The last weekend spent in Italy, the whole bureaucratic process of traveling according to the (different) rules between Germany and Italy, a couple of chats in private with friends, the usual traffic of news in the media, the enormous attention on the state of vaccinations, some “exaggeration” in certain titles on the newspapers, brought me back to reflect on the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I therefore share these reflections, well aware that everyone can make their own, hoping that they do so starting at least from the analysis of the same data.
And I want to share these reflections, well aware of not getting involved in any of the discussions generated by “extreme” opinions (for or against “something” tout court). I continue to be convinced that one must always use the brain before speaking, analyze things in a thoughtful and balanced way and not by bias, and seek the necessary balance to make wide-ranging assessments, especially in complicated times for everyone.
The numbers and the summary table
As my usual, I started with numbers, well aware that numbers must also be contextualized.
And as I have done in the past, I have only relied on the numbers officially published by the World Health Organization.
I examined the numbers relating to cases, deaths and the number of vaccines in 10 countries, each of them chosen because they represented a specific area or because they were the “protagonists” of some recent media news.
The nations I have considered are: Italy, Germany, The United Kingdom, United States of America, Brazil, India, Japan, Israel, South Africa and Australia.
For each of these nations I have created a summary table.
The table is divided into four periods: the period from January to the end of April 2020, the period from May 2020 to the end of August 2020, the period from September 2020 to the end of December 2020 and the fourth period from the beginning of January 2021 to the end of April 2021.
The first three periods are the ones I have identified as being vaccinated free. The fourth period is instead the one with vaccinations and in parentheses I have indicated the current percentage of the number of doses of vaccines with respect to the total population. Therefore, it is not the percentage relative to the number of complete vaccines.
Then there are three lines that refer to the date of publication of the data of infected and dead from Covid, according to the World Health Organization. These are the links to check the official data, as of 10 am CET 2 May 2021:
- Italy: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- Germany: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- The United Kingdom: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- United States of America: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- Brazil: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- India: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- Japan: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- Israel: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- Australia: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- South Africa: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
The following 9 lines are instead the processing of these official data made in the periods indicated (and I indicated the number of days counted), the population (approximate number depending on the source), I then indicated the delta (the absolute increase and daily average) of the number of positive and dead cases, and also the percentages with respect to the population.
The basic assumption is that the official numbers are correct and representative of reality.
Italy was one of the first nations to be hit by the pandemic in 2020. Especially the first period saw a very high number of deaths (average 226/day).
The spring and summer period saw a notable improvement. Then the wave of the autumn period led to numbers much higher than the first period of 2020.
While the increase in the percentage of positives per day in the third and fourth period cannot ignore the fact that a much more relevant test and control campaign was also implemented than in the first phase of the pandemic, the number of daily deaths was much higher.
Then, like most continental European countries, Italy started with vaccinations, but rather slowly and only in the last few weeks there has been an acceleration. At moment Italy has reached about 34% of number of doses with respect to the total population: not yet a significant number.
Therefore, any benefits are not yet visible and the final effect will be likely visible in the next weeks. This effect will overlap with the positive effect (reduction of cases and deaths) registered in the same period in 2020. This has to be considered as well.
My opinion is that vaccinations can help contain the spread of the virus for the fall and winter period of 2021.
Germany had a relatively quiet situation in the first two periods of 2020 compared to other European countries.
Above all, the number of daily deaths was always very low.
Then from the autumn, and paradoxically in conjunction with the entry into force of the tightest lockdowns, the situation has worsened considerably, at least to read the published numbers.
And in the first part of the first quarter of 2021, things only got worse.
However, the last few weeks between March and April have seen an improvement and the curious thing is the peak of deaths in mid-April 2021 is practically the same as in mid-April 2020. See the previous link to the WHO website to check.
As in Italy, vaccinations went a little slow (today it is about 37%), but if the 2020 trend is repeated, the summer period should be relatively quiet.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom rose to media prominence because it implemented a faster vaccination campaign than continental European countries. In fact, it has reached about 74% of number of doses with respect to the total population: two times the German one to give an idea.
Looking at the data of the complete 2021 quarter, however the benefit cannot be really appreciated. In fact, the daily cases are similar to the Italian ones, while the daily deaths are similar to the German ones.
