Analysis by Keith Rankin.
These charts show reported cases and deaths for the week ending 10 April.
We have now reached a stage where the world has largely moved on from the Covid19 pandemic, so ‘official’ recording is far from the diligent process that existed for most of the last two years. Throughout the pandemic, different countries – and states within countries – tested and recorded both cases and deaths differently. The ongoing value of these data will be their ‘time series’ nature, enabling cases’ data to be corroborated against excess deaths, and generally showing when the various epidemic waves passed through each country.
New Zealand is coming towards the end of its first unsuppressed wave of Covid19. So, in early April, it was second in the world for known positive test results. The other countries in the first chart represent a mix of mainly ‘first world’ countries, whose testing and recording processes have been persevered with.
China, the country with the most covid-angst at present, doesn’t register. Its acknowledged incidence of Covid19 remains small by international standards. And it has reported zero deaths since early 2020. Hong Kong’s death problem probably gives a better idea of what has been happening, however, in the most affected places in China.
We note that New Zealand is well up the covid death league now, and has been for a few weeks. The ‘jury is still out’ however on whether there has been a significant number of ‘excess deaths’. (This critical statistic can vary in apparently odd ways, with, for example, Netherlands showing substantially more excess deaths than reported covid deaths in March, while neighbouring Belgium shows the opposite.)
Other countries on the deaths’ table include the usual western European countries which, in the main, record deaths ‘with covid’, a measure that typically exceeds deaths ‘of covid’ if there are no or few ‘public health mandates’ in place.
We note that, as has been generally true, Eastern European countries show up more strongly in the ‘deaths’ data than in the ‘cases’ data. We note Russia in particular, which, based on excess deaths, had ‘lost’ one percent of its population to covid – well over a million people – by the time it invaded Ukraine. Ukraine was ‘only half as bad’ then, and, unsurprisingly, has not been assiduous with its covid monitoring since 24 February.
Keith Rankin (keith at rankin dot nz), trained as an economic historian, is a retired lecturer in Economics and Statistics. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.