TORONTO - Countries worldwide are looking forward to a return to some sort of normal. Government and health officials are responsible to devise a strategic plan to "return to normal" . Data accumulated and analyzed from Covid-19 cases help guide the step of this plan. Cautiously moving into the next phase is essential for a safe return to a new normal.
In the interest of keeping informed, we have updated this chart to illustrate the evolution of Covid-19 cases. Globally, Covid-19 confirmed positive cases are 4,364,034 (May 12) according to Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard.
We are in Canada. A quick reference to experiences around the world may prove useful in drawing up a plan. Our focus today is the evolution of case counts in some European countries: Italy, Spain, the UK and France, some of the toughest hit countries in the battle with Covid-19.
Italy reported 109,039 cases fully recovered, of 221,216 confirmed positive cases (nearly 50%). The unfortunate reality, though, is that 30,911 people succumbed to the deadly virus (14% of all positive cases).
France, on the other hand, with 178,225 confirmed positive cases, declared 57,785 cases of recovery. This represents a recovery rate of 32.4% (of confirmed positive cases). Although 26,991 deaths have been reported, lower than that of Italy, the rate of cases turned fatal is 15.1%.
At the higher end of that rate is Belgium, 16.4% of confirmed positive cases result in death. With a population roughly a 1/4 of Spain, Belgium’s rate of fatality is 6.4% higher.
Coming in at less than half the fatality rate of Belgium, Canada is at 7.3%. Canadians who have recovered from the virus, 34,042, represent 47.8% of all confirmed positive cases. Compare these numbers with the sub-totals in Ontario.
Recovered cases in Ontario, 15,391, represent a recovery rate of 73.6%. Comforting news until reading that 1,725 people lost their lives to this virus. The rate of fatality in Ontario is 8.3%, a full 1% higher than the national rate. With a similar fatality rate of 8%, the province of Quebec has a much lower number of recovered cases 10,056 (25.6%). As Government officials look forward to the next phase of plans to reopen, it’s fair to ask “could it be premature?”
Farther east around the world, specifically those “bordering” the southeast end of the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey, Iran and Greece. With one of the largest populations between the three, Turkey reports 98,889 recovered covid-19 cases.
That represents nearly 70% of those infected with the virus. The number of cases proved fatal are 3,894 (2.8% of all confirmed positive cases). Such is not the case in Iran, next door. There, fatalities (6,783) represent a rate (6%) that is double that of Turkey. Difficult to explain why.
The smallest of these eastern Mediterranean countries is Greece. Fifty percent of those confirmed positive have recovered. However, the fatality rate (5.5%) is close to that of Iran.
The UK has not provided consistent or coherent numbers for recovered cases. As a result, we are unable to register resolved cases.
China has not been updating numbers for some time(since January 31), therefore, accuracy of these values is questionable.
Therein lies the problem worldwide: inconsistent and unreliable testing, tracing and reporting necessary for the development of common strategies.