The World and the COVID-19 Data at 24 July, 2020

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(This is an adaptation of an earlier post that showed the state of affairs on July 17. Only the figures have been replaced.)

Elsewhere, Mr Node has described the tableaux he made to compare COVID developments in six countries. From now on there will be a post every week with a set of six tableaux on how the situation is developing in those countries. And preceding that a table for the worldwide COVID developments, accompanied by a table with the data used These are harvested from https://worldometers.info.

The COVID tableau for the world as of July 24, 2020

Fig. 1 The COVID tableau for the world as of July 24, 2020

In week 5 of the pandemic (which was still local in China at the time), unrestrained exponential growth was tackled. Graphs 3 and 4 show that around week 10 the exponential growth of weekly infections reversed to become linear but still rising by week 13. [Chart 4 suggests an error has crept into the data – we’ll investigate (and fix, if required) later] Bending down starts in week 14, and a tipping point is reached in week 15. However, this does not lead to a decrease in the number of infections per week, but to a delicate balance around the status quo of week 15. Around week 23 another linear period of sharp increases in infections begins. Graph 2 shows the development of the total number of contaminations as a partly exponential and partly linear but always seriously increasing function.

A function, but of what?

The Data until July 24, 2020

The observed data up to Juli 24, 2020

Here are the data that were used as observations for all seven tableaux. They are taken from http://worldometers.info. They do not differ substantively from other serious sources. For those who are used to thinking in daily figures, it should be noted that weekly figures can be an order larger in times of exponential growth.

The COVID tableau for the PRC as of July 24, 2020

The COVID tableau for the PRC as of July 24, 2020

The onset of the epidemic in China coincides with the onset of the world’s pandemic. Presumably based on previous experiences with SARS, the Chinese government acted hard and quickly when it became clear that the virus was a dangerous, infectious SARS-like thing. Even before week 7, lock-downs were ordained for large cities and constraints were put in place for the large New Year’s migrations of people that China traditionally has around the beginning of February. Construction of emergency hospitals was also started by then in Wuhan. The measures were accompanied by mouth mask obligations, temperature measurements and strict supervision of quarantines. Charts 3 and 4 show that by week 11, China was back in control. It has remained there since then, except for week 16, which is an administrative correction of the numbers of previously deaths not recorded as corona deaths. Overall, it looks like China is in control of the pandemic. When one lives under the assumption that the Chinese are deeply immoral it is of course an option to reckon with the possibility that the PRC is cheating with the numbers. But this is not very probable because – as much as Trump might want the contrary – it wouldn’t go unnoticed abroad when serious outbrakes were covered up. Apart from numerous semi-secure personal communications with the outside world via VPN-like, encrypted connections, serious numbers of funerals (like in Brazil) or the building of emergency hospitals would be noted by satellite.

The COVID tableau for the USA as of July 24, 2020

The COVID tableau for the USA as of July 24, 2020

The first COVID-19 deaths are registered in the USA in week 11 of the international outbreak. That is the week in which China appears to be in control again of its local outbreak after experiencing and actively fighting a true COVID-19 massacre in weeks 5-10. Because China has by no means withheld information on this massacre and fight (possibly other than in the initial weeks leading up to week 5), the way in which the pandemic was met in the USA is a political translation of what was already empirically known. Of course, that also applies to all other jurisdictions considered in this project (France, UK, Netherlands, Brazil). And that means that the introduction and further approaches to the pandemic can shed light on how the local mix of scientific, legal, social and economic forces leads to political decisions per jurisdiction.

The current process of transition (from disciplinary mixture to political action) in the United States is a fascinating spectacle for outsiders. Science, journalism and administration (legislation and enforcement) are losing prestige and are suspected of corruption, the social contrasts between ethnic and political factions are increasing, and the economy is being cornered. Mister Sum thinks that the US has, in a period of four years, managed to lose its position as a leading world power and is heading for modern (mainly digital) forms of civil war.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t look like the U.S. is controlling the outbreak, on the contrary. The numbers of new cases per week are showing a sharp increase, which is now (a month later) beginning to be followed by increasing numbers of deaths per week. We need to brace ourselves against what Trump will do if those numbers would begin to seriously erode his political support base.

The COVID tableau for France as of July 24, 2020

The COVID tableau for France as of July 24, 2020

The first COVID-19 deaths are registered in France in week 8 of the international outbreak. In week 14, the observations deviate visibly for the first time from the expectation according to the standard model. Serious measures are likely to be in place and enforced given the exponential decline in weekly numbers of infections and deaths after week 14. Overall, the pandemic in France appears to be reasonably under control, even though the level of weekly new infections shows that there are still major risks for a new wave.

The COVID tableau for the UK as of July 24, 2020

The COVID tableau for the UK as of July 24, 2020

The first COVID-19 deaths are registered in the UK in week 10 of the global outbreak. In week 14, the observations deviate visibly for the first time from the expectation according to the standard model. Serious measures are likely to be in place and enforced, given the more or less linear decline in weekly numbers of infections and deaths after week 15. Overall, the pandemic in the UK appears to be reasonably under control, although the numbers of weekly new infections show that there are still major risks for a new wave.

The COVID tableau for the Netherlands as of July 24, 2020

he COVID tableau for the Netherlands as of July 24, 2020

The first COVID-19 deaths are registered in the Netherlands in week 10 of the global outbreak. In week 14, the observations deviate visibly for the first time from the expectation according to the standard model. It is plausible that serious measures have been introduced and maintained, given the exponential decrease in new infections per week and the linear decrease in new deaths per week, both after week 16. Overall, the pandemic in the Netherlands seems reasonably under control with, between weeks 21 and 24, a still rather risky level of new infections, which decreases to a minimum in week 27. After that, the number of new infections begins to slowly increase again. Yet another situation to monitor closely.

The COVID tableau for Brazil as of July 24, 2020

The COVID tableau for Brazil as of July 24, 2020

The first COVID-19 deaths are registered in Brazil in week 12 of the global outbreak. In week 16, the observations deviate visibly for the first time from the expectation according to the standard model. In the case of Brazil, this deviation does not lead to a decrease in the weekly numbers of infections. These only occur in week 27. By week 23 there is a noticeable decrease in the growth of the number of deaths per week (it is unclear whether this is the result of the way in which Bolsonaro views the registration of COVID-19 cases — this question requires further attention). At that time, the photos of new mass cemeteries also circulated. Brazil, meanwhile, ranks with the USA as a jurisdiction where the weekly numbers of infections and deaths have not yet been brought to a level that offers prospects for control.