On Wednesday, October 28, the world saw another grim coronavirus disease (Covid-19) milestone. The number of new cases recorded that day crossed half a million — the first time this was once happening. Both the New York Times database and worldometers.info show this. They also show that the trend continued on Thursday. According to the NYT database, the world saw 524,554 cases that day; worldometers.info put the number higher, at 545,936. To make certain, the World Health Association’s database shows that while the number of day-to-day cases is nudging half a million, it is yet to cross it.
The continuing surge of the pandemic highlights another interesting feature: a decline in cases in one region has at all times been more than offset by a surge elsewhere, with the result that there was no let-up in the march of numbers. To elaborate, in mid-March, Europe was once driving the numbers; between then and mid-August, the Americas took over this role, with some help from Asia (mostly India); then, between mid-August and mid-September, Asia was once in large part the driver, with some help (albeit, very little) from Europe; starting mid-September, Europe was once back in the driver’s seat, to begin with by itself, and then with the Americas. There have been similar ebbs and flows inside the regions too, but the overall numbers have continued to increase.
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Lots of the cases continue to be concentrated in the northern hemisphere, and the onset of winter will only make things worse — as it was once expected to. Data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows that things are already getting worse (the seven-day average of infections is trending upward) in nine of the 10 most-affected countries. India (now pushed to the third spot in relation to day-to-day cases by France) is the only one where they appear to be getting better — the country is currently at or towards the end of the first wave of the pandemic, and the second one wave is yet to begin. The other nine countries (where things are getting worse) are: the United States, France, Spain, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Russia, and Poland. Seven of these (including Russia) are in Europe; two are in the Americas. In most European countries, the raging second wave of the pandemic has seen day-to-day case numbers reach new highs — just as they’ve in the United States, which is seeing its third wave (on Thursday, the country crossed 90,000 day-to-day cases, and looks set to be the first to record in excess of 100,000 cases a day; see back flap).
Unfortunately, the ebb and go with the flow of Covid-19 cases across regions does not seem to be following a temporal cycle. Instead, this is likely to be a operate of the infection rate itself, and the response (in the form of restrictions), with a resurgence in cases typically being preceded by remarkable opening up. As an example, the United Kingdom’s ongoing second wave may have been caused (a minimum of in part) by the country’s “eat out to help out” scheme where the government subsidised, through August, meals in pubs and restaurants. According to a study by the University of Warwick, reported by Reuters on Friday, “between 8% and 17% of newly detected infection clusters could be linked to the scheme all over that period”. The link, the study found, was once very strong. “Areas where there was once a high uptake of the scheme saw an increase in new infections approximately a week after it started,” the Reuters story added. And “the research said the same areas saw a decline in new infections a week [after] the reduction offer finished”.
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In theory, this would intent someone could use mobile phones and the Google Mobility Index to in fact build a predictive mannequin of where cases will also be expected to spike — and at a very localised level.