New Zealand Covid comparison

Worldwide Covid cases may have peaked but new daily cases are still running at 2-300,000 a day, and deaths are still averaging over five thousand a day.

Total cases are over 28 million, and total deaths over 900,000.

New Zealand has generally been praised over our dealing with Covid. We tend to quibble over relatively minor restrictions, and a small resurgence, but comparatively we have done very well to date.

This is how New Zealand ranks with the world (on Worldometer which includes some regions as well as countries):

  • Population: 5,002,100 – 122nd
  • Active cases: 114 – 160th
  • Total cases: 1,793 (includes probable) – 150th
  • Cases per 1 million population: 358 – 164th
  • Total deaths: 24 – 152nd
  • Deaths per 1 million population: 4.8 – 160th
  • Total tests: 848,420 – 59th
  • Tests per 1 million population: 169,313 – 37th

This shows that we are doing relatively well, and I think we can be assured that our statistics are reasonably accurate.

There are 213 countries or territories on the list so quite a few have better statistics, but some of those may not be as complete or accurate.

But we have relatively minor things to complain about here.

Jobs and businesses and the economy are issues and we may not have seen the worst effects yet, but so far things aren’t too bad.

Trump challenged on Covid response, death toll ‘is what it is’

Donald Trump is under fire yet again after an interview in which he said that Covid is under control in the US, the death toll ‘is what it is’, and he disputed comparing deaths to population.

As always it’s difficult too know whether Trump believes what he says or if he is deliberately speaking bull to a specific audience. I think probably at times at least he has come too believe his own bull.

CNBC: Trump says coronavirus death toll ‘is what it is’ as he insists pandemic is ‘under control’ in U.S.

“Numerous categories, we’re lower than the world,” Trump said while reading from a small stack of papers he was holding.

“Lower than the world? What does that mean? In what?” Swan said.

The president handed one paper to Swan, who after a brief examination responded: “Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.”

Trump replied: “You can’t do that … you have to go by the cases.”

Swan maintained that it was relevant to look at the number of deaths in the U.S. from Covid-19 in proportion to the population of the country. He compared the U.S. with South Korea, a nation of more than 50 million people that he counted about 300 total death from the coronavirus.

“You don’t know that,” Trump said.

“You think they’re faking their statistics?” Swan responded.

“Uh, I won’t get into that because I have a very good relationship with the country, but you don’t know that,” Trump said. 

President Donald Trump insisted that the coronavirus pandemic is “under control” in the United States even when confronted with the staggering death tolls from the virus.

During a contentious interview, Axios’ Jonathan Swan asked Trump how he could claim his administration has a handle on the virus as it kills 1,000 Americans a day.

“They are dying. That’s true, and — it is what it is,” Trump said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it,” Trump said in the interview, which took place July 28 and aired Monday night on HBO.

“You really think this is as much as we can control it?” Swan asked. “A thousand deaths a day?”

“First of all, we have done a great job,” Trump replied, focusing on how governors have handled the crisis in their own states rather than him taking personal responsibility. “I could tell you right now who the great ones are and who the not-so-great ones are. But the governors do it. We gave them massive amounts of material.”

Trump’s rosy view of the U.S. response to the pandemic comes as more than 4.71 million cases have been confirmed in the country, as well as at least 155,478 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Both are the highest recorded totals for any country.

Going by Worldometer it looks like the US is heading for another 1000+ deaths today after the usual weekend drop in numbers

The US is getting close to 5 million cases and 160,000 deaths.

More Trump ignorance on Covid testing

Donald Trump has been again combined contradictory and ignorant claims about Covid testing with an attack on media.

The US has done more testing than any other country, but Israel, Russia, Singapore, UK, Denmark and a bunch of small countries have done more testing per head of population (US is 19th on the WorldInfo list).

Testing is a critical means of controlling Covid, but the raw number of tests doesn’t say much anyway. Here’s some percentages of other numbers

USA has:

  • 4.26% of the world population
  • 17.28% of Covid tests
  • 22.93% of Covid deaths
  • 26.45% of total cases
  • 28.48% of serious/critical cases
  • 37.63% of active cases

Those are numbers are only based on recorded statistics so won’t be 100%, but give an obvious indication that the US is struggling with Covid.

