Coronavirus : Update 12 from the Epicenter

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As the US numbers rocket skywards, it’s easy to compare its progress to individual European countries, however we should really be comparing states or continents. Here is a snapshot (the number are a couple of days old) of the top 5 US states (by cases) compared to the top 5 European nation states :   Cases Deaths Population Area New York           151,171                6,268      19,453,561           141,297 Spain           141,942              14,045      46,754,778           498,511 Italy           135,586              17,127      60,461,826           301,338 France           109,069…read more

Coronavirus : Update 11 from the Epicenter

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Dear friends, when I started writing these accounts it was to provide you with a picture of the real dynamics of the epidemic while the UK and US governments were busy downplaying it’s predicted impact on those countries. Now (just two weeks later!!!) Spain, France, Germany, the UK and the US are all in the grip of exponential infections, lockdowns and impending economic collapse. I’m going to start focusing on post-lockdown predictions as Italy is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. How should we get the country…read more

Coronavirus : Update 10 from the Epicenter

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First, from Kottke.org a fascinating look at the impact of the Spring Breakers that I briefly wrote about at the end of Update 7. Jason links to a remarkable video that shows how cellphone metadata can be used to identify the cellphones from just one beach in Florida : …and trace their way into streets, shops and homes across the country : America – now that damage is done check out this National Geographic article on the way 36 cities used social distancing during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic to…read more

Coronavirus : Update 9 from the Epicenter

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I wanted to briefly shed a little more light on a question I asked a few days ago : “what is behind Italy’s strange graph of deaths vs recovered patients. This is China’s graph. Green are recovered, orange are the deaths. It makes sense. Initially high mortality because death was the first indicator of the epidemic, and that rate falls as the country gets organized, testing increases and the true pattern emerges. So how does one explain Italy’s curves? Forget the initial part of the curve – again, those numbers…read more

Coronavirus : Update 8 from the Epicenter

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Well, as I write this, the WHO official global epicenter has shifted to the US with cases exceeding China and Italy as predicted. I guess I’m going to have to change the title of these posts… Here are the usual charts but with the world figures added for context (on the second axis, which is about 10x the first axis). As you can see, Italy is now slowing relative to the world numbers, but the US is accelerating strongly : As we’ve discussed before, every country is different (population density,…read more

Coronavirus : Update 7 from the Epicenter

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G’day. Three short topics again today, starting with the usual graphs, this time shown with normal and log scales. The log scales are useful as they are exponential, which means an exponential curve should appear as a straight line. Anything curving down is slowing down : So you can see that Italy is slowing down. The US, UK and Germany are holding steady, but the US is accumulating cases the fastest. This despite the fact that NY continues to see the overwhelming majority of incidents : My offset chart is…read more

Coronavirus : Update 6 from the Epicenter

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OK, three short topics today. First, an update on the ‘delay’ topic from Update 4 in which I offset the UK, US, and German curves in relation to the Italian timeline. I have continued the plot and it now looks like Germany and the US are accelerating faster than Italy did. The UK remains aligned with Italy’s trajectory. A steeper curve means faster transmission, or more realistic numbers due to better testing. Given the fact that the US is still testing per capita at only 2.5% the rate of Italy,…read more

Coronavirus : Update 5 from the Epicenter

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As the days and weeks pass, the number of people who have recovered from the virus will become significant. Today in Italy, that number is 2,749 : 56% of all closed cases, but this will normalize out to a number greater that 95% as seen in China : Il Post explains that there are three levels of recovery defined by the Italian Consiglio Superiore di Sanità : 1. Clinically recovered : when a patient no longer exhibits symptoms of the virus (fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing, etc). It’s possible that…read more

Coronavirus : Update 4 from the Epicenter

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For anyone still wondering if Italy is a special case, underprepared, slow to respond, or just unlucky, I have two graphs for you that I prepared using data from here. The first chart shows the cumulative daily totals in the countries where family and friends live. It appears to show 4 countries experiencing apparently starkly different epidemics : In the second chart I offset each curve by the number of days of delay between the explosion in Italy and the corresponding uptick in each country. Gone are the differences. It…read more

Coronavirus : Update 3 from the Epicenter

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Apologies for the change in tone, but I felt compelled to write something regarding the science driving the response to the virus in the UK, which is different to the way the rest of the world is handling it.Like China, Italy saw an explosion of cases in a concentrated area of the country which quickly overwhelmed hospitals.  Both countries ring-fenced those busy towns in order to avoid the uncontrolled spread of the disease.  The level of China’s military crackdown allowed them to stop there, whereas Italy’s democratic government had not…read more