Simon Wood

Simon Wood is a professor of statistics at the University of Edinburgh.

Do masks really halve the risk of Covid? A note on the evidence

‘Most of the trouble in life comes from misunderstanding’ as Willy Loman said in Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece An Inspector Calls. Grating isn’t it? But also a reasonable facsimile of how science reporting often reads, at least to those of us self identifying as scientists. Pre-Covid it was so. With Covid the problem has become, well,

Covid and the lockdown effect: a look at the evidence

What forces Covid into reverse? To many, the obvious answer is lockdown. Cases were surging right up until the start of the three lockdowns, we’re told. It’s often said that all else failed. The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that lockdown, far more than vaccines, explains the fall in hospitalisations, deaths and infections. But how

Covid, lockdown and the economics of valuing lives

How much should we pay to save life? The question is often viewed as distasteful: you can’t put a price on human life. But resources are finite. Even if the only purpose of life was to prolong it for as long as possible, there would be limits to healthcare affordability. So if resources are limited,