Testing matters, but the quality of testing, the timing of testing and the use of the results of the testing are more important than raw numbers.

Testing in the US showed that Covid was still widespread in the US when Trump and some states pushed for relaxing lockdowns. Covid got worse – deaths have been trending back upwards there through July, and this week were the highest since May.

Tests are important but it’s how you use the tests that matter.

Note that New Zealand is included and rates very well on these charts.

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New Zealand’s testing rate of 93,574 per million is much less than the US rate of 177,883 per million, but we have 4 deaths per million compared to the US rate of 475 so we don’t need to do as much testing.

Our testing peaked at over 10,000 per day in June – when we came out of lockdown and wanted to make sure Covid was under control – and is now peaking at 3,000 per day. We need to make sure we don’t have community transmission, but because fewer people have symptoms or concerns, fewer get tested.

Reuters: U.S. records over 25,000 coronavirus deaths in July

U.S. coronavirus deaths rose by over 25,000 in July and cases doubled in 19 states during the month, according to a Reuters tally, dealing a crushing blow to hopes of quickly reopening the economy.

The United States recorded 1.87 million new cases in July, bringing total infections to 4.5 million, for an increase of 69%. Deaths in July rose 20% to nearly 154,000 total.

The biggest increases in July were in Florida, with over 310,000 new cases, followed by California and Texas with about 260,000 each. All three states saw cases double in June.

Cases also more than doubled in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to the tally.

The United States shattered single-day global records when it reported over 77,000 new cases on July 16. During July, 33 out of the 50 U.S. states had one-day record increases in cases and 19 set records for their rise in deaths in 24 hours, according to a Reuters tally.

We have virtually no restrictions because we have Covid under control here.

And Covid isn’t the only worrying statistic in the US.

The news that more states could be hard hit by the virus comes a day after the U.S. reported that gross domestic product collapsed at a 32.9% annualized rate in the second quarter, the nation’s worst economic performance since the Great Depression.

We may be able to keep Covid out of New Zealand, but it will be difficult to avoid the economic impact.

Odd tweets about testing doesn’t address the problems the US still face.

Vaccines are being fast tracked but at best it will be some time before they limit the Covid damage.

Reuters: U.S. makes deal for 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, deaths expected to rise

Two major drug companies will supply the U.S. government with 100 million doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccine, the Trump administration said on Friday, as the nation’s top health agency predicted that fatalities would rise in the coming weeks.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Friday forecast between 168,000 and 182,000 total fatalities by August 22, predicting that deaths will rise fastest in Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Tennessee and Washington state.

The CDC also released a study that said COVID-19 had spread to nearly half the staff and campers at a sleep-away camp in Georgia over a week and a half ago.

The investigation demonstrated “that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, might play an important role in transmission.”

Coronavirus deaths in the United States are rising at their fastest rate since early June. Roughly one American died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Wisconsin joined 21 other states that have seen a surge in new cases.

The COVID-19 outbreak “is not in good control” in Wisconsin said Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

This isn’t fake news. Many US states are having very real problems with Covid.

While the president keeps fiddling with twitter his country burns.

US pass 100,000 Covid deaths

The United States has now passed 100,000 recorded deaths from Covid-19, and now have had over 1.7 million cases.

While the total number of deaths in the US is well over twice the next highest, the United Kingdom, they are only 9th highest in deaths per million population (of countries with  population greater than a hundred thousand).  Belgium is the highest but that may be in part to do with how they record Covid deaths compared to other countries.

Current models estimate deaths in a month’s time in the US to be somewhere between 111k and 173k, so it is far from over with risks of a resurgence as states relax their lockdowns.

President Trump thinks he has done his job very well dealing with Covid, or at least wants other people to think he has done very well.

Containing the virus in the US was always going to be difficult with the amount of international travel to and through the country.

States continue to make most of their own decisions despite Trump urging them to get things back to normal.

