Coronavirus Growth in Western Countries: April 16 Update

Here’s the coronavirus growth rate through April 16. Like Tuesday, Wednesday was not a great day. Italy is still stalled; Germany is up; Sweden is up; even Canada ticked up more than usual. This might be noise or it might be a sign that we’re not peaking soon after all.

For the first time, I also have a serious data problem. As you know, it’s widely believed that COVID-19 deaths have been undercounted pretty much everywhere. However, this is not a big problem as long as the undercounting is consistent. The absolute numbers will be off, but you can still see growth rates and curve flattening just fine.

Unfortunately, New York City decided on Tuesday to rejigger their numbers in midstream by 3,700. This means that their numbers going forward aren’t comparable to past numbers. And if those numbers get aggregated up to the state and national level, it means those counts are also no longer usable.

The two main sources for the US death toll are Johns Hopkins and the COVID Tracking Project. It appears that Johns Hopkins is using the new, higher numbers, while the CTP isn’t. For the first time ever, these two sources disagree by a substantial amount.

What to do? I don’t know, so I’m going to punt until things become clearer. I’m using the CTP numbers for now, which don’t include the New York City revisions. I’ll switch later if things clear up a little more.


How to read the charts: Let’s use France as an example. For them, Day 0 was March 5, when they surpassed one death per 10 million by recording their sixth death. They are currently at Day 42; total deaths are at 2,990x their initial level; and they have recorded a total of 267.8 deaths per million so far. As the chart shows, this is above where Italy was on their Day 42.

The raw data from Johns Hopkins is here.

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