Covid graph update

I left off doing these for a while as the situation wasn’t shifting much globally. Today, I’ve picked a grab-bag of countries that we’ve looked at before or are in the news.

The good news is that both Israel and the UK which had very swift vaccination programs have levelled off. However, that is not necessarily showing cause and effect.

The main news story on the pandemic is the disastrous second wave in India. Using the style of graph I picked, the numbers are misleading. India is a big country in both area and population and the per-capita figures belie the impact of this new wave. As I have said before, it is the trajectory that matters with these graphs and that becomes clearer when India is graphed by itself.

I’ve been sceptical about the utility of looking at the death rates in these graphs for various reasons but with the vaccines in play now, we should expect to see an impact.

I’ve focused on the last few months so as to keep the vertical scale manageable.

The world is not out of the woods yet.


12 responses to “Covid graph update”

  1. The first graph is ridiculously stupid and more or less meaningless. Note that Sweden is at the top and have been among the highest for a long time? But during the entire second and third waves, we have had less hospitalisations and deaths per capita than germany. In fact, for the third wave, Sweden has among the lowest deaths in Europe.

    To have any use at all of a graph only showing number of infections, you will also need a graph showing the case fatality rate, i.e how many cases a country manages to find for each death.

    Since 1:st of February, the Swedish CFR is 0.5%. For France, it is 1.09%. For Germany 2.05%. As the virus doesn’t change and all countries get the same number of vaccines per capita, the first graph mostly show that Sweden currently finds more of the existing infections than other countries – at least with registered PCR-tests.

    With regards to India, the deaths are extremely unreliable. In Bhopal, the number of excess cremated bodies was 24 times as high as the registered number of Covid deaths. That means that the deaths were even higher than that, as muslims do not get cremated.

    I.e I think graphs can explain development in a country, but seldom comparisons with other countries. And if test regime is changed, it’s hard to even see the development in a country. Such as when Germany changed testing strategy last year. Before that their curve followed Swedens. Now it doesn’t, but the death curve still does.

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    • Germany has heavily ramped up testing (they’re basically force testing every employee and schoolkid twice a week) in recent times, which is a large part of the reason why we are seeing a so-called third wave. However, deaths haven’t risen, because many of the most at risk people in nursing homes have already been vaccinated.

      Not that I’d mind exptensive testing – better, if they catch asymptomatic cases before they infect someone else. However, the German government also passed a law which ties several extremely restrictive measures such as nightime curfews to the number of infections per 100000 inhabitants. These measures are automatic, there is zero consideration for local conditions (i.e. the island of Helgoland was forced to enact a nighttime curfew, even though they have zero cases, because they county they belong to has crossed the infection level) nor for the fact that more tests means more infections found.

      My own county is close to the point where they are forced to enact a nighttime curfew, even though the increase in cases is due to an outbreak on an asparagus farm at the southern edge of the county 60 kilometres from where I live. So it may be that I soon cannot take a walk alone by night or early in the morning (which I do every day) anymore without fear of being caught, just because of a covid outbreak on an asparagus farm in a town 60 kilometres from where I live.

      Meanwhile, vaccinations continue way too slowly, though my Mom finally got a vaccination date in mid May with a second shot in June more than a month after the first. I might have a chance of getting vaccinated a bit earlier as a person who cares for at risk elderly people, i.e. my parents.

      It’s all insane and our government is terrible and only listens to the most doom and gloom experts they can find.

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  2. On Saturday, I’ll mark two weeks since shot #2, which I’m calling “Independence Day.” Eric and I haven’t eaten out at a restaurant since February 2020, but we’re thinking of celebrating. I know that seems awfully petty compared to what’s happening in India, but I’m going to take my victories where I can find them.

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    • I have another week. We’ll probably do the same.

      The Mr. was ahead of me in his shots, so last week he lived it up and WENT TO A MOVIE. Hardly anyone was there, so he had plenty of social distancing and he still wore his mask. No popcorn, and I made him wash/sanitize everything.

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  3. Press reports are that the Indian strain (B1.617) is present in the UK (nearly 200 cases detected by a week or so ago) and that the UK government is back to responding tardily to the pandemic – treating it as a variant under investigation rather than a variant of concern, and more importantly not performing surge testing or forensic contact tracing. But epidemiological reports from India, and experience with similar mutations elsewhere, are concerning. On the other hand, most reported UK cases are from people who have recently travelled overseas.

    https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-cases-of-variant-b-1-617-the-indian-variant-being-investigated-in-the-uk/

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  4. I’m still annoyed that the vaccine rollout in Canada is going so badly. Sure, we were one of the better of the big nations early on, but now everybody’s focusing on finally dealing with their own fires and Canada has been having trouble just getting enough vaccines shipped into the country to run its own program.

    That said, due to my age and the fact that I’m in an officially-designated ‘hot spot’, I’ve finally managed to book a vaccine appointment for next week, thanks to them opening up some new slots recently. (Last week I tried and everything within 11km of my location was full. This week there’s an open spot downtown only 8km away and in an easily accessible location.)

    I still won’t get my second dose until August.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I got mine in Ontario a couple weeks ago because I was just over the age limit and in an alleged hot spot. My wife got hers last week when they opened it up a bit more. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to get the second does yet, though–I didn’t know I was supposed to schedule it when I got my first.

      The provincial rollout has been a fiasco. Part of that is related to supply, but it’s not like they haven’t known for months now that there would be at least one vaccine.

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      • Everyone I know here in the fend-for-yourself US has automatically had their second dose booked right alongside the first, either 3 or 4 weeks later same location, day of the week, and time. You don’t have a choice, which makes it simpler.

        I am really surprised Canada is doing so badly.

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      • One of our friends got one when they were still doing the 70+ group because he happened to be at the med center at the end of the day, and swung by the shot place to see if they had any leftovers that would go bad. Indeed they did, and were happy to give it to him, and he got scheduled for that same time exactly 3 weeks later.

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      • Yeah. I griped about how if our Premier was so sure vaccines rather than closures were the way to go to stop the third wave, he should have been getting essential workers and teachers vaccines. Someone said “But we weren’t *getting* them delivered” … which is both true (Deliveries ahve been delayed) and Wrong,(We had more than we were giving out at the time.)

        And now, since our cross-border truckers have been getting vaccinated mostly through the generosity of North Dakota he’s saying our teachers can now get a special border pass to go down there and get vaccinated through that means. But hasn’t put them on the eligible list here at home unless they live in a hot spot or qualify by age. (My best friend is a teacher and her school AND her home both miss the hot spot border by a block each. Actually, the school misses it by being n the wrong side of the street they used for the border.)

        I got my first shot — Astra Zeneca as the only one currently open to my age group. I think my mom just joined team Pfizer.

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  5. There are now press reports about a study (from IHME) that worldwide 50% of COVID-19 deaths have been overlooked. The estimates are 900k for the US, 650k for India, and 600k each for Brasil, Mexico, and Russia. That puts Russia at a higher per capita death rate than the UK (209k).

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