Covid seems to be out of control in Brazil with a climbing death rate, which looks to be under reported going by their number of cases.

The death total in Russia is surprisingly low and could be questionable.

Ways of counting cases and deaths varies in different countries so are indicative only.

5 million cases of Covid-19

The world count of confirmed Covid-19 cases has now passed five million. A big chunk (one and a half million) of those cases are in the US.

The number of cases has risen by 80-90,000 a day for  a month or more.

The death rate has slowed a little, but is still increasing by over four thousand a day, and now totals 327,000 (attributed deaths).

The Russian death total of 2,972 still looks extraordinarily low compared to the number of cases, which is the second highest in the work at over three hundred thousand.

Current totals for countries with the most cases;

An as usual Donald Trump is in the Covid news making weird claims, now suggesting that having the most cases is a ‘lead’  – Trump calls high number of cases in US a ‘badge of honour’

“By the way, you know, when you say that we lead in cases, that’s because we have more testing than anybody else. When we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing. I look at that in a certain respect as being a good thing, because it means our testing is much better.

So, if we were testing a million people instead of 14 million people, it would have far few cases, right?

Of course they wouldn’t have fewer actual cases, but the would have fewer recorded cases.

“So, I view it as a badge of honour. Really, it’s a badge of honour”.

While the US has tested more people than any other country – actually 12,807,260 according to Worldometer, but they also have nearly three times as many deaths (94,181) as the next highest country – the UK currently has 35,074.

And the US testing rate per million population is 39th highest at 38k, with some countries much higher – Iceland has a test rate of 169k, and New Zealand is ranked 28th with 49k.

The Covid problems are far from over as the latest charts from Worldometer show:

 

 

Covid-19 deaths pass 300,000 and gloomy outlooks

The total recorded Covid-19 deaths has now passed 300,000 and is could be significantly higher than this. There are doubts that the Chinese toll of 4,600 is accurate, and while Russia has quarter of a million cases they officially have just 2,300 deaths, which seems quite out of kilter with rations in most countries.

Moscow defends reporting of low coronavirus death statistics

Russia’s high number of confirmed coronavirus cases but low number of deaths has raised questions about the veracity of the Kremlin’s reporting of the pandemic’s statistics.

But Moscow hit back on Wednesday, saying its way of counting and attributing deaths was the most accurate.

More than 60 percent of people who died in April after contracting coronavirus had their deaths ascribed to other causes, said city officials.

Of Russia’s 2,212 coronavirus deaths, Moscow, the epicentre of the country’s outbreak, accounts for 1,232.

Moscow’s department of health said Russia, unlike other countries, conducted post-mortem examinations for every death in which coronavirus was suspected as the main cause.

“Therefore, post-mortem diagnoses and causes of death recorded in Moscow are ultimately extremely accurate, and mortality data is completely transparent,” it said.

“It’s impossible in other COVID-19 cases to name the cause of death. So, for example, in over 60 percent of deaths the cause was clearly for different reasons – such as vascular failures (such as heart attacks), stage four malignant diseases, leukaemia, systemic diseases which involve organ failure, and other incurable fatal diseases.”

But:

Data released by Moscow’s city government on Friday shows that the number of overall registered deaths in the Russian capital in April exceeded the five-year average for the same period by more than 1,700. That total is far higher than the official Covid-19 death count of 642 — an indication of significant underreporting by the authorities.

A similar picture has been observed in many other countries. In neighboring Belarus, for example — where the authoritarian leader Aleksandr G. Lukashenko has rejected calls for a lockdown as “frenzy and psychosis” — the reported death rate is about 10 per million. In Mexico, officials have recorded more than three times as many deaths in the capital as the government has acknowledged.

With over 86,000 recorded deaths it looks far from over in the US.

U.S. faces ‘darkest winter’ if pandemic planning falters: whistleblower

A whistleblower who says he was removed from his government post for raising concerns about coronavirus preparedness told a congressional hearing on Thursday that the United States could face “the darkest winter” of recent times if it does not improve its response to the pandemic.

