I have been quiet for the last few days, mostly observing, reading, or playing Black Desert Online and self isolating in my own home. For me life hasn’t changed much under COVID-19 restrictions. In the last few months I have only left home once a week to do essential shopping and I still do that at the one shop that I trust – which is not a supermarket – to supply the food that I eat.
I have objectively observed a few things about The Virus over the last few days and I thought I would pass them on. Firstly, I take a global view. To do any other would introduce local distortions since it is perfectly obvious that not everywhere is affected in the same way by this terrible disease.
I have uploaded an image from the Worldometers coronavirus web page, omitting the large font numbers in order to show the graphs which I omitted previously. They tell the longer story. It has been almost 3 months since numbers began to be published, and they are beginning to make some sense.
Ok, there are now almost 1.7 million cases of The Virus globally, 1.2 million of those have occurred in the last 3 weeks. The graph of total cases indicates that all too well.
Of the 1.7 million cases, half a million (I’m dealing in round figures – they only need to be approximate) are closed cases. From the Total CAses graph we can see that the same number (500,000) represents all cases counted in the first two months, up to a point around three weeks ago. If we assume that the illness follows a linear progression, generally speaking, then we can objectively say that all the closed cases today must broadly represent all of the original cases prior to three weeks ago. I don’t think that would be stretching the truth too much at all. So, this is the first point I want to make – of all the cases up to 3 weeks ago, around 21% died of the illness (or the illness exacerbated some earlier health problem which precipitated death). I’m pretty sure that is something which would be difficult to contradict or deny. Yes, a large number of people have died in the last 3 weeks but wouldn’t it be fair to assume that for the most part these folk were among the cases reported prior to that time. There will be outliers of course, there always are, but I am speaking generally and trying to be logical and objective.
The next thing is, do we assume that what happened up to 3 weeks ago will also continue for the remainder of the outbreak? I have heard nothing of the illness changing itself or how it affects humans, so I think we must make that assumption.
So, the critical thing here appears to be the three week lag in clearing reported cases. We now have at this point 1.2 million active cases. Cases which, if the 3 wk lag holds, will all clear in the next 3 weeks – during which time a whole new group of cases will no doubt emerge (since there appears to be no slowdown in new cases – and today’s new case load is I think the highest yet on record).
Are we to assume then that around 20% of those 1.2 million cases will resolve with death? That is almost a quarter of a million additional deaths. Over 350,000 in total.
Now, to moderate that some way, I looked at how the 1.2 million are split between ‘in Mild Condition’ and ‘Serious or Critical’. The breakout is 4% are serious or critical. But, looking back, it can be seen that this has been the case for some weeks now – hovering between 4% and 5%. So, it is safe to assume that not all the deaths are arising from those serious/critical cases. Some deaths of course will have never made it onto the ‘active cases’ list.
Generally speaking then, we have to assume that some mild cases degenerate into serious cases. And overall there is no reason to assume that over the next three weeks the current case load will not all clear with the same resolved case breakdown as we have seen up to this point.
We need to prepare ourselves for that eventuality, and for even higher numbers as case numbers continue to grow.
The only mitigating factor I can see in this is that we may now have a better grasp on what all this means than we did almost three months ago. Many of us are sheltering in place as far as possible – looking for it to end. An end though that is nowhere in sight at the present moment.