Covid-19 Diary : Wednesday 20 May, 2020


I’ve commented before on the curious disconnect that has seen the governor of the state that has been worst affected by the virus become perceived as a hero and praised for his role in managing his state’s response. Now, even more curiously, here is a left-wing publication (Britain’s The Guardian) choosing to attack one of their own (Gov Cuomo), and instead of praising him for the response, blaming him for the problem in the first place.  The criticism seems largely fair and deserved, but it is coming from a really strange place.

Truly the virus is causing many of us to see things through a very strange lens.

Current Numbers

Here are the rankings for the eight states of any size with the highest infection rates.  Mayotte climbed one place today, pushing Iceland down a place.

  • San Marino/656 cases/the equivalent of 19,338 cases per million people
  • Vatican City/12 cases/14,981 cases per million (unchanged)
  • Qatar/37,097/12,902
  • Andorra/762/9,864
  • Luxembourg/3,971/6,356
  • Spain/279,524/5,979
  • Mayotte/1,475/5,423
  • Iceland/1,803/5,287

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

  • Belgium/9,150 deaths/790 deaths per million
  • Spain/27,888 deaths/596 deaths per million
  • Italy/32,330 deaths/535
  • United Kingdom/35,704/526
  • France/28,132/431
  • Sweden/3,831/380

To put those numbers into context, the death rates per million in the US/Canada are 287/160.  The world average (not a very reliable number) is 42.3.

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

Same Day
Last Week
Total Cases4,425,6574,982,9375,082,861
Total Deaths298,065324,554329,394
US Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million1,430,348/85,197
UK Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million229,705/33,186
Canada Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million72,278/5,302
Worst affected major country/case rateSpain/5,798Spain/5,963Spain/5,979
Second worst country affectedIreland/4,739Belgium/4,816Belgium/4,833
Third worstBelgium/4,658USA/4,748USA/4,813

Total cases worldwide broke through the 5 million figure today.  There was an anomaly in Britain, reporting a total number of cases lower than yesterday and with no new cases.  Its total deaths did increase, however.

I Am Not a Doctor, But….

Yet another in the “bad news if true” department.  Another suggestion that there may be a new mutation of the virus, and, alas, not a better one.

Timings And Numbers

There’s an interesting article in The Economist yesterday.  It suggests that Russia’s Covid-19 outbreak could be far worse than the official numbers coming out of Russia.

It cites some examples of apparent anomalies in the counts of cases and of deaths, and when viewed dispassionately, it is certainly surprising that Russia’s case fatality rate is lower than that of most other European countries, although not much different to other former-Soviet Union countries.  While not a totally valid number, for comparative purposes it is interesting to note that 0.96% of all reported Russian cases have resulted in deaths so far, which compares to neighboring countries such as 0.55% in Belarus, 2.93% in Ukraine, 2.1% in Latvia, 4.7% in Finland and 0.50% in Kazakhstan.  Certainly Russia’s rate is very much better than, eg, Germany (4.6%), Poland (4.9%), Sweden (12.2%) and France (15.5%).

But in the largely accusatory and condemnatory article, there is possibly an explanation.  It says

Meanwhile, some Russian doctors on social media say they were instructed to keep numbers low by including in the covid statistics only those who died directly of the disease, not those who had underlying conditions that might have contributed to their demise.

This is certainly the opposite of the methodology in many US states, where any person who dies while having even a mild case of a suspected (not tested, not confirmed, just suspected) of having an unknown unproven respiratory ailment at the time of their death is immediately labeled as a Covid-19 death.  The US Covid-19 case fatality rate is 6.0%.

So while it is possible, maybe even probable that Russia has adopted an approach that reduces the total death count, is it really any less valid than the US count which seems designed to boost it as high as possible?

A leaked Pentagon memo that they’re now trying to backpedal actually sounds totally credible to me.  It warns of a “real possibility” of a resurgence of case numbers, and suggests we’ll not see a vaccine prior to summer 2021.


After taking it easy, the Dow got a second wind today and moved up another 369 points, a 1.5% gain, landing at 24,576.  Is 25,000 far off?


They say that “a will to live” makes a powerful difference to a patient’s survival rate.  Clearly, a nurse in Russia understood that – as one patient said, “seeing this nurse, no-one wanted to die”.  But was she thanked?  No, her non-standard “treatment” got her into trouble.  Maybe this is the reason so few patients die in Russia?  Please see (and, yes, there is a picture) this article.  I love the old guy in the background, sitting up straight and very focused on the nurse!


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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