Hours after President Donald Trump railed against him on Twitter, whistleblower Rick Bright testified to a U.S. House of Representatives panel about readiness for the outbreak.

“What we do must be done carefully with guidance from the best scientific minds. Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to improve our response now, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get worse and be prolonged,” Bright said during his testimony.

Later on Thursday, Trump told reporters at the White House that he had watched some of Bright’s hearing.

“To me he’s nothing more than a really disgruntled, unhappy person,” Trump said, adding that he did not know Bright.

A gloomy economic outlook too.

Seven weeks into coronavirus lockdowns, Fed has a new, darker message

One Thursday morning seven weeks ago, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell made a rare appearance on NBC’s “Today Show” to offer a reassuring message to Americans dealing with economic fallout from measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

At the time, Powell said he expected economic activity would resume in the second half of the year, and maybe even enjoy a “good rebound.”

But on Wednesday, he offered a much more sober outlook.

In an interview webcast by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Powell warned here of an “extended period” of weak economic growth, tied to uncertainty about how well the virus could be controlled in the United States. “There is a sense, growing sense I think, that the recovery may come more slowly than we would like,” he said.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was similarly somber when he told lawmakers earlier this week that the country was by no means in “total control” of the outbreak.

“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control and, in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery,” Fauci said.

In New Zealand yesterday’s budget allowed for an increase of debt from 20% of GDP to 50%. Snowballing ebt is a problem worldwide.

Coronavirus to leave a legacy of unprecedented global debt

Enormous doses of stimulus spending are offering relief from coronavirus damage but their lifelong legacy of debt could seed future crises by hobbling economic growth and worsening poverty, especially in developing countries.

Central banks and governments worldwide have unleashed at least $15 trillion of stimulus via bond-buying and budget spending to cushion the blow of a global recession tipped to be the worst since the 1930s.

But the steps will pile even more debt on countries already struggling with the aftermath of the 2008-9 financial crisis — total global debt has risen $87 trillion since 2007, and governments, with $70 trillion, accounted for the lion’s share of that increase, the Institute of International Finance estimates (IIF).

This year alone may see the global debt-GDP ratio rise by 20 percentage points to 342%, the group said, based on 3% economic contraction and a doubling in government borrowing from 2019.

Money seems to replicate as easily as the coronavirus, but with no attempt to find an economic vaccine.

And more problems in the US.

Sen. Burr steps aside as Intelligence Committee chairman amid stock sale investigation

Republican Sen. Richard Burr has stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee amid an investigation into his stock sales during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the development in a brief statement Thursday, saying:

“Senator Burr contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation. We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow.”

Later, Burr confirmed that he would be stepping aside.

Suspicions arose last month after it was revealed that several senators dumped stocks prior to the coronavirus pandemic upending the global economy. The FBI reportedly reached out to Burr to discuss the sale of as much as $1.7 million in stocks.

Senate records indicate that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to nosedive and government health officials began to sound alarms about the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.

This all makes our Covid-19 and economic problems look puny in comparison – 21 deaths and no new cases over the last three days as our lockdown is relaxed.

 

UK now second to US with Covid-19 deaths

The UK has passed Italy and is now second to the US for recorded Covid deaths. It was predicted weeks ago that the UK would end up with the highest toll in Europe.

Meanwhile New York has revealed 1,700 previously undisclosed Nursing Home deaths.

There are now more than quarter of a million deaths world-wide, with recent signs of just a slight slowing down of deaths (but cases keeps climbing at 80-90,000 a day).

Countries with more than a thousand deaths recorded (with new totals to date for 5 May GMT):

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

BBC: UK reports highest death toll in Europe

  • The latest daily reported death total for the UK (29,427) is now higher than the total for Italy (29,315)
  • The UK has reached this figure faster in its epidemic than Italy, but there are caveats to the comparison
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says there will be no “real verdict” until the pandemic is over
  • Europe’s first-known case may have emerged almost a month earlier than thought, French doctor suggests after re-testing patient

The death count in New York has been bumped up:

National review: New York Reports 1,700 More Coronavirus Deaths at Nursing Homes

New York on Tuesday announced 1,700 previously undisclosed suspected coronavirus deaths that occurred at nursing homes and adult care facilities.

