My first study of COVID-19, published in in February, included analytics collected from the first outbreak in China. This data suggested a natural R0 number (transmission/reproduction rate) of 2.2. This meant that if COVID-19 was left unchecked, each infected person would pass the virus on to (on average) 2.2 people. The COVID mortality rate observed at the time was about 2%, i.e. the death rate for people who had been infected.
Fast-forward (to today): I’ve been looking at the country-level mortality rates being measured by the Coronavirus Research Centre at John Hopkins University. As you’d expect, COVID mortality rates vary significantly by country. India, for example, is currently measuring a mortality rate of 1.6%, I was surprised to see a higher COVID mortality rate of 2.8 in the US. By far the highest COVID mortality rate is Mexico, currently running at 10.4 with the UK close behind at 8.4%. I find this shocking and am hoping that this huge variance has something to do with the way these numbers are being captured and reported.
When I looked at these alarming statistics I pinged out a WTF post to a small and well informed group on WhatsApp. I was advised that what looks like a complete imbalance is indeed caused by the way the data is recorded and reported and that the UK figures included people who’d died ‘with COVID’ rather than ‘of COVID’.
Regardless of the above interpretation, given that the UK current has a COVID-19 mortality rate of 8.4 , and given the number of ‘daily new cases’, I guess we may see a jump in the daily death rates (of people who died ‘with COVID’) to around 580 per day in the next two to three weeks.
It seems that the UK is better prepared for this second onslaught of COVID-19 (as we peaked at around 1000 deaths per day in April). None the less, we must hope and pray for an early break-through with a vaccine, in particular for the older folk, as the older you are the more scary things may appear.
The dashboard above shows the global situation at the time of writing this post. This is a clickable image that will link directly to the John Hopkins CSSE dashboard for the latest /up-to-date position.
Sources/references and other useful links are as follows:
NHS COVID-19 advice can be found on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Worldometer Coronavirus update: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
Latest graphs for UK Daily New Cases and Daily Deaths from Worldometer on this link.