Good news on Corona?

The coronavirus pandemic has gripped the world both physically and psychologically. Everyday we see heartbreaking personal stories, terrifying death numbers, and have to give up our basic freedoms in the interest of our communities.

Being a stats geek myself I’ve been following the numbers very closely, somewhat to try to forecast the economic rebound, perhaps a bit our of morbid curiosity, but mostly because I’ve been deprived of the joys of following the stats for my precious World Champion Raptors and their ugly step sibling soon-to-turn-beautiful-swan (we hope), the Maple Leafs. What a red blooded sports following male to do?

Enough about me and my sports stats withdrawals though. Are any of these social distancing measures making any difference at all? The good news is that they appear to be helping.

Week over week changes of active cases per country
March 20->27
Filtered on countries with 500+ cases

CountryChange in activePrevious weeks paceAcceleration of trend in active
Turkey741.75%13120.00%-94.35%
Pakistan176.08%2325.00%-92.43%
Luxembourg227.70%1719.23%-86.76%
Ecuador280.53%2089.47%-86.57%
Mexico260.38%1887.50%-86.21%
Peru135.66%821.43%-83.49%
Qatar12.83%75.57%-83.03%
Egypt65.96%360.78%-81.72%
Malaysia99.57%469.70%-78.80%
Ireland210.22%878.26%-76.06%
Switzerland101.42%393.24%-74.21%
Colombia263.19%1007.69%-73.88%
Germany123.79%441.29%-71.95%
Czechia172.50%590.83%-70.80%
Chile264.95%895.35%-70.41%
Estonia99.65%314.71%-68.34%
Portugal311.20%809.01%-61.53%
Iceland95.79%245.30%-60.95%
Austria181.47%429.98%-57.79%
Indonesia185.31%433.33%-57.24%
Panama288.89%661.54%-56.33%
Thailand270.61%615.38%-56.03%
Brazil246.81%533.77%-53.76%
Poland235.63%507.46%-53.57%
Saudi Arabia217.26%450.82%-51.81%
Italy75.42%153.16%-50.76%
Dominican Republic697.14%1300.00%-46.37%
Russia311.25%548.65%-43.27%
Slovenia80.29%141.13%-43.11%
Argentina231.58%406.67%-43.05%
Canada309.80%535.33%-42.13%
Spain171.17%285.04%-39.95%
Greece90.13%149.20%-39.59%
South Africa463.37%741.67%-37.52%
Australia265.14%414.71%-36.06%
Netherlands179.07%264.39%-32.27%
UK264.85%386.48%-31.47%
Israel327.29%464.75%-29.58%
France138.95%196.22%-29.19%
Finland132.73%185.71%-28.53%
Belgium204.41%263.24%-22.35%
Singapore115.35%146.60%-21.31%
Hong Kong162.34%201.96%-19.62%
Sweden83.45%97.91%-14.77%
China-47.33%-51.29%-7.72%
Serbia262.12%277.14%-5.42%
Norway91.95%96.48%-4.69%
Philippines251.96%257.89%-2.30%
Denmark60.08%55.63%8.01%
Croatia340.32%313.33%8.61%
Iran64.15%56.62%13.30%
Romania315.52%274.32%15.02%
India259.28%211.27%22.72%
Japan42.40%34.22%23.92%

The virus is still spreading, and will likely continue for a while, but the rate of the spread is decreasing sharply across virtually all countries, with only 6 out of the 58 showing an accelerating trend. In addition, 3 of the 6 showing an acceleration, are already keeping the spread relatively contained, but they are worth watching should this be a start of a reversal in direction.

If we summarize the numbers they look as follows:

RegionChange in activeLast weeks paceAcceleration of pace of active
World151.91%160.04%-5.08%
World less China159.77%213.70%-25.24%
World less China/US125.49%189.92%-33.92%

I am excluding China because they are on the down slope of the curve and therefore can skew the numbers to make it appear as though there is no improvement in the pace week-to-week. The effect is clearly seen in the table above with World with China included not showing much of a deceleration.

I’m also excluding the US from my analysis for now because they are in a very different stage of this pandemic (testing wise) than the majority of the world, and are a large enough block to muddy the waters. The good news is that the US is testing at a truly impressive pace over the past week, quickly approaching 1 million tests completed, so hopefully we can all have a better picture of the situation there soon.

In summary, we can see that the restrictions most countries have put into place are having a very positive effect on the spread of the virus. I wouldn’t call more than doubling of the active cases in a week a victory, but it certainly beats tripling, and if the deceleration of the trend continues at -33% a week, we should be able to avoid some of the worst case scenarios being talked about in the media.

Clearly the best thing you can do to help is out is to keep re-watching those Netflix shows, play some video games, and stay at home. If you ask me that’s not a bad price to pay to make this go away quicker and save the lives of those vulnerable.

All numbers courtesy of the excellent https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries site.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

I picked one stat for today’s blog post, but there are plenty of others that I am tracking that confirm the trend, and I hope to find some time to post those in the near future.


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