COVID-19 Statistical Trends as of April 3rd

Throughout the month we provide detailed housing information and statistic provided to us by the Cromford Report who tracks the history and current status of the Greater Phoenix residential resale market and offers unique insight into the future direction of our housing market. In addition to tracking the Greater Phoenix housing market, Cromford Report is also tracking COVID-19 statistics since this has an impact in many different ways on our community. Here is some information from them...

 

People looking at COVID-19 statistics tend to focus on the death count, especially the new death count. This often confirm our worst fears but it is not really a very useful statistic if you want to know where the pandemic is heading. It is a trailing indicator. It is also not being reported accurately since most countries in the throes of a pandemic only have effective systems for reporting deaths in hospital. Deaths in care-homes or at home are not counted since they are not usually tested for COVID-19 infection, even when that is the likely cause of death. They may be added later if a post-mortem is performed. That is a big if.

 

So what is recommended from statistician's point of view? How can you tell when the cycle begins to turn?

 

From a statistician point of view,  tracking the rolling weekly average of new confirmed cases is recommended

 

. When you have these numbers, compare the change day to day. This will tell you when the infection rate has peaked and is starting to subside. It is a leading indicator, once infections top 100 or so. Prior to that it is not reliable because the sample size is too small.

 

So if you would like some good news, there are a few parts of the world where this indicator is falling day to day. Here they are:

  1. San Marino -12.3%

  2. Faeroe Islands -8.2%

  3. Lebanon -7.7% (*)

  4. Taiwan -4.9%

  5. Slovenia -4.3%

  6. China -3.9%

  7. Qatar -3.3%

  8. Switzerland -1.3%

  9. Italy -1.3%

  10. Luxembourg -1.1%

  11. South Africa -0.9%

(*) information deemed unreliable since parts of the country are controlled by non-state entities.

 

There are several other countries with very low rates of increase that look ready to turn negative quite soon. These include Australia, Costa Rica, Austria, Finland, Iceland and South Korea.

 

If this percentage is positive and growing, that is a red flag that new infections are accelerating. This is currently seen in:

  1. Belarus +52.3% (-2.0% last week)

  2. Sweden +10.7% (+8.2% last week)

  3. Russia +23.3% (+21.3% last week)

  4. Japan +14.1% (+9.9% last week)

  5. India +22.5% (+19.7% last week)

  6. Greece +6.2% (+4.1% last week)

  7. Armenia +10.3% (+7.9% last week)

The president of Belarus has refused to impose any form of community constraints and stated "there are no viruses here". It currently has the fastest growth in new cases of any developed country. Sweden imposed far looser controls than its neighboring countries and is now deteriorating where the others are improving.

 

It is clear that tiny countries have seen far higher confirmed infection rates per head of population than most large countries. This includes Monaco, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, Faeroe Islands, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. It is not clear to me why this should be true, but it is statistically significant. San Marino has the highest mortality rate in the world at 12.2%, but is also the fastest improving country bases on new cases per week.

 

1 in 276 of the 49,000 inhabitants of the Faeroe Islands has been confirmed infected. However they have reported no deaths and new cases are dropping faster than anywhere else except San Marino. They now have only 96 active cases with 81 fully recovered. Possibly the luckiest country in the world so far?

 

To view statistics in Maricopa County, a good resource is Maricopa.gov.

 

 

 

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