Human behaviour holds key to plotting the path of Covid-19

Statisticians can project case numbers if we move to level 2, 3 or more of 5, but less knowable is how people will change the way they act over the Christmas period

Christmas brings with it unique public behaviours including busy retail and hospitality settings as well as increased international travel, cross-country movement and increased household visits

Trying to predict Covid-19 is a losing game. The way the coronavirus spreads is volatile, and a single event can hugely change the course of case numbers. So much of its path is also down to one of the most elusive and mystifying variables of all – human behaviour.

This is the view of Paul Dempsey, a mathematician with Dazult, an analysis firm. Dempsey has applied his study of statistical models to Irish Covid-19 case ...