The new data from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, which includes people who passed away before a lab test could confirm they had coronavirus, brings the state’s death toll from the virus to at least 4,813 since the beginning of March. That number does not include nursing home residents who were transferred to hospital before they died, causing the actual toll of the virus on nursing homes to remain fuzzy.

There are now over seventy thousand deaths recorded in the US,

BBC: A hunt for the ‘missing link’ host species

It was a matter of “when not if” an animal passed the coronavirus from wild bats to humans, scientists say. But it remains unclear whether that animal was sold in the now infamous Wuhan wildlife market in China.

The World Health Organization says that all evidence points to the virus’s natural origin, but some scientists now say it might never be known how the first person was infected.

Global health researchers have, for many years, understood how the trade in wild animals provides a source of species-to-species disease transmission. As life-changing as this particular outbreak has been for so much of the global population, it is actually one of many that the trade has been linked to.

Infectious disease experts agree that, like most emerging human disease, this virus initially jumped undetected across the species barrier.

Donald Trump keeps trying to blame a Chinese laboratory and has promised to release evidence. Others are also promoting this claim – Mike Pompeo: ‘enormous evidence’ coronavirus came from Chinese lab

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, claimed on Sunday there is “enormous evidence” the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory – but did not provide any of the alleged evidence.

Pompeo said: “There is enormous evidence that that’s where this began,” later adding: “I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”

But when he was reminded that US intelligence had issued a formal statement noting the opposite – that the scientific consensus was that the virus was not manmade or genetically modified – Pompeo replied: “That’s right. I agree with that.”

BBC: US allies tread lightly around Trump lab claims

UK officials believe it is not possible to be absolutely sure about the origins but point to scientific opinion suggesting the most likely scenario is that it was from a live animal market. However, they add that it is impossible to rule out the theory of an accidental release from a lab without a full investigation.

Their view echoes comments on Tuesday by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said: “We can’t rule out any of these arrangements… but the most likely has been in a wildlife wet market.”

US intelligence, like other countries, has devoted extensive resources to try and understand what has been happening within China, and some of the information could be highly sensitive.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told National Geographic on Monday that he did not entertain the lab theory. The World Health Organization (WHO) also says it has not received any evidence from the US to back up the lab theory.

Intelligence may well point to China having tried to play down or hide details of the initial outbreak, although this is different from hiding the exact origin of the virus.

Trump is still trumping up claims and has reassigned his ‘miracle’ claims.

But that ignores the more important comparison of tests per population.

  • USA: 7.6 million tests (22,988 per million)
  • Germany: 2.5 million testst (30,400 per million)
  • Italy: 2.2 million tests (37,158 per million)
  • Canada: 919,000 tests (24,359 per million)
  • France: 1.1 million tests (16,856 per million)
  • Spain: 1.9 million tests (37,158 per million)
  • Belgium: 3309,552 tests (39,3632 per million)
  • UK: 1.3 million tests (19,026 per million)
  • Australia: 664,756 tests (26,069 per million)
  • New Zealand: 155,928 tests (32,335 per million)

There are 39 countries with a higher testing rate than the US.

It would be a miracle if Trump started to be honest (unless he doesn’t understand the numbers).

Fox News: Coronavirus death toll in US projected to double as restrictions ease, key model predicts

A revised mortality model predicts coronavirus deaths in the U.S. will nearly double to 135,000 through August as states continue to ease social distancing restrictions.

The grim new projection, released by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) Monday, which has helped influence the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak, has jumped up considerably from its April 29 forecast of 72,433 deaths.

the new projection coincides with an internal Trump administration forecast obtained by The New York Times that predicts the daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1. It also projects there will be 200,000 new coronavirus cases every day. This is a significant jump from current numbers of roughly 25,000 new cases and 1,750 deaths each day.

