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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

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