303 - Covid in June

1st July Last update, showing yesterday's figures.

30th June New page starts tomorrow. Very disappointed that the UK is so very bad at this. Ourt senior politiciaqns claim we are world-class; but the perception is only that we are world-class idiots.  BBC report last night showed that by every measure they tried, we were the worst of the G7 countries. Excess deaths to June12th, 65138, compares with 1954-56. Read.

28th June There is something odd about the French case count figures, 1500 for Friday and zero for Thursday and Saturday. I remain concerned that the UK figures have plateaued at what I consider a high value; higher than other nations exhibiting the same pattern. I see this as an indirect measure of a risky strategy. Meanwhile,. Brazil and the US seem to have a runaway. 
I produced another ranking table for the month end; I show those countries of size above the World per capita figures.

26th June  Changed the countries in big graph; left out Iran for a while. Added India, Peru and Chile. It looks to me as though the spread across central America and Mexico is also hitting the USA. I did quite a a lot of cheating to shove the numbers in, as can be seen from the several striaght lines in the graphs. Britain, particualrly down south, being stupid in the sunshine; heading for another wave. Idiots.The incidence needs to be lower, such as is visible in Spain; mind, since they're planning on opening their borders, there will  be a second surge there too. This is the cost of the economy and what persuades politicians that this is okay is that the case numbers now fit within whatever is 'normal'. What that does not allow for is the ability of this virus to spread, much higher than for influenza.

 25th June The USA shows a second peak occurring. Much of Europe has relaxed, probably too much. In the UK, announcing a relaxation ahead of time causes immediate relaxation by sufficient numbers to render the advance advice wrong. We really do look as if a second wave is likely. Having lockdown all over again could well kill off large parts of the economy. The press vacillates while being consistent; consistent in giving voice to whosoever wishes to complain that what is being done is wrong; if this is too soon, that's what they scream from their pages and conversely if whatever move someone wants is deferred, that additional freedom is what they want, today, now, immediately. This gives much more credence then to surveys of public opinion, which are of course a little in arrears. These show (listening to the radio yesterday) that when a move is considered too soon, it then takes up to a fortnight for mass opinion to move to follow (approve, support, accept) the change. Personally I'd like to be a fortnight slower immediately. We have moved form the two metre rule to "one plus", which is supposed to mean stay at two metres everywhere you can, but if you go inside that, you must take mitigating action. Inevitably this has been interpreted as one metre between heads, which means abandon all the rules about distancing and accidental touching is going to occur. State schools stay shut for the majority until September but the pubs open on the 4th July. This is, I suggest a campaign to make us celebrate the 4th in future years; but it is going to backfire.

22nd June  NY, NJ, Conn, Mass RI, DC & Louisiana have each passed the UK per capita death rate, and Michigan is close. The revision of Italy's figures spotted yesterday is so extensive I can't be bothered to change them. US figures demonstrate the secondary wave effect that happens when a new locality hits peak growth. Louisiana, Alabama and NH look worrisome, perhaps already starting a second wave. Yet nationally there is decay in the curves, but for daily new cases, which may be an effect of more testing and perhaps lowering the qualification for including a positive test. It seems to me that several countries and US states are allowing their case and death figures to plateau, at what one assumes is an 'acceptable' level. This is how to encourage a second wave of infection, given that many have not had the disease and we still don't know how well immunity lasts. Big push for the 2-metre rule to be reduced to 1m—which will then become 1m between centres, not the gap between bodies, effectively not much more than don't-touch. Not good; I perceive incentive to isolate for even longer while the stupids eliminate each other.

20th June Portugal is not at the bottom of my screenshot any more. Italy has changed its case count back to mid-May, not included and only noticed today—I can't be bothered. I think I need to check whether other numbers have been changed. The US seems to be showing a second wave. Either I've erred, or there's a jump upwards in the UK figures too. I'm so disappointed in Britain's leadership I can't be bothered to do much about this right now.

19th June Some adjustment in yesterday's German case figures noticed this morning. India's position steadily rising through the ranks. I think we're going to see a one metre distance rule in schools, perhaps before we have that elsewhere inside the nation. Quite how we protect the teachers, I don't know. I am sure that a one metre rule will be treated as simply 'try not to touch', and so in effect no rule at all. Small outbreaks localised around the nation—this is a matter of reporting, media being pretty thick in their lack of understanding, not helped by the government's reluctance to actually say very much at all.
It seems to me that the loud demand for easing of restrictions (not just in the UK) means that the case count graph levels off as if there is an undercurrent of cases that is somehow acceptable, where stamping the disease out would seem altogether better. But that is perhaps a political decision and, when the covid deaths fall below those of anything else, or when the deaths per week fall back to looking like 'normal', this causes a strong political argument to return to 'normal'. I found several articles yesterday pointing to climate crisis opportunity to grab or lose forever (which seemed pretty strong). Also, today, a return to party internal politics as if something at Westminster has switched back on. Oh dear, here we go again. Will the baying of the hyenas prevent any sensible progress? This seems quite likely, in which case the change that occurs is down to the people, not their leaders. The demand to 'return to normal' will be taken as an excuse to stop thinking constructively about what we could do. I'm afraid that the only way we're going to learn is for there to be a second wave; it doesn't have to be here, but if not, it needs to be nearby.

