Analysis by Keith Rankin.
While India’s well-publicised Covid19 outbreak came quickly and is well on its way out, South America continues to show the greatest difficulty in throwing off this disease. Some of the most prominent South American countries this year were not prominent in 2020. Of particular note are the ‘Guianas’: Dutch (Suriname), British (Guyana), and French. And nearby Trinidad. Uruguay and Paraguay were also much less affected last year.
Parts of Eastern Europe continue to have high Covid19 death rates, though lower infection numbers suggest that – at least for now – Covid19 is largely beaten in the Balkans. But Russia does have a problem, and the high rate of recorded deaths relative to reported cases suggests that Russia’s outbreak is serious.
In Asia, Sri Lanka now has the highest death rate, with Malaysia, the Maldives, and Mongolia all higher than India.
Mongolia is the surprise newcomer for reported cases of Covid19. China must be very concerned about this; and it would be interesting to see how covid came to Mongolia. The usual story for a country is that an outbreak arises from multiple breaches of the international border. Mongolia has just two land borders; China and Russia.
Southern Africa is now prominent. Not only is there a resurgence in South Africa, but Namibia, Botswana and Zambia have it too. The Arabian Gulf states are also becoming more prominent; while Bahrain has been problematic for a while, now UAE, Kuwait, and Oman are also on the chart.
An interesting newcomer is Cuba, a country that has until now been more successful than most in its Caribbean region.
Finally, to note, the United Kingdom is back. Along with Chile, the United Kingdom is a concern on account of their high vaccination rates combined with their high past infection rates. These countries should be at or close to ‘herd immunity’. It may turn out that the big improvement in United Kingdom infection rates from February to May was almost entirely due to the extended lockdown, and only minimally to the vaccine.
The United States and Israel do provide interesting controls; their infection rates are clearly well down and they had lesser lockdowns than the United Kingdom and Chile. It may be that the particular vaccines used in the United States and Israel have been more effective than those used in the United Kingdom and Chile. (Although United States deaths from Covid19 persevere at a rate that suggests the problem in the United States is far from solved.) Whatever, it is likely that effective immunisation against coronaviruses will need lifelong annual – or even biannual – boosters.