COVID - What numbers reveal

Asia will be source of troubles in the Winter as well.

COVID is a virus that has affected 0.1% of the world population. It is highly contagious and has been able to circumnavigate the globe. 

On the surface - the above graphs make two things obvious :

  1. More people are being affected by COVID than before

  2. Fewer people are dying due to COVID than before

The spiking numbers during March were all the European countries reporting proper data and then taking proper steps. Made the Europeans looks like people with shit immunity and completely ill-prepared.

But there is more to the story than that. Authoritarian countries have for certain been misreporting case numbers. China for starters claims even today to have had 83,000 cases. 

The United States has 20 times as many and climbing. Even they did not scramble to build a hospital in 10 days! 

COVID and Politics

China most certainly had a much higher number of cases than reported - an order of magnitude higher - 20X / 30X / 50X what was reported. Which implies that both the graphs above are only partially accurate. The outbreak in Jan and Feb was much larger and even the deaths were more numerous.

Russia is currently passing off several COVID deaths as caused by other pre-existing conditions. This is important for Putin to be able to stay in power. In Pakistan, hospitals have ‘Full House’ boards outside of them denying patients entry. India is still dissuading testing if the symptoms are not very pronounced and Delhi has had patients turned away from hospitals because of their inability to accommodate them. 

Testing is not at the level it should be across the world. The US is leading at 25 million tests followed by Russia at 15 Million tests done. 

The only Asian countries on the list are Middle Eastern.

UAE and Bahrain have tested more than 25% of their population! UK, Russia and Spain have tested 10% of their population while the USA and Italy have tested 7.5% of them. 

More generally the European countries have got a lot of testing done and this has resulted in the control that they have been able to have over the virus. 

I think more than New Zealand, UAE should be commended for the steps taken to curb the virus despite being a major transit destination with flight activity. A country not very well known for its science and one whose success is heavily attributed to a natural resource that they did nothing to acquire. 

More broadly, I think the Asian troubles are not over. 

Most of the larges Asian countries have not tested enough. They do not have the infrastructure to handle patients, hence even active cases might not find a healthcare facility to turn to. Also, a large number of poor means that their death may not even find a record until a long time has passed. In addition to this, political expediencies mean misreporting of numbers is rampant. Without a huge ramp-up in testing, the way out of this mess could be far away.

Asia will be the reason COVID will rise once again in the winter.