COVID-19 Statistics – Update No. 4

By Bill King

This is a follow-up to my earlier posts where I began to track the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 daily situation reports. I have updated the spreadsheet here through WHO’s Sunday (April 5) evening report.

The number of global cases and fatalities about doubled this week as the number of cases went from 635,000 to 1,133,000 and fatalities grew from 30,000 to 63,000. However, the rate of increase has slowed.

The stat I think is the most important to watch is the daily percentage change in the number of new cases. This is the rate that determines whether the increase is geometric or arithmetic. After the outbreak in Europe began in earnest the increase in new daily cases grew over 12% on March 23. But since, the daily percentage increase has declined, coming in just a little over 7% yesterday.

That rate is still far too high. At a 7% daily compounding rate, over a billion people would be infected in a matter of months. But in Europe, which is much further along in the outbreak, the number of new cases was nearly flat last week and in Asia new cases have slowed to a trickle. Conversely, a serious outbreak in a country with a large population, say India, would result in a dramatic increase in the rate.

The US daily increase averaged 9% last week. However, that may not be comparable to other countries because testing here is now ramping up much more quickly than anywhere else in the world (see below).

Here are some of the other key metrics from the week:

According to the COVID Tracking Project, the US has continued to substantially ramp up testing. As of yesterday, almost 1.76 million tests have been completed. Almost half of those tests were completed last week. Since testing began about 19% of patients have tested positive.1

As of yesterday, there is still no country in the world where the confirmed infection rate has exceeded three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) of that country’s population.

The New York state health department is tracking fatalities by age. According to its latest data, 82% of all fatalities have been over 60. Only 3% have been under 30.

The total COVID-19 fatalities yesterday (5,798) likely represents about 3.5% of all global fatalities for the day.

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