Tuesday, March 17, 2020

COVID-19: The numbers donʻt look good

Anybody whoʻs still suggesting this whole COVID-19 thing is overblown...theyʻre lying to you, or theyʻre misinformed.

It is in fact frightening, and fast getting worse. The United States is still at the start of the upward trend in infections.

Consider this fact that you havenʻt heard on the news: The European Union now has had three times more cases per capita than China.

Here are the numbers: China has had 81,000 cases, and has a population of 1.4 billion. That works out to 57.5 cases per million people.

The European Union has 69,900 cases and a population of 446 million. Thatʻs 157 cases per million residents—three times worse than China.

The United States so far has just 6,420 cases in a population of 331 million, or 19.4 cases per million.
Those case numbers come from this site. The E.U population numbers are from this site. 

Chinaʻs case load has dropped dramatically. They did that with draconian measures, including aggressive quarantine, bounties paid to people who turned in quarantine violators, tracking peoplesʻ cell phones and requiring everyone wear masks whenever outside.

South Korea had a severe outbreak, and approached it in a very different way, with the most expansive testing program in the world: More than 270,000 of its residents were tested as it tracked down and quarantined anyone who was sick with COVID-19.

South Korea has 8,320 cases. That works out to 162 cases per million of its 51.5 million residents. But it has dropped its number of new cases dramatically. The magazine Science printed a story today on how South Korea did that. 

As I write this on March 17, 2020, Italy has the worst caseload in the European Union and perhaps the world—521 cases per million residents. (31,500 cases in a population of 60.5 million.)

Just looking at the numbers suggests much worse is yet to come for the United States. Our population is about 328 million. 

If we are able to limit our outbreak to Chinaʻs size, weʻre looking at 19,000 cases. (57.5 times 328 million.)

If we can keep it to Koreaʻs, then itʻs 53,000. (162 times 328 million.)

But if we get to Italyʻs situation, itʻs 171,000 (521 times 328 million.)

One issue is that while China and South Korea used two different strategies to begin to get a handle on the outbreak, the United States has been using neither. Not aggressive, almost punitive quarantine measures like China. And not aggressive, intrusive testing like Korea.

Our national hope seems to be that a combination of voluntary isolation measures and a moderate testing protocol will do the trick.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2020

No comments: