“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.”
- William Shakespeare
- It has been just over a week since our last update and not a lot has changed from a trend perspective when looking at global daily new cases, but we have seen marked improvement in Europe and incremental improvement in the U.S.
- The U.S. currently has 1,369,943 cases and while the number of new daily cases remains high relative to other countries, the U.S. 7-day trailing moving average continues to decline and hit the lowest number of new cases in one day since March 29 this past Sunday (caveat being it was the weekend) at 20,329
- Global COVID-19 cases are now at 4,217,348 with very little change in the path of daily new cases, which continue in the range of 80,000 – 90,000 per day. Some regions globally are improving, while other areas are getting worse
- By and large, Western Europe continues to improve at an accelerating rate with each day, typically, bringing new lows for daily new cases. Conversely, Eastern Europe continues to get hit hard with Russian cases accelerating
As the chart below shows, we are finally in a lower stage of new daily cases in the U.S. This is being driven largely by a dramatic slow-down in NYC. The seven-day rolling average is now the lowest we’ve seen since late March.
In aggregate, there have been 8.99 million tests in the U.S., 1.32 million positive results (14.7% positive test ratio), and 74,270 deaths (5.6% morbidity rate on positive tests). We’ve seen a meaningful step up in testing in the last ten days and a commensurate drop in the positive test rate. As of the most recent data point, the positive test rate in the U.S. was 7.8%. (This is very good news re: testing!)
The shutdowns in the U.S. have generally had their intended effect. While the economic consequences will be widely debated for decades, the substantial decrease in mobility has led to steadily declining R0 (R Naught) across the U.S. Currently only Nebraska, Maine, Kansas, and Minnesota have a R0 above 1
- This will be critical data to watch as various regions have opened or will be opening in the coming weeks given the expiration of stay-at-home orders
- NY is currently at R 0.79, which is one of the lowest in the nation
We looked at daily cases in the U.S. compared to mobility and as the chart below shows there is, no surprise, a tight correlation with a 12-day lag, so what we are doing today will impact the case count roughly two weeks into the future. We will see very shortly what amount of social distancing is enough to keep RO below 1 . . .
Many of the models (like the widely referenced University of Washington model) are now projecting higher aggregate deaths in the U.S. due to the advent of less stringent social distancing measures coming into effect.
The COVID-19 data in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and really most of continental Europe continues to indicate a very positive story. The general theme is one of declining new daily case counts, active cases below their peaks, and daily deaths, for now, well past their peak. Below we’ve highlighted a few charts from Italy to highlight these trends:
On the negative end of the spectrum in Europe is Russia, which continues to report daily highs in new COVID-10 cases. Based on reported numbers, Russia now has the fourth most positive cases behind the U.S., Spain, and the U.K. and will likely move into second place in the next week or so
- In part the high number of cases in Russia is driven by very impressive tests statistics. In fact, Russia has performed 38,625 tests per million people, which is ~35% higher than the U.S.
- Russia’s mortality rate also, so far, compares favorably to the U.S., though some questions are starting to emerge on the reporting of deaths.
- Interestingly, President Putin has indicated that he will start lifting restrictions despite Russia still near highs in new cases and the curve not yet plateauing
The U.K. has also not seen the meaningful improvement that we are witnessing in much of continental Europe. In fact, the curve in the U.K. looks similar to the U.S. with a marginal decrease in new daily cases, but the active case-count still getting larger
So, with the U.S. and Europe slowing, obviously the rest of the world must be seeing accelerating case counts to maintain even constant daily new cases and this is clearly the case. In the last five days, these are some of the countries that have recorded new highs in daily new cases:
- The biggest challenge in many of these countries is the lack of testing, so no doubt the numbers of cases are widely understated (as they are in most countries). The collective population of the countries noted above is north of ~2 billion
As a result, global active cases of COVID-19 are the highest they have been and will continue to grow as the case counts in emerging markets continue to hit new daily highs
To end on a positive note, we wanted to highlight New Zealand that has come very close to eliminating COVID-19 domestically. The Kiwis implemented extremely tough measures from the outset, including a mandatory quarantine for visitors starting on March 15th. Interesting article here.