Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 12 April, 2020


I managed to complete my “deep dive” into the Covid-19 death rate, and wrote it as a separate article to make it easier for us all to refer back to.  As always, if there’s something you don’t agree with or don’t understand, let me know so I can make it clearer in the article (or correct if there’s an error).

I’m finding there is much of value and importance in the back “pages” of this diary, but it is sort of buried in with everything else, and am now wondering if there’s a way I can extract some of the key points and put them on separate pages of data.  Another project for when time allows….

Current Numbers

Here are the rankings for the seven states of any size with the highest infection rates.  There is no change in ranking, and four of the countries didn’t register any new cases today.  The other three had modest increases.

  • San Marino/356 cases/the equivalent of 10,492 cases per million people (unchanged)
  • Vatican City/8 cases/9,988 cases per million (unchanged)
  • Andorra/638/8,257
  • Luxembourg/3,281/5,241
  • Iceland/1,701/4,985
  • Gibraltar/129/3,829 (unchanged)
  • Faroe Islands/184/3,766 (unchanged)

Here are the top six major countries, showing death rates per million of population in the country.  There was no change in ranking today :

  • Spain/17,209 deaths/368 deaths per million
  • Italy/19,899 deaths/329 deaths per million
  • Belgium/3,600/311
  • France/14,393/221
  • Netherlands/2,737/160
  • United Kingdom/10,612/156

The UK continues to close in on the Netherlands in terms of deaths per million, and in total, today broke through the 10,000 point.  To put those numbers into context, the death rates per million in the US/Canada are 67/19.  The world average (not a very reliable number) is 14.7.

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

Same Day
Last Week
Total Cases1,272,5141,778,9761,852,257
Total Deaths/Percent of all Resolved Cases69,413/21.0%108,770/21.3%114,194/21.3%
Active Cases (ie not yet died or cured)941,6161,267,5471,314,752
US Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million336,327/9,605/1,016532,879/20,577/1,610560,300/22,105/1,693
UK Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million47,808/4,934/70478,991/9,875/1,16484,279/10,612/1,241
Canada Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million15,512/280/41123,318/653/61824,383/717/646
Worst affected major country/case rateSpain/2,816Spain/3,487Spain/3,568
Second worst country affectedSwitzerland/2,438Switzerland/2,901Switzerland/2,937
Third worstItaly/2,133Italy/2,518Italy/2,586

Possibly good news?  The global daily new case count seems to be flattening

As you can see, it is hard to see much of an upward trend, probably pretty much from the start of April, and if anything, we might be starting to see the first hint of dropping new daily cases reported.

The new case count is however the most vague of all numbers.  It is interesting because it is an early indicator of a subsequent trend in daily deaths, and we’ll look at what is happening with daily deaths tomorrow.

Timings And Numbers

Here’s a great article that points out eight limitations of most statistics and projections about this disease.  Well worth reading, and important to understand as a precursor to being able to evaluate the many different conflicting numbers and changes thereto.

It dismays me how so many in the media selectively pick the numbers that help them to make a story, and then conveniently forget their headlines when they are proven so spectacularly wrong.  This article, which you won’t see in any main stream publication, reminds us that Gov Cuomo demanded 30,000 ventilators and told Pres Trump, who thought the number was excessive, that he could choose which 26,000 people would die if he didn’t get them.

The reality?  On NY’s day of peak need, it turns out they needed 5,008 (and we think there are about 10,000 ventilators in state anyway).  Where are the headlines now “Trump was right, media and Gov Cuomo were wrong”?

Oh – one more thing about ventilators.  There is a growing body of circumstantial evidence suggesting that ventilators are being over-used, and may be doing more harm than good in many cases.  I linked to an article that briefly appeared on Medium before being censored that had a fascinating look at this subject; here’s another article quoting multiple sources including professional journals such as this.


Maybe because I’m an unrepentant and joyful meat eater, I continue to worry about the status of our meat supply chain.  This article mainly talks about pork, but covers pretty much all “protein plants” (as seems to be the curious term used) and the similar problems they all share.

