The State of the Virus

Just a quick survey of some Covid-19 coronavirus graphs, from the Our World in Data website.

And here we go, with a bit of commentary.

The Key Fact that Doesn’t Matter

COVID-19 is far less dangerous than both the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Asian flu of 1957-58: and no one during either pandemic was interested in destroying the economy to assuage the night terrors (and/or power-grabs) of aging, powerful men.

But these are different days.

The Only Graph That Matters

It should be noted that Our Leaders are not particularly literate in math, statistics or the sciences. And why should they care, if math, statistics, and the sciences conflicts with the narratives that will get them elected?

So, by and large, they will continue to push fear so long as worldwide cases continues to grow. “A simple, easy-to-understand number that frames the narrative my way.”

World, Cumulative Deaths, Linear

They don’t really understand the significance of log graphs in relation to infectious diseases.

World, Cumulative Deaths, Log

Nor more than they understood that lockdowns, at best, only delays the spread of a disease. Or the scientifically demonstrated usefulness – or the demonstrated lack thereof – of masks. Or even how herd immunity works!

Or (and I am specifically addressing the United States here) the distinct lack of a difference on the ground between a lockdown state or a free state. Or the confusion of what counts as a coronavirus death: the methodology chosen is different that that used for SARS, or Ebola, or other infectious diseases; and the importance of age and co-morbidity with COVID-19.

So, take the numbers with a grain of salt.

Note that in the graphs below, I am focusing on a rolling 7-day average, linear graph, of confirmed (not cumulative) deaths. My departmental budget does not benefit with scaremongering: I just want to know how many people are dying today.

I would also be interested in hospitalizations, if those numbers are available.

I am NOT interested in”cases”. What do I care about a symptomless “case”, who gets the sniffles for a few days… and then recovers, and gets on with his life?

The News That Does Not Fit

The Details of 2020

My points, as illustrated by the graphs:

  • Deaths are on a sharp decline for those nations that did not institute heavy lockdowns. (Practically every nation put in place some restrictions on their citizens.)
  • Deaths had a different pattern in nations with strong lockdowns: a big initial wave, a sharp decline, and a rising second wave.
  • In East Asia, there was never much of an infection crisis, excluding Wuhan for a time.
  • There are very few infections in Australia and New Zealand
  • An alternative tactic was to accept the initial wave of infections to more quickly gain herd immunity, in the style of Sweden or Brazil.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people

Shown is the rolling 7-day average. Limited testing and challenges in the attribution of the cause of death means that the number of confirmed deaths may not be an accurate count of the true number of deaths from COVID-19.

From Our World in Data

All graphs below are set for confirmed deaths, 7-day rolling average. NOT cumulative deaths.

World, linear graph
World, log graph

After some good news during the summer, the spread of the disease resumed in the fall, although at a far slower rate than back in the winter of 2019-2020.

Strange, that no media outlet saw fit to mention this during the summer phrase of the panic. “No good news, ever” is the Order from On High.

Even so, the disease is dying, if you will: but it remains a genuine threat even now to the elderly and the sickly.

And it isn’t fading everywhere, as Russians, Iranians, and Argentinians could tell you.

AND the French, Italians, Spanish, and Britons.

China

China has been out of the woods for a long time now, despite the occasional scare and lockdown.

Taiwan

A neighbour to the Mainland, Taiwan has had effectively zero problems. Note that they do have public health care regulations and restrictions on travel, implementing them swiftly after the news from Wuhan hit the screens.

South Korea

South Korea has had a series of strict regulations to limit the spread of the disease – tougher than Taiwan or Japan, if my information is correct. Still, the nation is basically unscathed.

Japan

Unlike the West, Japan really didn’t want to join in the generated mania, as they wanted the 2020 Olympics to be a success. It was not to be: but, even though the lockdowns were quite late, there was no mass die-off as frantically prophesied in the press.

“Wait two weeks. Wait two weeks!

<roll eyes>


Iran

Unlike the East Asians, the situation in Iran is only going to get worse. If I recall correctly, it was because the government refused to call off a major political meeting at the start of the infection curve.

Conspiracy-minded people might note that Iran isn’t a friend of the US, whose intelligence agencies somehow knew of the disease in China before the Chinese knew of it.

I’m sure that those suspicions will be eased right after we find out what happened to American Airlines Flight 77 or United Airlines Flight 93.

Israel

Despite a series of harsh restrictions – not as draconian and frankly vicious as Australia, say, but oppressive enough – Israel is still struggling with the disease.

