Countries counting Covid-19 cases: Testing...testing...1,2,3

di Priscilla Pajdo del 1 May 2020

TORONTO - Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc globally. Confirmed Positive cases total 3,212,262, as per Johns Hopkins University dashboard, and others, reported on April 30. The numbers of those cases continue to grow as more tests are performed and more cases are identified.

Clearly, the greater number of tests performed can lead to more pronounced totals of positive cases, but that can also lead to better containment measures and potential therapies. Early detection should potentially mitigate otherwise devastating outcomes.

The chart illustrates the impact of numbers reported as well as the importance of following proper documentation and reporting protocols to reduce the spread of this disease.

China, the first country to report, and identify this Coronavirus, listed 82,862 total confirmed positive cases - among a population of 1.4 billion. In the early stages of Covid-19, it may appear that China was not reporting on total tests performed. It has practically ceased reporting since January 31; therefore, the relevancy of their numbers listed in the table is questionable.

Although not close by comparison in population, the USA is included on this chart as a comparative for how many tests our neighbour to the south has conducted on its citizens. We thought it useful to extend the comparison to some European countries with which we share some common history or similarities.

Column 5 represents the percentage of total confirmed positive cases based on the total number of tests performed. A look at France, for example, may prompt the question “why are so few being tested?” What is the likely outcome when the number of tests increases?

Column 7 shows the number of fatalities as a percentage of all tests confirmed positive.

They further illustrate the importance of testing a greater number of people to identify those who may be infected - the earlier the virus is detected, the sooner measures can be implemented to reduce the number of others contracting the disease and potentially ending in fatality.

The consistency in testing and reporting is vital. Poland, for instance, with a population closely matching Canada’s, is testing less than 1% of its population, whereas, Canada is testing 2% of its population. Both should be testing in greater numbers.

As should the UK and France. Both are testing in the range of 1% of the population. Yesterday, for the first time, the UK reported registered Covid-19 deaths in Long Term Care homes.

Italy and Spain are testing at a rate of 3%.

If the world is to engage in a in a common fight with a common enemy, perhaps it should start by coordinating testing and reporting.

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