Time to go to Costco and buy up on their excellent value ground beef and pork chops, I fear.  In preparation for a shopping trip tomorrow, I’ve been poking around my freezer to see if there are any vegetables I can throw out and replace with meat.  I found a half empty bag of frozen Brussels Sprouts that had a “best by” date of 2010 (and yes, I did throw them out, although they still looked quite edible).  That’ll be space for another pound of meat instead!


I mentioned yesterday that WHO unforgivably says 39″ is all the distance you need between yourself and someone who is coughing and sneezing in your direction.  Here’s an article that reports 13ft between patients and samples of the virus, and I’ve earlier linked to other articles showing even greater distances.


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.

2 thoughts on “Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 12 April, 2020”

  1. An interesting conclusion about ventilators counts today — the same day there is an entire article about how bad the statistics are. I have no clue which models the US government was using nor which NY state was using. Consider if the social distancing had been less effective than it seems to be and the NY inflections had double two more time (which is between 4 and 6 days). If ventilator usage trends consistent with inflection rates (with a time lag) then the 5K need would have been about 20K.

    It is impossible to get 100% utilization unless people in need are not getting a ventilator. While it might be possible to move a ventilator or patient in New York City; its not likely when the patient is in Albany and the ventilator is in Rochester.

    Hotels, where the check in and check out dates are known, are considered sold out at 85% of maximum capacity. Ventilator patients don’t make reservations and the end of need date is going to vary. So 80% utilization is probably optimistic.

    80% of 30K is 24K; 2 more cycles of doubling is 20K. So a much smaller error rate.

    An article posted earlier said NY used 5,900. Using that as the baseline and adding two more doubles is 23,600 — rather close to 24K

    Thank god social distancing works pretty well in slowing the spread. The effectiveness (given the pictures of packed parks) is a bit surprising but again the spread slowed.

    The models aren’t great, everything is exponential. I find it hard to blame NY state for considering a worse potential.

    1. Hi, Biz

      There’s a lot of nuance to consider here. A few replies.

      Moving a ventilator between Albany and Rochester : What is the problem with that. It is a 3 1/2 hour drive. A ventilator isn’t a large device, stick it on the passenger seat of your car and drive it.

      Hotels : Disagree on this. Hotels (and flights, which have more dependencies and so are harder to fill) both regularly go over 85%. Indeed, for the last several years, it seems the mantra on every flight I take is “It is a full flight today, so please…..”. But I take your point about end dates varying; although that is built into the modeling.

      Greedy NY : While NY is demanding 30k extra ventilators, it isn’t saying “We need these for just in case things are worse than we’re told they will be”. Gov Cuomo was telling President Trump that Trump would have to decide which of 26,000 people would die. That’s a very strong statement to make, and a million miles different from “at present we’re not sure we need more than the 10k we have, but could you please send us another 30k just in case”. NY wasn’t, as you put it, “considering a worse potential” – it was claiming it needed the ventilators as a decided fact. Indeed, the NY Times was making claims in its pages, at the same time, that doctors were already needing to decide which patients lived and which died due to a ventilator shortage, a claim that was an utter total fabrication.

      Greedy NY part 2 : Noting there were more requests from more states than there were spare ventilators in national storage, every ventilator NY said it needed as a matter of certain life or death meant that some other state, somewhere else, did not get one. Did Gov Cuomo – the same guy who just a few weeks previously was boasting that NY had the finest health system in the world and would have no trouble beating the virus, if indeed it proved to be a problem – actually stop to consider the national picture and adjust his need for “just in case” ventilators with respect to other states with possibly greater needs?

      Social distancing : “Pretty well” is about as strong a praise as I can muster, too. In actual fact, it is profoundly disappointing how poorly it is working, and for the reason you cite – all the noncompliance. If social distancing really worked, we’d have seen a knife edge/cliff fall in new case numbers about 5 days after it was introduced.

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