Egypt

Egypt’s anti-coronavirus measures were not as light as Sweden, but they were a good deal more sensible than that of Israel. And the numbers show it.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE had a limited lockdown regime: for example, allowing offices to open, but only at 30% capacity. The results look to be reasonably good, especially for a travel hub, but they are not out of the woods yet.

Once again, lockdowns merely push the deaths to a later date: they do not eliminate it.


Italy

I am not sure if the rising second wave – a genuine second wave, by the way – is going to top the first crest. I doubt it: but some older folk are definitely going to die.

But is the number of total deaths – even among the elderly – notably greater in 2020, than they were in 2019? A good question, and one the press has exactly no interest in answering.

I wonder why.

France

As with Italy, so it is with France…

Spain

…and Spain.

Note that all of these states had hard, authoritarian lockdowns: and, apparently, all those lockdowns did is merely shift the time of the deaths to a later date.

At a serious cost to their economies: as welfare states, neither France, nor Spain, nor Italy could really afford these lockdowns.

“Save the lives of the old for a few months, by crippling the future of the young.”

That’s exactly the deal I would expect from these people.

Russia

For Russia – much like Iran – the worst is yet to come.

Due to the timing of the surge of the disease, I am less suspicious of exactly how the disease arrived there, than I am of China and Iran. “Incompetence more likely than malice.”

But you never know.

If the authorities decided to just let the disease run it’s course, as in Sweden, they should have come right out and say so. That would be a decent enough plan: face the hard pain now, get hat herd immunity up fast, and get the entire business over with. But the (sporadic) lockdowns in the country looks to have only delayed and strengthened the second wave of the disease.

United Kingdom

The pattern here looks to be the same as in France, Spain and Italy:a major infection wave, heavy lockdowns suppress the curve… and then the curve gets un-suppressed as nature resumes her course.

I strongly doubt if the crest of the second wave will exceed the first. But, we will see.

Sweden

The leaders of Sweden — unlike the rest of the world — knew what they were doing. “Lockdowns? Don’t be an idiot. Since when did that ever help in all of medical history?”

Note that even that nation has some restrictions on travel and behaviour. This is excusable: a full-throated, manic media mania — blowing up the impact of the disease far harshly than diseases with seriously higher fatality rates – can affect even the most clear-sighted and steady personalities.


United States

The curve of the US is actually pretty good, compared with the rest of the world. However, mark that the infection rates remain substantially above that of the world average: whether this is factual or due to bad/corrupt numbers and CDC definitions remains to be seen.

Canada

Like many nations, Canada looks to be facing a surge as the suppressed coronavirus cases make themselves felt. Once again, lockdowns are no cure: at best, they are a delaying measure.

A costly delaying measure.

If you want serious results without a vaccine (that may never arrive), you must have herd immunity, or wait for the virus to fade away naturally.

Peru

Peru had some tough lockdowns… lockdowns that did not prevent the number of deaths to soar past the world average.

Even today, after things cooled down, Peru is still in a somewhat worse state than most nations are.

Argentina

Argentina also had some tough, harsh lockdowns. Indeed, it was one of the earliest nations to clamp down on the freedom of the population “as a temporary emergency measure.”

Fat lot of good it did.

Brazil

Remember when the media-backed memes were about being “dragged to Brazil?”

Those memes have all vanished… and were NOT replaced with being “dragged to Argentina” or being “hauled to Spain”.

Seeing how much the Establishment press view the Brazilian government with distaste, I would place the influence of politics on the ‘hard, objective, unbiased science reporting’ of the Mainstream Media at 100%.

Even more than that, if at all possible.


Australia

For Australia, it looks like the lockdowns – the worst in the world – merely pushed the death toll a grand total of six months in the future.

The Australians will have to decide if their homegrown tyranny was worth it, to gain the result of pushing back the death toll of a dangerous flu for a few months.

New Zealand

New Zealand looks to be in a far more stable position, due to cutting off itself from the world for an indefinite duration. At least the level of justified oppression (isn’t it always justified, so far as Established Media is concerned?) never reached the scale of Australia.


India

The key question the graph asks is if there is a major future wave coming: did the lockdowns merely push the death forward, or are the major surge of deaths basically over and done with?

We will see.


Africa

Our Progressive Betters were so disappointed when the projected die-off in Africa never materialized.

So very, very disappointed.

“It can’t possibly be due to the local levels of hygiene, or the reasonable precautions of the ignorant and impoverished locals. It must be due to all those disgustingly young people running about.

Something should be done about that.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.