Covid-19 Diary : Saturday 18 April, 2020

 

I was asked, yesterday, why I’m so critical of companies that start temperature-testing their staff and customers.  There are two obvious questions – why would this be increasingly common if it isn’t beneficial, and even if it isn’t a perfect test, surely any test is a good thing and helps reduce risk?  (There’s a third question that most people have been too polite to ask – how is it that I claim to know more than these companies?)

I can answer the second question based on factual issues.  As for the first and third questions, well, I’ll let you answer them as you think appropriate!

Because the temperature testing seems like it may become a significant part of our future easing back of restrictions, I think it is important enough an issue to have its own web page, and so have created a separate article that you should have already seen/received.

Current Numbers

Here are the rankings for the eight states of any size with the highest infection rates.  There were no changes in ranking today.

  • San Marino/455 cases/the equivalent of 13,410 cases per million people
  • Vatican City/8 cases/9,988 cases per million (unchanged)
  • Andorra/704/9,111
  • Luxembourg/3,537/5,650
  • Iceland/1,760/5,158
  • Spain/194,416/4,158
  • Gibraltar/132/3,918 (unchanged)
  • Faroe Islands/184/3,766 (unchanged)

Here are the top six major countries, showing death rates per million of population in the country  :

  • Belgium/5,453/471 deaths per million
  • Spain/20,639 deaths/441 deaths per million
  • Italy/23,227 deaths/384
  • France/19,323/296
  • United Kingdom/15,464/228
  • Netherlands/3,601/210

To put those numbers into context, the death rates per million in the US/Canada are 118/39.  The world average (not a very reliable number) is 20.6.

For major countries and/or outbreaks, and in general :

Same Day
Last Week
Yesterday Today
Total Cases 1,778,976 2,250,757 2,330,856
Total Deaths/Percent of all Resolved Cases 108,770 154,262 160,754
Active Cases (ie not yet died or cured) 1,267,547 1,525,350 1,573,614
US Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million 532,879/20,577/1,610 710,021/37,158/2,145 738,792/39,014/2,232
UK Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million 78,991/9,875/1,164 108,692/14,576/1,601 114,217/15,464/1,682
Canada Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million 23,318/653/618 31,927/1,310/846 33,383/1470/885
Worst affected major country/case rate Spain/487 Spain/4,082 Spain/4,158
Second worst country affected Switzerland/2,901 Switzerland/3,129 Belgium/3,208
Third worst Italy/2,518 Belgium/3,118 Switzerland/3,166
Fourth Belgium/2,418 Italy/2,852 Ireland/2,989
Fifth France/1,986 Ireland/2,831 Italy/2,910

Belgium and Ireland both moved up a place today.

We note with dismay how numbers in the UK seem to have stalled – the good news is there’s no longer any apparent growth in daily deaths, but there’s no sign of numbers starting to steadily decline, either.

As you can see, for the last ten days, numbers have sort of hovered in place.  That’s an uncomfortable place to be at, and to put things in perspective, their daily death rate of about 850 would translate to a daily death rate of about 4250 in the US, which is about twice our worst level.

That’s not to say we’re delighted about the US daily death rate trend either, which also seems to be more or less stalled.

Closings

One of the problems with the extended time it is taking for us to turn the corner and stop seeing tens of thousands of new virus cases every day is the imperfect nature of our various social distancing type requirements.  The same is true of many other countries too.  And, on the opposite side of that issue, if we believe China’s numbers, the reason they so swiftly and totally beat the virus is because of their extremely strict shutdown.

Albania has decided it prefers ending its virus problems quickly and totally, and so is threatening people who break their quarantine laws with two – eight year jail terms.

The country currently has a low virus infection rate (190 cases per million) and has suffered only 26 deaths so far.  This latest strengthening of the law only occurred at the end of the week, so it will take a while to see how effective it will be.

Shortages

Here’s an article that searches around the US trying to find the states that have suffered from ventilator shortages.  It isn’t very successful in attempting to find any.

Logic?  What Logic?

In the panicked rush to “lock down” the country, a massive number of anomalies and nonsensical prohibitions have been put in place.  Sadly, there’s no-one with the sense or compassion to now amend the nonsense requirements, no doubt “out of an abundance of caution”.  Here’s a list of some such things.

A couple of days ago Qantas was boasting that no-one has ever successfully proved that a passenger caught the virus on a flight.  And now Air Canada is saying “you must wear a mask from before boarding, continuously, until after deplaning”.

What does AC know that QF doesn’t?

Medical

This is a great roundup on current vaccines under test.  The article is aware of 115 vaccine programs in development at present.  The article also has a fascinating explanation on the different types of vaccine strategies and methods.

Here’s one approach to developing a vaccine in which the researchers are so confident of success they’re already proceeding to make vaccines, even before their trialing is done.  We hope their confidence is justified, and we hope their plans for one million doses will be able to quickly see some more zeroes added to the total dose count.

And another sad story of states that choose to buy medical gear from China.  We’d say that one should know better than to do that, but in tragic truth, it is often almost impossible to find alternatives.

Rumors

I’ve expressed my concern at the growing activism being shown by internet media companies and their willingness to censor information about the coronavirus.  Sure, there are some obvious crazy nonsensical things floating around, but there are also a lot of more nuanced topics and discussions that while controversial or “unproven” are also helpful and useful contributions to the total understanding.

Yesterday I worried about who the censors are.  And today we now see a profile on one such censor.  A lady who has been activity censoring negative comments about China’s Wuhan virus laboratories, based on her knowledge as someone who worked there.

Okay, I’ll agree, she probably has more knowledge about the labs than you and I do.  But having knowledge isn’t the same as being impartial, fair, or honest.  If simple possession of knowledge about the virus gave one instant credibility, then we’d all be believing every word the Chinese government utters.

 

Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again tomorrow

 

Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.

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David.

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