1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide

The number of confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus has just passed 1 million.

Note that this is confirmed and advised cases, there will be many more undetected cases around the world.

This is a rapid rise.

  • 11 February – 45,134
  • 5 March – 98,425
  • 19 March – 244,902
  • 25 March – 471,035
  • 2 April – 1,007,128

Recorded deaths are currently 51,704 but even this could be under-reported.

Italian deaths could be twice as high – study

A study revealing the hidden toll of coronavirus at the epicentre of Italy’s outbreak has revealed the real death toll could be double official figures.

A study by Bergamo newspaper L’Eco di Bergamo with the InTwig data analysis agency puts the number of virus deaths last month at 4,500, compared with the official toll of 2,060, in the province of 1.1 million people.

Mayors have warned that the official numbers fail to take into account the many people dying at home or in rest homes who have never been tested for the virus.

Under current policies, only those who arrive at hospitals manifesting strong symptoms are tested.

Official deaths in Italy are currently 13,915.

Daily update – more cases but not much change

75 more cases today and another 6 recovered, with a total of confirmed and probably cases now 589.

Summary

As at 9.00 am, 30 March 2020
Total to date New in last 24 hours
Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand 552 76
Number of probable cases 37 -1
Number of confirmed and probable cases 589 75
Number of cases in hospital 12
Number of recovered cases 63 6
Number of deaths 1

View full details of the confirmed cases.

View details of significant COVID-19 clusters.

Case numbers are still expected to keep rising over the next week or so but at this stage things seem to be reasonably under control.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush:

Says two staff have tested positive for Covid-19. They are at home and not been hospitalised.

Mike Bush says 4547 Kiwis have returned over the past three days; 94 of those people were symptomatic and are in quarantine.

1200 did not have a satisfactory self-isolation plan.

About 3200 did have a plan and are self isolating, and police will ensure they are complying with those restrictions.

Three people have been arrested for repeat offences of breaching the lockdown and one person is still in custody, Mike Bush says.

He says tourists should refrain from travelling around the country.
If they persistently breach rules, police will take action, Bush says.

The New Zealand Government is today launching a daily email newsletter to give people a new way to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 information.

The daily updates will include:

  • The latest COVID-19 news
  • Answers to frequently asked questions, eg advice for essential workers
  • The latest resources, including translations, posters, and social media images

Sign up to get the latest updates from Unite Against Covid-19(external link)


How easily it can spread.

The Waikato District Health Board has confirmed a cluster of Covid-19 cases in Matamata can be linked to a St Patrick’s Day celebration at a local bar. There are now 23 confirmed cases in the area and most have been identified as attending the event on 17 March at the Redoubt bar, or are directly linked to those who attended.

There was at least one bar open for St Patricks day and also student parties.

Bars were closed and parades cancelled in Ireland for St Patricks Day

More New Zealanders in their 20s have Covid-19 than any other age group, Ministry of Health figures show, and it’s likely because most cases are connected to overseas travel. Ministry of Health data about the first 500 cases of Covid-19 shows people of European ethnicity in their 20s are the most likely to test positive for the virus.

OE exposure.

The Auckland girl’s school Marist College has 47 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19. It is the biggest cluster of infection being tracked by health authorities. The board chairperson Stephen Dallow says the confirmed cases include teachers, students and adults within the community.

That’s why protecting schools was important (managed very well at Logan Park in Dunedin).

How many people actually have Covid-19?

No one knows, but it’s certain that official counts will be under reporting actual cases. By how much?

“2.3% of Americans surveyed said they’ve been diagnosed with the coronavirus, a percentage that could translate to several million people”

The current official total in the US is 75,000 cases (and 1,070 deaths).

Official counts of cases of Covid-19 have been questioned around the world. The limited number of tests done and the narrow criteria for getting a test here in New Zealand naturally raises questions about the true numbers.

The only thing we can be certain of is that actual numbers are greater than official numbers, at least of cases (questions have also been raised about death counts in some countries).

Reuters: How many Americans have coronavirus? New Reuters poll might offer a hint

The official count of coronavirus infections in the United States sits at about 70,000 cases, but a chronic shortage of tests means only a fraction of the people infected are being counted. So how can we know how many Americans actually might have the disease?

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in the past several days could offer what one behavioral health expert called a “fascinating” hint of the possible numbers.

In the nationwide poll, 2.3% of Americans surveyed said they’ve been diagnosed with the coronavirus, a percentage that could translate to several million people.

Diagnosed by whom? That is likely to be various and of varying reliability.

Of course, it’s impossible to know if the answers are a result of misinformed self-diagnoses, untested professional diagnoses or test-confirmed infections. But Carnegie Mellon University professor Baruch Fischhoff, who studies risk perception and analysis, said that the poll results shouldn’t be viewed as merely a collective neurotic reaction to the pandemic.

Given the shortage of coronavirus test kits, it may well be a broadly accurate estimate of the extent of the infection across the United States, he said. “It may be the best available data,” he said.

A further 2.4% of those polled said they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

And in an illustration of the degrees of separation with the deadly virus, a further 2.6% said they knew someone who has been in close contact with a person who has tested positive.

While accuracy of these results can be questioned, there is a rise from a similar poll that at least suggests significant under counting in official numbers.

The poll, which surveyed 4,428 adults between March 18 and 24, shows a dramatic increase in those saying they have tested positive for the virus from a similar poll conducted just a few days earlier.

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,115 Americans conducted March 16 and 17, about 1% said they were infected.

The second poll was just after the first, but was for a longer period and polled four times as many people.

Still, the poll results may fill some gaps in knowledge in the face of limited testing.

For example, Fischhoff said, on March 15, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine estimated there were about 100,000 infections in his state, which represents about 1% of the state’s population, despite there only being a handful of confirmed cases at the time.

If these suggested infection rates are anywhere near reality there is one positive – the death rate per infected person and per population will be a lot lower.

But the obvious negative is that the virus may be far more widely established and spread in populations, including here in New Zealand.

One thing that needs to be remembered – until an effective vaccine becomes widely available Covid-19 will continue to spread probably everywhere, and more and more people will get it.

Apart from hoping a vaccine will come out in time we have to hope we don’t get it until the demand for health services settles back and treatments improve as they learn what works best to deal with the symptoms and avoid complications.

So for now I’m happy to be in isolation, and I am prepared for this being for closer to four months than four weeks (August has been mentioned as a time we may be getting on top of things by).