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The Global View – 3 Maps

April 1, 2021 am30 11:25 am

The first map is the number of COVID cases since we started counting in early 2020 or late 2019. These are cumulative totals (as a proportion of the population)

What jumps out? Asia? Africa? the Pacific? It looks like practically no cases in 2/3rds of the world.

But didn’t China have a lot of cases? Early on, yes. But they controlled the pandemic, which governments in Europe and the Americas did not. As of today China has had 90,000 cases, mostly in the first quarter of 2020. The US has had 31,000,000 cases, half of them in the last four months. Yesterday there were 68,000 new cases in the US, and 11 new cases in China.

What about South Asia? West Africa? Is this just underreporting? There is underreporting. But the March 1, 2021 New Yorker had a fascinating piece, Why Does the Pandemic Seem to Be Hitting Some Countries Harder Than Others? By Siddhartha Mukherjee that dissected what is going on. Underreporting? Certainly. But that hardly explains the bulk of the difference. Younger populations? Yes, but again it only explains a bit of the difference. Government response? That explains Vietnam and New Zealand, but not most of the rest. Could exposure to other corona viruses impart partial immunity? That is a fascinating idea that needs to be further explored.

So this is a funny picture. We have a worldwide pandemic, with the bulk of the cases in the Americas, especially the United States, and in most of Europe.

The next map is the number of COVID-19 deaths since we started counting.

It looks like the previous map. A lot. So where are the differences?

  • Mexico and most of South America show worse on the mortality map than they did on the number of cases map.
  • Most of Europe shows up worse on the number of cases map than on the mortality map
  • New York shows up much worse on the mortality map than on the number of cases map.

In fact, New York shows up the worst in the world on the mortality map. This represents one decision, by one man. Over 14,000 people died in New York nursing homes. That is, 1 out of every 200 people who succumbed to COVID worldwide was in a nursing home subject to Andrew Cuomo’s executive order.

The third map is the current new case rate. Look at problem areas:

  • France
  • to a lesser extent Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway
  • central Europe (except Germany)
  • southeastern Europe
  • Turkey
  • Brazil and Uruguay
  • to a lesser extent, the southern cone of South America
  • the northeast United States, especially New York and New Jersey. Also Michigan

Inconsistent government response is a common denominator. Opening up too soon and allowing the virus to roar back, creating fertile ground for imported variants, or new mutations. In NY, allowing extensive local travel is clearly a factor.

it is worrying for the US, Brazil and Europe that new cases are mostly occurring in those places – it is as if there is no possibility of local mitigation. These leaders will keep opening things up and letting people get sick and die, with the promise that one day enough people will be vaccinated.

In the meantime… it’s as if the meantime doesn’t matter to Cuomo.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Samuel Noel permalink
    April 1, 2021 pm30 5:10 pm 5:10 pm

    The return from Spring Break and reopened high schools with reduced social distancing should take us to new heights (or depths).

    • April 1, 2021 pm30 5:26 pm 5:26 pm

      When teaching math there is a huge advantage to understanding, when students make mistakes, why they make them.

      Likewise, with the reopening advocates, it is useful to understand why they believe, so adamantly, that they are right.

      This is worth a full article. But for now, I’m setting aside their motivation (many of them, perhaps most of them, are highly motivated for personal or political reasons, or some combination of the two). The mode of reasoning is binary. Either someone is at risk, or they are not. Either a setting is potentially risky, or it is not. There is no nuance, no shades, no uncertainty.

      In their universe, constructed by cherry-picking journalists, politicians, and economists, schools are not a risky setting. Students are not vulnerable. And teachers should be vaccinated (and are not, or no longer, vulnerable).

      So when we return from Spring Break, with high school buildings open, during a surge fueled largely by the British variant B117 and two new, local NY variants, and the surge accelerates, when that happens (and you are correct, it probably will), the New York Times, Governor Cuomo, and all and sundry reopening advocates won’t flinch. They already “know” that schools are unrelated to COVID-19.

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