I’m largely not covering the covid-19 pandemic here mainly because there’s so much coverage and I largely have nothing to add but here are some general updates.
- Australia has increased social distancing measures a notch and has now banned public gatherings of more than two people.
- The data here is suggesting that maybe (and it will take days of data to confirm) that the graph is turning and rates of infection have slowed. (possibly premature) yay!
- That does mean we are in for the long-haul: a slow spread through the population while keeping hospitals from being overwhelmed.
- So…social distancing measures are likely to be months.
- New Zealand might be in for a longer (but safer) haul. They might be close to containment (i.e. the virus not spreading at all) but that means waiting for a vaccine.
- The UK still worries me.
- The US frightens me but I know individual states may be doing a better job than federal response. Please stay safe and if you can, stay home.
- On the right denial, misinformation and racism are still the thing. Interestingly, while the misinformation and racism is consistent across different groups, the denial is strongest on the pseudo-libertarian right rather than the alt-right.
- There’s a big thing on the right that official Chinese government stats on covid-19 cases is all fake. Well, I guess I wouldn’t put to much faith on the Chinese governments honesty either but a big part of the disbelief is forgetting how regional China is as a nation and the degree to which the Chinese government controls internal travel. So, I’d guess those official numbers are understated, maybe even 50% higher in reality but…
- …the USA probably still has exceeded the number of cases in China already. We’ll never know exactly which day last week or this week it was but that milestone has been passed. Eventually, unless there is a vaccine soon, China will exceed the USA again simply because it has more people but that’s another story.
- The (very faint) upside is now is a great time for people who love to stay at home and look at data visualisations all day. Lots of great trackers available. The one I keep looking at is https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus because it has some handy customisations on its graphs. There’s a lot to wade through there though and there are better snapshot sites
- What graphs am I looking at? The site above has a “Total confirmed cases of COVID-19 per million people” section. The default display is a map but you can switch it to a time series graph. Adjusting for population throws up a lot of noise for very small countries, so it is only useful for comparing countries with some consistent data collection. Using a log scale for the vertical axis makes it easier to compare trends but (obviously) makes totals look a lot more similar than they actually are.
In the meantime, please all stay as safe as you can and wash your hands and be kind to one another.