare to the Spanish flu? How have the lockdown measures affected the economy, mental health and crime?

This year we have been bombarded by statistics – seven day rolling averages, rates of infection, excess deaths. Never have numbers been more central to our national conversation, and never has it been more important that we think about them clearly. In the media and in their Observer column, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter and RSS Statistical Ambassador Anthony Masters have interpreted these statistics, offering a vital public service by giving us the tools we need to make sense of the virus for ourselves and holding the government to account.

In this livestream talk, they will offer a trustworthy guide to these most uncertain of times. Together, Spiegelhalter and Masters have crunched the data on a year like no other, exposing the leading misconceptions about the virus and the vaccine. They join us to share their insight into one of the greatest upheavals in history, and answer your questions.

Praise for David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters’ COVID by Numbers:

‘I couldn’t imagine a better guidebook for making sense of a tragic and momentous time in our lives. Covid by Numbers is comprehensive yet concise, impeccably clear and always humane.’ – Tim Harford

‘A much needed antidote to the often murky and misinterpreted world of Covid data.’ – Hannah Fry

If you want to understand the numbers behind the virus that stopped the world, you ought to read this book.’ – Tom Chivers

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Sir David Spiegelhalter

Cambridge Professor and Bestselling Author

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter FRS OBE is Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication in the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge. His bestselling book, The Art of Statistics, has been published in 11 languages. He was knighted in 2014 for services to medical statistics, was President of the Royal Statistical Society (2017-2018), and became a Non-Executive Director of the UK Statistics Authority in 2020. He is @d_spiegel on Twitter.

Dr Anthony Masters


Dr Anthony Masters is a Chartered Statistician, a Statistical Ambassador for the Royal Statistical Society, and a frequent blogger and explainer of statistical ideas. He is @anthonybmasters on Twitter.