This is a follow-up to my earlier posts where I began to track the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 daily situation reports. I have updated the spreadsheet here through WHO’s Monday (April 13) report.
The number of new global cases and daily fatalities appear to be plateauing. For the last ten days, the number of new cases and daily fatalities were range bound in fairly narrow ranges with only a slightly upward bias.
The US numbers have followed a similar pattern.
I still find remarkable the degree to which this pandemic is really a U.S. and Europe event. The U.S. and Europe have the most advanced medical and public health capabilities in the world, yet they account for about 75% of the new cases and 90% of the fatalities, while representing less than 15% of the world population! Makes you wonder about to what extent the underdeveloped world has the ability to detect the outbreak in their countries. For example, in India, where nearly 30,000 people die each day, it would obviously be much more difficult to detect.
Here are some of the other key metrics from the week and changes to the spreadsheet:
- According to the COVID Tracking Project, the US has now tested about 2.8 million people. However, the rapid increase in testing we saw last week has stalled out at about 150,000 tests per day. The positive results continue to run about 20%. A caveat on testing: the COVID Tracking Project gets its data from state public health agencies and there are apparently significant differences in how each state reports testing. For example, the Project has noted nine states that are only reporting positive results, and several appear to not be including test results from private labs and hospitals’ internal testing. If that is true, we may have tested significantly more than 2.8 million people and the positive rate may be significantly below 20%.1
- As of yesterday, there is still no country in the world where the confirmed infection rate has exceeded four-tenths of one percent (0.4%) of that country’s population. Spain is now the worst at .35%.
- The New York state health department is tracking fatalities by age. According to its latest data, 84% of all fatalities have been over 60. Only 2% have been under 30.
- I have added Sweden, Norway and Denmark to the spreadsheet. These countries may provide some insight to the effectiveness of stay-at-home/social distancing measures. Given the countries similarities and geographic proximity, one would expect similar experiences with the pandemic. However, Sweden has largely eschewed the stay-at-home/social distancing tactics while Norway and Denmark adopted early and strict versions. It is too early to draw any conclusions, of course, but following the course of the disease in those countries should be interesting.
- I have added a column for some countries that shows how the daily fatality count compares to the average daily fatality rate for that country prior to the pandemic. This will give some perspective on how the pandemic may affect the overall mortality rate for each country. I think you will be surprised to see how little the pandemic is adding to the baseline mortality in most countries.
1 Kaiser Health News, Some States Are Reporting Incomplete COVID-19 Results, March 25, 2020.