General

Europe is falling (in a good way)

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For just over two weeks, Italy has been sending a positive signal about the COVID-19 disease: It’s slowing.

The measure I’m using to make that claim is the number of new confirmed cases reported each day. It’s based on data provided by Tableau Software in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University.  I like this measure because it’s a leading indicator. It will show a change in the trend faster than looking at cumulative cases.

Here’s how Italy looks using this measure:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: COVID-19: New Confirmed Cases Daily

As of April 5, 2020 Italy had reported 15 days of new COVID-19 cases lower than the peak (which happened on March 21). This is notable because Italy was the country with the third major outbreak of COVID-19 (after China and South Korea). Like China and South Korea, Italy appears to have experience it’s peak of new daily cases and has moved past it. This should signal a coming downward trend in hospitalizations and deaths due to the disease, again, similar to what China and South Korea have experienced.

Even better, other parts of Europe appear to be following Italy, but with a shorter cycle. The volume of new cases started climbing in Italy 1-2 weeks earlier than most of the rest of Europe. Yet, at least seven other countries show peaks ranging from 5 to 12 days ago.  These countries are:

  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Austria
  • Portugal
  • Norway

While it’s impossible to predict with precision how long a country will see new daily cases increase, there does seem to be variation. If the peaks seen in the above countries continue to hold then much of Europe might get through this faster than Italy did. That’s good news for other countries where the virus spread followed Europe.

More to come. Meanwhile, stay safe and stay at home.

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