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UK’s COVID-19 risk prediction algorithm had a great start, but experts fear it won’t last

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An algorithm accurately predicted the risk of someone with COVID-19 becoming seriously ill during the first wave of the pandemic in England, according to new research.

The British government-backed model was developed using anonymized data from more than 8 million adults in 1,205 general practices. It then analyzed factors including a person’s age, ethnicity, level of deprivation, body mass index, and existing medical conditions to predict their chance of catching COVID-19 and then dying or being hospitalized.

The algorithm was tested on two sets of anonymized data, from January to April 2020 and from May 2020 to June 2020, to evaluate whether it could accurately predict who would develop a severe illness. A study published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal concluded that it “performed well” in forecasting risks of deaths and hospital admissions due to COVID-19.  

The researchers found that the 5% of people predicted to be at greatest risk accounted for 75% of the deaths from COVID-19. The results also support existing evidence that people who are male, from ethnic minority backgrounds, and over 70 are at high risk of severe outcomes from infection.

[Read: What audience intelligence data tells us about the 2020 US presidential election]

Of those who died, 57.4% were male; 16.7% were from ethnic minority backgrounds; 82.5% were aged 70 and over; 32.3% had type 2 diabetes; 29.9% had dementia; and 23.6% were identified as living in a care home.

The study authors acknowledge that the results should be interpreted with caution as COVID-19 infection rates and prevention measures will change over time. But they add that the model can be updated as the pandemic evolves.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London will now help implement the model in east London general practices — which cover a population of around 2 million —  to assist them in shielding patients, managing current infections, and prioritizing future vaccination programs.

However, medical experts warned that the algorithm is missing the data and implementation plan it needs to be a useful tool for managing the second wave of the pandemic.

“The model does not know who actually was exposed to or was infected by the virus that causes COVID-19,” said Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging at University College London.

“The model has no information about individuals’ behavior, such as whether they self-isolated, or worked in a high-risk job, washed their hands properly, or wore a mask, nor of whether there was lots of COVID-19 infections in an individual’s neighborhood. These missing data are arguably more important than the data included in the model at predicting who will get serious COVID-19.”

In its present form, the algorithm appears more useful for understanding the first wave than for managing the second.

Published October 21, 2020 — 13:03 UTC

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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