Keith Rankin Chart Analysis – Covid-19: Worst Countries in the New Year

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Analysis by Keith Rankin.

Ireland, Israel, and Lebanon. Chart by Keith Rankin.

The countries with the most recent large outbreaks of Covid19 are those with large numbers of recent recorded cases, but yet to record the deaths that most likely will result. In this camp, this time, are Ireland, Israel (its third major outbreak), and Lebanon. Of these, only Israel features in my previous iteration of these charts. Lebanon almost certainly features because it is adjacent to Israel.

Other countries making a strong comeback are Sweden and United Arab Emirates, with the later almost certainly arising because of its airport as the pre-eminent transit zone for long-haul international travellers.

Two important countries to note are Slovakia and Uruguay. Both countries are about the same size as New Zealand; and are similar to New Zealand, albeit in different ways. Importantly both have been important Covid19 holdout countries located in high-incidence zones. Both are now succumbing to the virus. Slovakia – with its capital city Bratislava only 50km from Vienna Airport – did remarkably well in the first half of 2020.

Eastern European Countries in the European Union. Chart by Keith Rankin.

For deaths, five of the top six countries are in Eastern Europe, and are full members of the European Union (ie in the Eurozone and are Schengen countries). In the next six are Hungary and Croatia, both in the European Union, though neither is a full member in the sense just mentioned. The next six include Poland and Bulgaria, also European Union members. The bottom half of the chart includes another six Eastern European countries, five of which are not in the European Union.

There is no sense here that better access to the economic resources of rich Europe confer favourable public health outcomes on Eastern European nation states. As it has been over the last 11 months, the Covid19 virus has been transmitted mainly by richer people from richer countries. Not much different from when – centuries ago – the globe was colonised by Western Europe, and also colonised by the lethal pathogens Western Europeans carried with them.

We note that Western Europe continues to hold many of the top places in the Covid19 league tables. Of particular note in the death table is Germany, second in Western Europe after United Kingdom. Many of us will remember the September story Covid 19 coronavirus: New Zealand ranked second-safest country, after Germany. Now it seems quite bizarre that Germany and Switzerland could have been in the top five “safest countries”. Further, the then successes of Slovakia and Uruguay should have been more strongly noted; they successfully fought off Covid19 for many months, despite not having New Zealand’s geographic advantages.

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