Covid 19 Update 6, April 17

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For China and South Korea the pandemic is over. Iran and Italy are at about 2% of new cases daily and will slowly continue to go down. These 4 countries will not be included in future updates.

Today China announced 1290 deaths to be added to the 2579 in Wuhan and 325 cases as they were “not previously counted and reported”, thus admitting to a lie. This brings the total deaths in the city to 3869 and raises China’s mortality rate from 2 to 3 /1M.

For South Korea, the response to the crisis is a great and lasting national accomplishment. The bad news is that over 100 South Koreans who had recovered from Covid tested positive again. This could mean that infection does not reliably offer immunity (as is the case, for example, with about 5% of shingles sufferers) or that the virus has mutated. It is a nasty virus.

Italy’s northern industrial region of Lombardy was at one point the epicentre of the pandemic and the nation paid a horrible price. However, in the later stages it did much better than Spain in limiting the number of new infections.

France has suffered badly from Covid and the 11.61% new infections rate yesterday is very disturbing. The French daily numbers have fluctuated more than other countries’, likely because of the timing of disease detection and reporting mechanisms. The country is undergoing painful self analysis and a high level of dissatisfaction with the government. Given the long history between the two countries, the French outcome is especially painful in comparison to the success of neighbour Germany in dealing with the virus.

Having wasted a critical week or two because of ideology and pseudoscience, the UK is now paying the price with many more deaths to come.

With 185 deaths, yesterday was by far the worst day for Canada ending the worst week. The number of deaths for the seven days exceeded the range predicted by the government. From the time of infection it takes 2 – 14 days for symptoms to appear, with a mean and median of 5 – 6. For severe and critical cases it takes 3 – 6 weeks from the onset of symptoms to resolution either by recovery or death. Thus, yesterday’s deaths were infected between 23 and 56 days earlier. The number of cases at week’s end was 30106, below the 32000 predicted by Ottawa. This indicates that our efforts are working even though our daily new infection numbers are coming down very slowly as has been the case with other countries.

At the early stages of the pandemic, Putin was cocky and minimizing the danger. Now, he is being described as “missing in action” and was last seen in public on March 24 wearing a hazmat suit. Bolsonaro recently fired his health minister who had the temerity to try and defend the health of the Brazilian people. Now the pandemic is raging through both countries and the reported numbers massively underestimate reality.

In addition to USA data we will consider 3 states. New York and New Jersey are currently suffering the most damage. The first recorded outbreak in the US occurred in a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington – the home of Costco and Bill Gates – with 27 residents and 25 staff infected. Alert to the great danger of the virus, Washington acted quickly and did well to control the outbreak. It informed and collaborated with its neighbours Oregon and California, who like Canada, promptly introduced proper public health measures. Wisely, they completely ignored the kakistocracy (look it up) in Washington, DC.

New York state is now by far the worst afflicted jurisdiction in the world. As the pandemic rolls across the USA, the worst is yet to come. Belgium now has the highest mortality rate in Europe.

Although the reliabilities of their data are variable, the countries included in Table 3 include numbers I have judged to be sufficiently credible.

As islands, Australia, New Zealand and Cuba benefit from isolation in battling the virus. To some extent, so does South Korea. The jurisdictions in North America had more time to prepare, as well as a lower population density.  Thirteen of the 18 jurisdictions have populations of under 12M. Given its similar population and a similar approach taken, California is a good comparison for Canada.

AP, Toronto, April 17, 2:30PM

Andrew Pakula is a long time peace activist and has been a member of Science for Peace from the very beginning. He is a retired social research and management consultant with a background in social psychology.

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