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Coronavirus : Update 20 from the Epicenter

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It’s been more than 3 months since Update 19, and your experience over that time will depend on where you live. At the risk of generalizing, if you are in a relatively small European country with a strong central government that shut-down effectively then it’s likely that high infection rates were limited to one or two initial areas (Lombardy, Catalonia, Greater London), so you will have seen daily case numbers fall by >95% and stay low for several months : Whereas if you live in a large country with a…read more

Coronavirus : Update 19 from the Epicenter

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For the first 3 months of the outbreak I laboriously copied data by hand from Worldometers into an Excel spreadsheet and tried to identify interesting patterns to share with friends in Italy, Germany, the UK and US. This was particularly useful in the early days as we could report how badly the UK and US were underestimating the impact that the virus would have on their populations, and later on we could see how effective lockdown measures proved to be in the countries that implemented them quickly and early. Recently,…read more

Coronavirus : Update 18 from the Epicenter

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After several weeks in lockdown, several parts of the world are starting to ease restrictions on movement. Concentrating on our 4 countries, probably the graph which best illustrates this dynamic is our slowdown-chart. We’ll concentrate on cases as they lead deaths by 2-3 weeks : The US is yet to dip on its way to a million cases; the UK has levelled off; Italy has stalled, but without seeing a true decline, and Germany is in free-fall. There have been a few headlines recently predicting that the UK could end…read more

Coronavirus : Update 15 from the Epicenter

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Warning : the widely circulated article on which I based the last section of this post has been partially debunked. Thanks to Simone Naso’s alert in the comments section that points to this in-depth review of the article (in Italian). The investigation found that the statements in the article came from a private medical forum and were improperly published by persons unknown under a fake name (Prof Giannini). It remarkably concludes that although the article itself should be considered “fake news”, the information in it may prove to be correct..!…read more

Coronavirus : Update 16 from the Epicenter

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Here are the charts that tell you if it’s safe to end the lockdown in your area OK, so we’re going to change it up a little for this update. Yesterday I spotted that Kevin Systrom (one of the Instagram founders) had launched a new website that is tracking the Rt of COVID-19 in US States in realtime. I’ll let him describe Rt in his own words : In any epidemic, 𝑅𝑡 is the measure known as the effective reproduction number. It’s the number of people who become infected per infectious person…read more

Coronavirus : Update 14 from the Epicenter

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Let’s kick off with an adjustment to Update 13 in which I calculated the total number of people in Italy with immunity based (1.7M) on the projected final death toll (24k). On the positive side, the last two days numbers show a steeper curve than I thought, which should mean slightly lower final numbers : On the other hand, I didn’t consider the fact that not every Covid-19 death may not be counted in the official numbers. As in most countries, deaths outside of hospitals are generally not attributed to…read more

Coronavirus : Update 13 from the Epicenter

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So, when can we relax the lockdown and get the global economy started again? Well, first of all, every country is on its own trajectory, so there’s no single answer to that question, but let’s look at Italy and extrapolate from there. .. What we really need to know is “have enough people been infected for us to have acquired any level of herd immunity?” Back in Update 6 we discussed the true number of infections in Italy at the time the lockdown was announced on March 9th. We calculated…read more

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