26 March 2024
State of Georgia

Headlines focus on US position as #1 source of identified cases, fail to note we are the 3rd largest country in the world


US media are treating  the coronavirus as though it were a sporting event, with a news blurb and headline focus on raw numbers. The focus on scary big numbers hides stories like this one from southwest Georgia.

Georgia is the ninth largest state in the country by population (10.6 million) and has 1,643 identified cases of COVID-19. That’s a rate of 155 cases/million. The national average is 259 cases/million (John Hopkins data).

There’s a regional hospital in the rural/agricultural southwest corner of the state reporting 217 positive cases, 16 deaths, and 1,319 people waiting for test results. It’s situated in Albany, the Dougherty County seat and the center of an SMA of about 160,000. [It’s also my hometown.]

Their case rate is almost an order of magnitude greater than the national average: 1,356/million or 1.4/thousand.

What’s the case rate in New York state? 1,915/million or 1.9/thousand. With a population of 19.5 million, that’s lot of sick people. But there are also lots of hospitals and medical workers.

Attention on New York is certainly appropriate. Their case rate exceeds both Italy (1.3/thousand) and Switzerland (1.4/thousand). You may not have known about the Swiss, however. It’s that absolute numbers game again: Italy has 60.5 million people and Switzerland, 8.7 million.

The Financial Times daily trends chart illustrates the extraordinarily different death rates between western and Asian countries. On Thursday the US passed China to hold the dubious honor of having more reported cases than any other nation in the world, although Italy has far more deaths (8,215 versus 1,296).

FT chart, covid deaths

Politics: Trump wants the country open for Easter

Why should you listen to Bill Gates, philanthropist and former technology chief? Because he and his foundation have focused on global heath and epidemics (at least) since this 2015 TED talk.

Context: Gates is rejecting the Republican-led call to end stay-at-home orders, even though we have no national stay-at-home order. President Trump on Wednesday:

Easter’s a very special day for me. Wouldn’t it be great to have all of the churches full? … You’ll have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus would think that “would be a beautiful time,” too.

Domestic situation

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have identified COVID-19 cases. The 1,197 known deaths are from 42 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

March 26, 2020. US cases and deaths.

Important essays

Original post on SubStack 


Talk to me: BlueSky | Facebook | Mastodon | Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *