Talking Techniques | Big data and COVID-19 part 2: Affecting policy and revealing risk

In part 2 of this series on the role of Big data in the response to COVID-19, Digital Editor Tristan Free speaks to Amitava Banerjee, Associate Professor in Clinical Data Science at the Institute of Health Informatics at University College London (UK). Ami outlines the “OurRisk.CoV Calculator”, designed to inform people of the threat that COVID-19 poses to them as a result of any existing conditions and factors such as age and gender, explaining the inspiration behind it and how he sourced and processed all the data required to do so. There is also a discussion of the modeling study from that Ami and his team that was reviewed at the meeting of the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (otherwise known as SAGE) in March – indicating that deaths from COVID-19 could reach 250,000 if the strategy of pursuing herd immunity had continued – just days before the UK decided to lockdown.


  • Introduction to the OurRisk.CoV calculator – 1min 15sec
  • Data sets used for the calculator – 4min
  • Reception of the calculator – 4min 40sec
  • Changing the conversation around COVID-19 and impacting policy – 7min 45sec
  • Analysis and challenges of working with large data sets – 12min 20sec
  • Best practice tips for working with big data – 17min 15sec
  • How can we make the most of the data available? – 20 min
  • Governments “following the science” – 22min 45sec