What the stats say


GHI reviews the latest Covid-19 data released by the World Health Organization, governments and aviation analysts over the past week. Which countries have seen a rapid rise in cases? Are there areas where the pandemic is starting to plateau and what does that tell us?

“The most interesting tale in this week’s top 10 countries by coronavirus cases can be found in the contrasting fortunes of two countries at the base of the table. China in ninth place has sunk down the league faster than a stone in the Yangtze river since its days as the undisputed hub of the Covid-19 pandemic just a few months ago.

Russia in tenth is rising faster than a Soyuz rocket with a climb of nearly 6,000 cases in a single day. Penny wisdoms of just a month ago about ‘how well Russia had done to steer clear of the virus’ despite sharing a border with China seem lost in another time. Russian cases are clustered in Moscow with the City’s 12 million residents under lockdown.

The Moscow Times soothes us with news that total case numbers compare favourably to Europe, but then didn’t the US say that about its situation relevant to Europe and Europe say the same about its case numbers compared to China once upon a time not too long ago? Russia, with a population of 144 million, is now a crucial front in the global coronavirus pandemic.

Its neighbour, China has more to cheer. Seemingly on the downhill section after passing through the coronavirus peak – China reported it’s lowest number of new cases in 2 weeks last Friday. Domestic air travel is showing early indications of improving again as travel restrictions ease. But the scars of Covid-19 run deep with a near 7% contraction in the country’s economy in the first three months of 2020.

Italy is another Covid-19 struck country that is showing encouraging signs of convalescence. The country recorded it first fall in active coronavirus cases last week. It may have been a decline of just 20 people but it carried symbolic importance and lifted the hearts of millions across the world. Fellow Southern European nation, Spain has also apoparently passed through the eye of the storm. The number of new cases has fallen by more than 80% between 26 March and 20 April.

China, Italy and Spain all seem to offer us fragile hope. However, it remains unclear as to whether these countries and others will continue to rebound from the virus indefinitely or experience a relapse as lockdown measures are eased. In summary: can Covid-19 be beaten by a combination punch of endurance and counter measures or will it take a vaccine to knock this nasty opponent out?

Seconds out for another round in next week’s column…

Top 10 countries by confirmed cases of Covid-19
  1. US: 797,690 (1)
  2. Spain: 204,178 (2)
  3. Italy: 181,228 (3)
  4. France: 156,493 (5)
  5. Germany: 147,103 (4)
  6. UK: 125,856 (6)
  7. Turkey 90,980 (9) China: 82,809 (6)
  8. Iran: 84,802 (8)
  9. China: 83,853 (6)
  10. Russia: 52,763 (new entry)
Top 10 data source