 17th June No change in Russia's figures today; I doubt they had zero new cases. South America having issues—Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Ecuador reporting significant numbers. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh on the rise, but I'll bet there are recording problems. We are reaching the point at which I change which countries are included in the non-European chart; I could leave in Spain or UK as representatives of Europe. I'll wait for some enthusiasm.
News yesterday of the success in the use of an easily available drug, Dexamethasone. Actually shown to work for those requiring ventilation in some form; reduction in death for those on ventilators, a third; for those on oxygen, by a fifth. Wonderful discovery for worldwide sharing.    Very bored. 

14th June Editor of the Lancet has been publishing [Feb Mar Apr04 Apr11 Apr24 May02  May16 May27 June06] strong criticism of UK action; I've read these articles and they are well-written but I don't see them as strong, merely a valid viewpoint. Try the Apr24 link first.  The comment I found quoted his latest publication revealing a “glaringly unprepared” government and a “broken system of obsequious politico-scientific complicity”. Either science is science or it is not; dishonesty does not belong. Science allows for 'don't know' and variance; results can be misinterpreted but the system should be self-correcting. Our political climate does not allow for ignorance, variance, even admitting indecision; that needs to change. I wonder whether the Tories are capable of any 'levelling up' at all, since BJ follows Cameron and May in saying much the same and apparently achieving very little. We need an open rethink of where we want to be. What we need is for any perception of the creation of equality of opportunity to be recognised not as a zero-sum game (if you gain, I must have lost something) but instead that there can be absolute gain. Extreme political protestors (far right and left) seem to be 'protesting' at a perception that their position (rights, advantages, add to this list yourself) is threatened, therefore they are against it. Of course those with advantages don't want to give them up, but it is hard to perceive what these advantages are when they are so well buried; development of equal opportunity should do exactly that: maybe 'levelling up' is to mean something more generous, which would entail a perception of movement of capital value to the north. Devolution would do quite a bit in that direction, but only as part of a suite of changes.

12th June Small adjustment to German figures for the last few days. Very bored.

11th June Last night the PM took the briefing and bumbled; it was awful to watch. One wonders what it is that he is doing all day, because he is visibly not on top of this situation. Reports of the unnecessary US trade deal progress are very depressing and threatening; not least, it appears that the Tories are abandoning many of their electoral pledges, such as those about maintenance of food standards. This will not end well. 

One of the issues is to do with the handling of the press. So determined are those put in front of camera to avoid giving a quote that can be used, such as "We made a mistake", that they end up saying not only very little at all, the few things that are said are leapt upon even more than usual—scraps to the hyenas. Why is it so unacceptable to have said "I wish we had thought we could persuade you to take a lockdown seriously a whole week earlier"?

10th June Schools Minister admitted yesterday that re-opening isn't going to happen. I reckon that means that a few schools will be perhaps a bit less closed than they were. The gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged will be showing for years. Which says very little for the attitude to school among the disadvantaged; perhaps they see the world differently. Otherwise, same old same old and very bored, almost depressed. The weather change (cold and wet) helps that attitude—it feels like September, not June.
Article found on 10th suggesting (unknown as yet and no assumed in most modelling) that asymptomatic equals non-infectious, based on a WHO briefing. Confusion between asymptomatic and presymptomatic, not at all the same things, though both are people without symptoms at the time. "We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They're following asymptomatic cases, they're following contacts and they're not finding secondary transmission onward. It's very rare and much of that is not published in the literature."


 9th June Had a look at the per-capita totals and the changes in the last ten days, which show that in Europe the UK is still behind Belgium and Spain (in a bad way, but not as bad as painted). There is dramatic move on the testing front for the UK and for Russia. You might notice that the French figures have changed with the 38-40 thousand cases removed from the count. The US case count per million is fast approaching Spain's figures. I've left out India and Brazil because of recording issues. US position discussion. Contrast for Balance.

8th June NZ has no cases; virus defeated for the nonce. Brazil is, we are told, no longer publishing numbers. Protests about racism wholly ignore social distancing. Prospects of facemasks when mixing outside one's household forever; for me, that is sufficient distancing to not bother at all; the minimal socialisation is no gain at all and that suggests no social running and no social music, which removes the point of doing such things. Right now NZ is very, very attractive. Except there was nothing else about the place that made me want to move there. Even Auckland felt like a town, not a city.I noticed a load of zero values creeping into graphs, bring down the 7 day averages; removed this morning. 

