Corona Corner

With everything else in the news, you might have forgotten that there was a virus. I didn’t. I’ve been wearing my mask in public and socially distancing all the time. I think twice before taking a bus and use alcohol gel after each trip.

Israel is trying desperately to get back to normal with mixed results. Hundreds of new confirmed corona cases are showing up every day, but deaths remain in the single digits. Is this the dreaded “second wave”? Probably not; it’s just people thinking they don’t need to take precautions. The government doesn’t want to shut down the whole nation again, so they are enforcing targeted lockdowns.

Big-picture view

One statistic I followed – and I haven’t seen reported – is the time it takes to reach 100,000 deaths globally.
It took 77 days to reach the first 100,000 deaths (January 23-April 9).
It took 14 days for the next 100,000 (April 10-April 24).
It took 19 days for the next 100,000 (April 25-May 14).
It took 22 days for the next 100,000 (May 15-June 6).
We’re just about to reach the next 100,000 (probably today, June 27) and that took 21 days.
It seems to me that since April 25, the global death toll has been stable. If one country starts to lessen their death toll, another one steps up to take its place.

Is the US doing as badly as reported?

The big headline in the past few days has been Americans will not be allowed in EU countries because of their poor handling of the coronavirus. What’s left out of the headline is that the US is not targeted and is one of a number of countries (including Israel) that will not be allowed in the EU yet.

I’ve felt that perhaps the reporting on the US handling of the coronavirus has been a little bit skewed. The US has 50 states and 330 million people; it’s the third largest country in the world in terms of population. So I combined the 6 countries in Europe with the highest death rates (UK, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Germany) and found their total population is 335 million. Altogether, those 6 countries have 155,000 deaths (133 days) to the US’s 127,000 (119 days) (both numbers rounded as of this writing).

Brazil has the second most confirmed cases in the world (half of what the US has) and about two-thirds the population of the US. Since May 27, it averages about 1,000 deaths every day. From the first deaths on March 22, Brazil reached 56,000 deaths (rounded as of this writing) in 97 days.

For a closer-to-home comparison: Mexico has one-third the population of the US and 26,000 dead (85 days) with hundreds dying every day; Canada has 38 million people and 8,500 deaths (103 days) with not even dozens dying every day. Americans are allowed to travel to Mexico, but as yet are not allowed to travel to Canada.

Another statistic is that there are 10 million confirmed cases in the world and 2.5 million are in the US. Of the nearly 500,000 deaths, 127,000 are in the US. The US, a single country, represents 25% of both numbers. No other single country comes close.

Is the US doing badly? It depends.

Europe has many countries and many governments. Their policies are not entirely coordinated under the EU umbrella. Some countries do better. Some do worse – like the UK’s failed “herd immunity” policy and Sweden’s “just be responsible citizens” policy. In the US, some states are doing really well (Wyoming) and others are struggling (New York). It could be said that Europe and the US are sort of equal in numerical terms.

In general, the daily coronavirus death toll in the US is going down (see the daily deaths graph and the CDC’s excess death rate – the spike in 2018 was the flu). But it would be a stretch to say that the downward trend was a result of compassionate, logical, serious, unified leadership at the federal level.

Is the US leading the world with a unified message on coronavirus? No. Once the US president was seen as someone who would bring nations together to solve global problems. The current president is not a voice of leadership for this global pandemic, and so, on the world stage, yes, the US is probably doing as badly as reported.

One thought on “Corona Corner

  1. Impressive calculating. Less than happy results. I think that i will continue to be very selective with when i need leave my home/bubble. Apparently as is with most of life the responsibility for how i manage through this catastrophic unknown lies with me. Can’t say that at this moment I am proud to be living in historical times.


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