An Italian epidemic. Chart by Keith Rankin.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here for a previous chart analysis by Keith Rankin on this issue.

Chart analysis by Keith Rankin

This chart of deaths by coronavirus (March deaths in red) clearly shows just how much worse this epidemic is in Italy than anywhere else. And the vast majority of these deaths are in Northern Italy. Milan is the new Wuhan, and Lombardy is the new Hubei. Except that total deaths per billion of the population in Italy now far exceeds that of China. Italy’s death toll of 10.5 per million (so far) is equivalent to 52 deaths in a country the size of New Zealand.

The good news is that death rates are well down in East Asian countries, making them now far safer than West European countries. (In South Korea, now the worst case in Asia, the contagion is worst in a single central province that does not include either of the two main cities.) The other good news is that Scandinavian countries, with high incidences of Covid19, have not recorded a single death.

The Northern Hemisphere English-speaking countries still have low death rates, although there are still major ongoing risks in the USA and the UK. (Canada has one death, and an incidence rate lower than Australia. The chart only includes countries with 2 or more deaths.)

Spain and France remain significant concerns, albeit with incidences far lower than Italy. Greece has had a big rise in recent cases which may translate to deaths soon.

The other area to watch is West Asia. Iran is a known severe case that may well be gaining control. Iraq also has a significant problem; it may also be gaining control. (Both countries are cold and dry in February; perfect conditions for winter influenzas and the like.)

The country I am concerned about is Turkey. The New York Times data source has only just recorded its first case there. This seems implausibly low, given Turkey’s substantially affected neighbours, its relatively open borders, and its largest city (Istanbul) being a major world transport hub and tourist magnet. Is it possible that Turkey has many more cases than we know about? I would be cautious about travelling to Turkey just now.