Sources told Fox News that while a significant portion of the data comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the projections of new cases and deaths come from modeling done at Johns Hopkins University.

When asked about the document, White House spokesman Judd Deere said: “This is not a White House document nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting.

“This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed.”

 

 

More on Covid models

The early Covid-19 models that tried to predict possible death toll from Covid-19 in various countries received a lot of attention because numbers were large and alarming, but the worst case scenarios were based on limited data and nothing being done to stop the virus from spreading.

But a lot has been done to try to limit the death toll, and models have been continually refined, but there are still have quite wide variations due to not being sure how quickly or drastically restrictions will be lifted, and other unknowns.

Modelling is not very important in New Zealand now because we have very few new cases per day and deaths per day have been 0 for a few days and were never more than 4 a day. We still have quite tight restrictions with only gradual easing indicated, so we should be able to keep Covid deaths to not much more than they are now, at least for the next month or two.

Modelling is a bigger deal elsewhere as while the death toll in many countries may have flattened it is still quite high. For a couple of weeks now deaths have averaged around a couple of thousand a day in the US. The situation there is quite complex with different infection rates and different restrictions across various states, and some states are starting to lift restrictions.

FiveThirtyEight takes an interesting look at models, showing wide ranges in single models and differences between models looking ahead only for the next month (May).

Where The Latest COVID-19 Models Think We’re Headed — And Why They Disagree

Models predicting the potential spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have become a fixture of American life. Yet each model tells a different story about the devastation to come, making it hard to know which one is “right.” But COVID-19 models aren’t made to be unquestioned oracles. They’re not trying to tell us one precise future, but rather the range of possibilities given the facts on the ground.

FiveThirtyEight — with the help of the Reich Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst — has assembled six models published by infectious disease researchers to illustrate possible trajectories of the pandemic’s death toll.

Forecasts like these are useful because they help us understand the most likely outcomes as well as best- and worst-case possibilities — and they can help policymakers make decisions that can lead us closer to those best-case outcomes.

And looking at multiple models is better than looking at just one because it’s difficult to know which model will match reality the closest. Even when models disagree, understanding why they are different can give us valuable insight.

The article goes on to explain each of the six models and also looks at state by state breakdowns.

What this shows us is how imprecise models are.

But the US models suggest that models from a month or so ago predicting 100-200k or so deaths may have been reasonably on track, From now a lot still depends on the success or otherwise of containing the spreading of the virus, the success in particular in keeping it out of aged care and rest homes, and the time taken to find effective treatments and ultimately a vaccine.

The current official death toll in the US is about 65,000 and if the death rate continues as at present that will reach 130-140k by the end of May. Even if on average the death rate halves it will still be over 100k by then.

Covid cases – 3 million worldwide, 1 million in USA

The number of Covid-19 cases has now passed 3 million, and US cases have now just passed 1 million, just under a third of the world total.

Note that this is just the number of confirmed cases, there will have been many more infections that haven’t been detected or included.

Total deaths are now 211,065.

Both may be levelling off but it is hard to be sure as different regions grow as others improve. There is also a risk of further regional waves, especially as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Reuters: More U.S. states ease restrictions

Georgia on Monday allowed residents to dine at restaurants for the first time in a month, as more U.S. states began easing restrictions where the coronavirus outbreak has taken a relatively light toll.

Alaska, Oklahoma and South Carolina, along with Georgia, previously took such steps, after weeks of mandatory lockdowns that threw millions of Americans out of work.

President Donald Trump and some local officials had criticized Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for orders that enabled restaurants and theaters to join a list of businesses, such as hair and nail salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors, allowed to reopen last week, with social-distancing restrictions still in force.

Even so, some restaurant owners and managers in the state capital Atlanta said they would not reopen on Monday.

There will be a lot of observation and analysis of places that ease restrictions to see whether the virus keeps tracking down or comes back again, and also to see how quickly business picks up.

Italy has outlined plans to ease restrictions from 4 May as it has recorded its lowest daily death toll in about 6 weeks.

