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Editor's Note: This is a complimentary research note published by Director of Research Daryl Jones on April 24th. CLICK HERE to get daily COVID-19 analysis and alerts from our research team and access our related webcasts.

“Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear.”
- Buzzy Trent

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The U.S. currently sits at 869,172 positive cases, which is up ~100,000 cases from our last note on 4/20/2020.  The last two weeks suggest a slightly lower plateau in the U.S., but daily new cases aren’t coming down as fast as we’ve seen in many European countries
  • Global cases now sit at 2,753,627.  Similar to the U.S, we are seeing a slightly lower plateau of daily new cases, but not meaningfully so
  • Across Western Europe daily new cases continue to track lower and in most of the hardest hit regions we’ve had meaningful steps down.  As a result, many of these countries are incrementally announcing plans to open-up their countries
  • On the good news front, we’ve had a number of studies come out in the U.S. that suggest anti-bodies and positive infections are much more widespread than previously thought.  In fact, Governor Cuomo presented numbers yesterday that suggest 20% of NYC residents may have been exposed
  • On a personal note, we’ve seen two big outbreaks in Southern Alberta (my stomping grounds) due to workers in meat plants in High River and Brooks.  Brooks is a city with 12,000 people and now has ~300 infections and none roughly a week ago
  • Also, in case you didn’t see it already, we put out a COVID-19 Reading List 

COVID-19 Update – Things Getting Better, Incrementally (4/24/20) - 01.29.2020 bull bear virus cartoon

U.S. Situation

We were hoping to write a bit more positively about the U.S. today, but then new cases spiked up the last two days.  Unlike Europe, and as the chart below shows, new daily cases continue to average in the 28,000 – 30,000 range and have not dropped meaningfully since the start of lockdowns

    • The chart below shows how sticky this plateau has been for the last 3+ weeks

COVID-19 Update – Things Getting Better, Incrementally (4/24/20) - covid.4.24.1

The U.S. has performed 4,692,797 COVID-19 tests, there have been 861,896 positives (18.3% positive test rate), and 44,132 deaths (5.1% morbidity on total positive tests).  In general, over all testing in the U.S. continues to increase and the positive test rate appears to be on a slow decline.

COVID-19 Update – Things Getting Better, Incrementally (4/24/20) - covid.4.24.2

Also on the positive side of the equation, New York City, which was by far the hardest hit area in the U.S., is showing rather meaningful improvement.  As the chart below shows, NYC has seen a serious step down in the last week of daily new cases.

COVID-19 Update – Things Getting Better, Incrementally (4/24/20) - covid.4.24.3

NYC, it seems, is doing a decent job of reducing it’s R0 (the pace at which the virus spreads).  We’ve found this interesting analysis that shows the implied R0 across every state

    • Those states that were hit hardest and earliest seem to have been most effective at reducing their transmission rate

 Staying on the topic of New York, Governor Cuomo released results yesterday from a study that showed up to 14.7% of New York may have already developed COVID-19 antibodies

    • NYC appears to have 21.2%
    • Another note on this topic is that Los Angeles County did a similar study that showed 55x more people may have been infected than the reported number
    • The key takeaway is that herd immunity may be closer than we realized even a few weeks ago, with the caveat more studies need to be done, etc
    • The negative in NY appears to be that hospitalizations continue to plateau at a high rate, although are off the peak

Europe Situation

The data continues to improve across Western Europe and seems to be improving on an accelerating path and time frame versus the U.S.  As an example of this, we’ve highlighted he new daily chart case for Italy below.

COVID-19 Update – Things Getting Better, Incrementally (4/24/20) - covid.4.24.4

Obviously, a bit more of a qualitative statement, but Italy, compared to the U.S. which remains on a high plateau, has seen a number of steps down in daily new cases.  On a per population basis, the U.S. would need to reach ~15,000 new cases a day to be at the same rate as Italy.

The busy chart below looks at most major countries globally from their first instance of 30 daily cases.  As you can see Spain, Germany, France, and Italy are all now on similar paths, while the laggard in Europe is the U.K. (they shut down later).

COVID-19 Update – Things Getting Better, Incrementally (4/24/20) - covid.4.24.5

Sweden continues to be an interesting case in Europe.  The government has opted to incorporate a much more passive shutdown, and while their COVID-19 statistics have been a bit worse than other Scandinavian countries, they have by and large managed the situation effectively

Longer form article on the topic is here.

Global Situation

Globally, the daily growth rate continues to go lower, but, similar to the U.S., the plateau of daily new cases remains high.  Obviously as some regions improve, other regions are accelerating.

COVID-19 Update – Things Getting Better, Incrementally (4/24/20) - covid.4.24.6

Current global hot spots include:

    • Turkey is now at 101,790 cases, growing at about 5% per day
    • Russian now at 62,773 cases, growing 7 – 10% per day
    • Brazil now at 42, 797, growing 8 – 12% per day
    • India now at 24,434, growing 10% plus every day with only 393 tests per million (U.S. is at 45x this)
    • Ecuador is now at 22,719 cases, and doubled over night!

Ecuador is a case study for how bad the emerging market have been and will be hit. The reality is the official numbers wildly understate actual cases.  The entire country of Ecuador recorded 3x their normal deaths in the first two weeks of April.  Good article here.