The truth is that only starting from March (i.e. in the last 8 weeks) has there been a marked improvement in the situation. Hence, this should also give an idea of the timing to achieve a better situation based on the percentage of vaccine doses.
United States of America
Similar to the UK, the United States also experienced a strong acceleration in vaccinations in the last weeks of 2021.
It can be seen that this has contained the exponential increase of positive cases which was initiated in spring and summer 2020.
On the other hand, the number of daily deaths is still very high: more than 1900/day. It is likely that we will have to wait a few more weeks to see a marked improvement.
Unlike the previous nations, the Brazilian situation recorded in 2020 a better situation in the first and third quarters. This is because Brazil is in the southern hemisphere and the climatic seasons are different from the northern hemisphere.
This, however, is a clue that must cause concern for the next few weeks.
In fact, if the 2020 trend is repeated and if the number of vaccinations remains very low (about 20%), there could be a further worsening compared to what is already happening in these first months of 2021.
In these hours the COVID-19 crisis of the Indian country is underlined in the world media.
Honestly, I had a hard time following the media that highlighted this situation in a dramatic way.
In fact, looking purely at the numbers, in terms of daily deaths, the current Indian period is even better than the last quarter of 2020, it is three times lower than Brazil one and four time lower that the USA one.
Maybe this reality will come out from the numbers in the next few weeks.
It must be said that, being one of the most populous nations in the world, the percentages relative to the population are much lower than other nations.
The other relevant data is the low rate of vaccinations.
My opinion is that if I combine the dramatic way to describe the situation by the media and the low rate of vaccinations, there is a huge risk to generate a big panic there.
This panic will push people to present themselves all together in the hospitals or places for vaccinations, creating gathering and then new covid outbreaks, worsening the situation and not improving it at all.
Balance is also needed when telling the facts.
I decided to add Japan to this analysis when I read in some newspapers: very critical situation in Japan.
Surely the first quarter of 2021 was the worst period for Japan.
But do we have a vague idea what we are talking about in relation to the other nations mentioned?
- The rate of positive cases/day is ten times lower than the Italian or British one.
- The rate of deaths/day is 10 times lower than the Indian one and 34 times lower than the American one.
I don’t know what prompts reporters to make certain headlines. Perhaps, and it is only a hypothesis, they want to put Japan in a bad light because, although it does not have a high vaccination rate (3%), it does not have a dramatic situation.
But it is not that by manipulating reality one convinces a skeptic to vaccinate. Japan like other nations has much stricter rules on quarantine, distancing and discipline in general. Plus, it’s an island. So, everything that goes in and out can be controlled better than in countries like Europe.
It is one of the countries that has implemented a massive and rapid vaccination. Today the rate of doses is about 114% relative to the population.
But Israel is a far less populous country than many other nations. We are talking about just over 9 millions inhabitants. It is an element that should not be overlooked.
However, for Israel the speeches made for the UK and the US are still valid, with only the last few weeks having generated a drastic improvement for the cases/day and deaths/day. See the previous link to the WHO website to check.
South Africa is one of those nations that gave rise to one of the variants of COVID-19.
Despite this, it is part of that category of nations with much better numbers than many European and American nations.
Furthermore, the current numbers, those of the last few weeks, are decidedly calming. And all this despite having a very low rate of vaccinations, probably one of the lowest in the world: 0.3%.
Personally, I would be interested in a scientific and detailed study of Covid-19 in this country. I would like to understand the correlation between small numbers in terms of cases and deaths and local factors that can influence them.
For months, since the end of summer 2020, Australia has already been able to contain the corona virus. The numbers certify it very well.
And it did so without applying for mass vaccination, but by imposing strict rules for entry and exit from the island and creating a real “bubble”, taking advantage of the remote geographical position and the fact of being an island, with very low population density.
In other words, Australia like other nations with favorable geographic conditions (like New Zealand, vaccines at 5%) or strict control protocols (like Singapore, vaccines at 38%), is an example that, for them, vaccination is currently not a priority.
It is obviously a different speech for the other nations mentioned with enormous problems of daily cases and deaths.
If you have any question, comment or you want to notify a mistake in what I have shared, please do not hesitate to comment below or write to me.
For other post or analysis about Covid-19 please look at the specific page: COVID-19 (Corona Virus) | EmigranTrailer.
Andrea De Filippo
Original post in english language. For other languages, please open with a web browser (i.e. Chrome) and apply the automatic translation.