BBC: Boris Johnson says this is moment of maximum risk

Speaking outside No 10 for the first time since recovering from the virus, Mr Johnson said “we are now beginning to turn the tide” on the disease.

He said lockdown would not be relaxed too soon and details on any changes will be set out over the “coming days”.

BBC:  Coronavirus ‘currently eliminated’ in New Zealand

New Zealand says it has stopped community transmission of Covid-19, effectively eliminating the virus.

With new cases in single figures for several days – one on Sunday – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the virus was “currently” eliminated.

But officials have warned against complacency, saying it does not mean a total end to new coronavirus cases.

ABC Australia: How Australians feel about the coronavirus crisis and Scott Morrison’s response

The coronavirus pandemic has made Australians more anxious, more confused — and a lot more bored, a new survey suggests.

The COVID-19 Monitor, a new research project from Vox Pop Labs in partnership with the ABC, takes us inside the homes of Australians to reveal how they’re really feeling as they live in self-imposed exile. It finds:

  • The number of Australians reporting poor mental health has more than doubled compared to a month ago.
  • The number frequently feeling despair has more than tripled.
  • Those frequently feeling confusion is up more than five times.
  • On a more positive note, the number of Australians frequently feeling a sense of solidarity has also jumped.

Doing enough to protect from the health risk:

  • Agree 85%
  • Disagree 14%

Doing enough to protect from economic risk:

  • Agree 75%
  • Disagree 21%

New Zealand has taken similar measures to Australia, with a slightly more restrictive lockdown but with more severe policing of breaches of social distancing rules.

Meanwhile Donald Trump has reveresed his sudden aversion with press conferences, returning to the podium to make profound statements:

“There has been so much unnecessary death in this country. It could’ve been stopped and it could’ve been stopped short, but somebody a long time ago, it seems, decided not to do it that way and the whole world is suffering because of it.”

He didn’t suggest who it was, but he’s probably looking hard for a Chinese journalist with links to the Democratic Party.

Further on in his news conference he does get more specific saying his administration has launched “very serious investigations” into China’s handling of Covid-19:

President Trump says his administration has launched “very serious investigations” into China’s response to the novel coronavirus.

“And we are not happy with China, we are not happy with that whole situation, because we believe it could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.”

Every virus could be stopped at the source, if the virus and the source could be identified before it spread.

“Nobody except one country can be held accountable for what happened”.

“Nobody’s blaming anybody here, we’re looking at a group of people that should’ve stopped it at the source.”

The US will never forget those who were “sacrificed for a reason of incompetence or something else other than incompetence”.

“They could’ve protected the whole world – not just us – the whole world”.

I wonder if Trump doesn’t want to be seen as being in any way responsible for what happened in the US.


Update

Both the increase in case numbers (69,746) and increase in deaths(4,532) on Monday (GMT) are down. While it could be a temporary post-weekend blip it could also be an encouraging sign that the worst is over, for now at least.

Deaths pass 50,000 in USA

Deaths from Covid-19 in the United States have just passed the 50,000 mark  (currently 50,243) – 24 April 2020.

A month ago they were under a thousand deaths.

They reached 10,000 deaths on 2 April.

They reached 25,000 deaths on 12 April.

This is the most recorded deaths for any country – actually it’s nearly double the deaths in Italy and will be over double in a day.

Daily deaths have been over 2,000 per day most days for the past two weeks, with 2.342 yesterday and a similar number the day before.

On Monday Trump estimates US death toll between 50-60,000

During Monday’s daily briefing, Trump and White House experts calculated that there will be between 50,000 and 60,000 deaths in the US by the end of the outbreak, “Right now we are heading to 50 thousand and according to the projections we will end up with 60 thousand by the end of the pandemic,” the US president said.

These projections differ from those given by White House Coronavirus Task Force chief Dr. Anthony Fauci a few weeks ago, when he estimated that in the worst scenario the United States could register 100,000 Covid-19 deaths.

At current rates there will be 60,000  in three or four days – before the end of the month, and there is no sign that the rate will drop significantly at this stage.

Covid is going to be a long haul for many countries, and difficult to keep it away for others.