What a difference a couple of days make! When on Monday I was finishing the analysis underlying my new The Conversation article, I was expecting the monkeypox epidemic to start fizzling off. Indeed, the Our World in Data records were showing a flattening of the disease progress on Monday and Tuesday.
Then, yesterday (June 21st, 2022) brought a bombshell of a 38% increase in the new cases reported in the UK. Does this increase change my analysis?
I am going to stick to Scenario 3 which I think represents best the current situation. In that scenario, there is a core group sized among whom the virus is spreading. In addition, there is an exchange of members of that group with the larger population by which the individuals who are immune move out of the group and are replaced with new individuals who are susceptible.
I believe this captures the current dynamics best, with the core group largely composed of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) with some spillover to the general population but without a substantial community spread.
The current key parameters are (a slight increase from the original piece of ), (a slight decrease from ) and (same as before, meaning one person swapping on average every 2 months).
The model still seems to work, although the most recent jump is underestimated. It remains to be seen what happens in the next few days and weeks. I am still quite optimistic and think that with vaccination we might move back to Scenario 1 and finish the epidemic shortly. However, it is not inconceivable that we might move to an endemic situation.
Over the last month or so there has been considerable interest in the spread of #monkeypox – a virus from the same family as smallpox, but less infectious and deadly. But, what is likely to happen over the next few weeks or months with the new epidemic?
My new article in @ConversationUK is now out, exploring some scenarios of what might be happening to the #monkeypox epidemic in the near and further future.
There is a mathematical detail behind the figures in the article. The equations, modelling assumptions, and details of how the parameters were chosen, are available on this blog on a separate page.
A disclaimer: I do not pretend I have a working model of the 2022 monkeypox outbreak. The aim is to produce believable scenarios of what could happen in the near future. All modelling is based on the data up to June 17th, 2022. As new data emerge, the picture is likely to change!