China will be the key to recovery. Graph by Keith Rankin.
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This chart shows the extent that the initial Chinese outbreak of Covid-19 was confined to Hubei province, a province with a population similar to that of Italy. And it shows that, while Hubei still has more recorded deaths per capita than Italy, Italy has more than twice as many active (unrecovered) cases per person. Italy’s case count is almost certainly an undercount. Further, Italy’s per capita death count will almost certainly exceed that of Hubei by this week’s end.

Washington, with a population only 50 percent higher than New Zealand’s, has 48 deaths. It seems likely that the death toll there, and in much of the rest of the USA, will rise substantially this month. Likewise, almost all of western Europe – including UK – will see death rates of 20 per million by the end of March. Scandinavia will be the exception; there (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland), the undercount of cases is almost certainly much less than in the larger West European countries. Either that, or they know the secret of how to keep the death rate down.

Qatar has cases linked to migrant workers. A combination of overcrowding and air‑conditioning may be facilitating a substantial outbreak there. Otherwise, of the countries most affected, only Australia is a hot country in March. It still looks as though the onset of summer in the northern hemisphere will facilitate a substantial slowdown of Covid-19 spread.

Asia has shown that the virus can be contained. Further, the global economic rescue will come from Asia (as it did in 2010).

While Europe and North America will still have a few very bad weeks, this pandemic will end, though probably not as quickly as the 1918 influenza pandemic ended.

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