UK figures decaying only slowly, when I think we want the figures at about 20% of current values before such a levelling off is acceptable. Maybe that's easy to say when your income is guaranteed.

7th June Attitude within Britain pretty bad. What I've been saying about trust seems to be recognised elsewhere (and about time, too). Excoriating Guardian/Observer editorial found this morning.

6th June US case numbers rising. UK trends flattening not falling. Not good.

edit 15th Aug: 'correction' due to some sort of double counting (like we believe them any more) shown inset, with step where i couldn't be bothered to backtrack the figures any further.

5th June I'd like to see a better decay of cases and of deaths for the UK; not happening. The press is becoming more vindictive at a time when we need to persuade everyone to be sensible. The repeated questions about foreign holidays are not well answered, when it is plain that from a population point of view you have been told repeatedly to do essential travel only, while from the travel & hospitality industries' viewpoint, the sooner people can be persuaded to commit, the better. The small relaxation is that you could go out for a day outside; that doesn't permit a 'holiday abroad'. The expectation of 14 days isolation on return suggests to me that the holiday IS the isolation. Far better to simply write off the whole idea and hope that relaxation becomes permissible within Britain. As for exchange agreements, 'air corridors' as the press has dubbed these, that assumes that an agreeing nation would agree to accept travellers from a more at-risk nation than themselves; surely not. Which suggests that agreements might be made with nations as badly performing as the UK, perhaps Spain, Belgium and the USA. Well, not the last of those.

3rd June Today I found an article pointing to SARS-CoV-2 causing an infection of the blood vessels. That does not conflict with Covid-19 being a respiratory disease and it explains much of the otherwise odd behaviour.
Also, the case numbers for France have magically reduced by 38,000, apparently because they are now using exhaustive estimates (that's a paradox) they say 
so far we had the number of positive COVID-19 tests for SI-DEP, but we now have the number of positive patients, which is more accurate [source]. I've let the figures stand for now, so as to show this jump change. I think they have decided to count something different from what we are reporting.

2nd June The 7-day average has been pretty level at around the 100 mark and yesterday shows a jump of 500 on the right. I discover that the death count has been adjusted such that 400 extra deaths (in blue on these charts here) have somehow crept in since May24th. I've inserted that corrected bit of graph showing 'after' on the left here and 'before' on the right. If social distancing genuinely affects the infection rate then I expect a leap in two weeks time; that is how bad our beaches have been crowded.

Today two new items spotted in the Guardian. One, that we had some deaths in late January that need to be tested to see if they were Covid-19 attributable.  Two, that the numbers that are asymptomatic might well be very much higher than we have been thinking. These two suggest that the infection was far more widespread than thought at the time of lockdown and that history may well show that we were very slow indeed in trying to count cases, by more than a month. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/01/spate-of-possible-uk-coronavirus-cases-from-2019-come-to-light . 

Last night the long-awaited report, Disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19 was uploaded. The media have been quick to pull from that whatever they think will scare and repeatedly the Downing St briefing (my fingers typed clowning) showed a failure to grasp relative risk. I will read the thing for myself and report Essay 304. Headline, that people of ethnic difference are <factor greater than 1> more likely to die from the disease. Yes, but age is a much more significant factor, as is obesity and poor housing. What we need to know is whether risk is multiplicative or additive.

1st June   I think that June's version of this page will be reversed, with the newest day's comment at the top. I feel a lot less inclined to comment until we have a second wave of infections—where the feeling of cynicism in Britain is such that we would not be surprised to demonstrate that we are so very stupid that we are the first country to have a second wave.


This next graph is new to this page. I've magnified the death numbers so as to overlay the two graphs, of cases and of deaths. The faint line tracks the daily figures, the dotted line the 7-day average, the dashed line is the trend line at some polynomial from 3 to 6, whichever I last used that I thought fit best. For example an index of 5 tends to suggest a second wave.

Related pages:

Essay 291 - Effects of an outbreak  what it says, effects, but some description of what we have (and not)

Essay 293 Covid-19 (March, longest)

Essay 295 Long-term Distancing

Coronavirus (Y10+)  modelling problems

Epidemics    more general theory

Infectious disease  looking at the 2020 problem, particularly effects of the reproduction number changing.

Essay 298 Covid Consequences

Essay 299  Covid in April

Essay 300  Covid in May

Essay 304 Covid Disparities

Essay 305  Risk

Essay 306 Covid in July

Viruses are very small

Links to explore: 

https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/charts-and-infographics/understanding-excess-mortality-the-fairest-way-to-make-international-comparisons

https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

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