COVID-19 Trends

Sorting is useful when working with data. It could reveal trends. I used to do this when I was in grade school. I was going through a World Atlas at one time and was ranking countries according to area and population. I even collected all the mountains with their respective altitude. Of course, at that time, all I knew was whether numbers were larger or smaller. All those digits did not mean so much except that some were large, and some were small. With the data on COVID-19, one cannot escape the fact that each number is a person. And in this case, some of these numbers are telling us a very sad story. Still, there are trends and from these, we may still learn a thing or two.

The following tables are obtained from data provided by Worldometer.

The obvious ranking is by number of cases. The United States of America is on top.

Country Cases
USA 356,414
Spain 135,032
Italy 132,547
Germany 101,558
France 98,010
China 81,708
Iran 60,500
UK 51,608
Turkey 30,217
Switzerland 21,652
Belgium 20,814
Netherlands 18,803
Canada 16,498
Austria 12,293
Portugal 11,730
Brazil 11,721
S. Korea 10,284
Israel 8,904
Sweden 7,206
Russia 6,343

Except for Brazil, all of the top 20 countries lie north of the Tropic of Cancer. These countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, which currently is in the Winter/Spring season. 
We can also rank the countries according to the number of deaths.

Country Deaths
Italy 16,523
Spain 13,169
USA 10,490
France 8,911
UK 5,373
Iran 3,739
China 3,331
Netherlands 1,867
Germany 1,662
Belgium 1,632
Switzerland 762
Turkey 649
Brazil 516
Sweden 477
Canada 321
Portugal 311
Austria 220
Indonesia 209
Ecuador 191
Denmark 187

In this top 20 list, we are now seeing countries near the equator: Brazil, Indonesia and Ecuador. Still, the list is dominated by countries in the northern temperate zone, and these countries generally have a better health infrastructure than the countries near the equator. There is a question on how reliable the total number of cases and deaths are. With cases, there may not be enough testing to find the actual number of positive cases. And with deaths, there is a significant lag between initial infection and death since the virus has a relatively long period of incubation. Thus, a better measure maybe the number of serious or critical cases. Here is the top twenty countries.

Country Serious/Critical
USA 8,876
France 7,072
Spain 6,931
Iran 4,083
Germany 3,936
Italy 3,898
UK 1,559
Turkey 1,415
Netherlands 1,409
Belgium 1,257
Sweden 590
Canada 426
Switzerland 391
Chile 327
Brazil 296
Mexico 293
Portugal 270
China 265
Austria 250
Romania 179

There is of course positive numbers in any table. The following are the number of recoveries.

Country Recovered
China 77,078
Spain 40,437
Germany 28,700
Iran 24,236
Italy 22,837
USA 19,247
France 17,250
Switzerland 8,056
S. Korea 6,598
Belgium 3,986
Austria 3,463
Canada 3,439
Australia 2,432
Denmark 1,378
Turkey 1,326
Malaysia 1,241
Peru 997
Thailand 793
Chile 728
Mexico 633

A significant number of people are indeed recovering.

The above three lists, however, are both absolute numbers. To gain further insight, one should really consider the population in each country to have a better handle of the density of these cases and deaths. Here is the list for number of cases per million people.

CountryTotal Cases/1M pop

Vatican City 8,739
San Marino7,839
Faeroe Islands3,745
Channel Islands1,858
Isle of Man1,635

It does not bode well that the United States of America is not in the above list although it has the highest number of confirmed cases. The question of adequate testing is also important so here is a table that shows the top 20 countries in testing.

Country Cases Total Cases/1M pop Total Tests/1M pop
Faeroe Islands 183 3,745 100,976
Iceland 1,562 4,577 81,701
Gibraltar 109 3,235 41,168
Luxembourg 2,843 4,542 38,805
Bahrain 756 444 28,023
Malta 241 546 24,738
Liechtenstein 77 2,020 23,605
UAE 2,076 210 22,244
Norway 5,763 1,063 20,530
Isle of Man 139 1,635 19,263
Brunei 135 309 18,883
Switzerland 21,652 2,502 18,776
San Marino 266 7,839 17,270
Estonia 1,108 835 16,484
Slovenia 1,021 491 13,590
Qatar 1,832 636 13,227
Hong Kong 915 122 12,900
Israel 8,904 1,029 12,677
Greenland 11 194 12,648
Austria 12,293 1,365 12,357

Faeroe Islands seems to have done the most extensive testing. It has tested 10 percent of its population. With this extensive testing, the infection rate in Faeroe Islands stands at 0.37 percent. The highest infection rate in this table of countries that have done testing on a significant fraction of its population is San Marino (which is near Italy) and its infection rate is 0.78 percent. We know that in the Diamond Princess cruise ship, a 20 percent infection was observed so could it be that the ceiling in open land is only 1 percent? Possibly.

After we get through these times, there will be lots of data to study. We could certainly learn a lesson or two from these numbers.


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