Mid May Worldwide Covid Update

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So it seems like the whole pandemic is over here in the US. Mask requirements are dropping like fall leaves. In theory, it was just supposed to be for those who were vaccinated but it seems like businesses don’t want to be enforcers and checking medical records so several have just waived the requirements for everyone. Disney World even dropped the requirement to wear them outside. Still have some hold outs but the next couple of weeks will likely see more.

The cynic is me says that the timing of the announcement is related to some recent bad news including some on the economy but that’s all I’m going to say about it.

The US is not the only place in the world and while things are improving in a lot of places, there are still some parts of the world seeing cases rising. Let’s just start with some global summaries looking at mid April to mid May.

Western Pacific25.5%17.5%
SE Asia61.7%42.2%
Eastern Mediterranean16.0%14.6%

As a reminder, this is based on WHO regions which don’t correspond to the continents. Overall, there was a 16.6% increase in cases (these numbers will always go up by the way). The biggest increase was SE Asia which is still driven by India even though the situation has stabilized lately. That will be more obvious looking at the next graph which shows number of new cases per day along with a ten day average.

Graphs of the entire world are going to be dominated by places that have the largest numbers (US, Brazil and India). So smaller countries seeing big increases will kind of be hidden. But the overall numbers did seem to peak in early May.

So let’s look at a couple of those places. First is the Seychelles. The graph is not even because the reporting of cases doesn’t happen on a daily basis so there is some bundling. There were some smaller spike in February but the numbers have just exploded lately.

Next up is Thailand. Like the Seychelles, there were two large recent spikes in cases recently but the number of cases recently has certainly been at highs. But, even with those spikes, the moving average is not rapidly rising like it was earlier in April so it is possible they are at a peak.

Cambodia is another example and one of the places driving the numbers for the Western Pacific region. They went months with almost no cases and then started to see things go up in February but the big increase started in early April. That lasted about a month and things are clearly dropping now.

One other place that saw a big increase was Trinidad and Tobago. The current increase started in mid April but it looks like it has slowed a bit recently. That is if you ignore the big spike yesterday.

Like last time, most of the places seeing increase are in the tropical regions of the world. Just to catch up on two places that got a lot of attention recently, we’ll look at India and Brazil. The increase in India lasted almost two months but it certainly looks to have peaked. Don’t know how fast the drop will be yet.

And with Brazil, things stopped rising at the end of March but the drop has been slow and uneven. It has stabilized at a lower level recently as it has fallen out of the news. Stable but still at a high level.

Lastly, a look at places that are heading into winter. This is when you’d expect to see another spike in cases. First is South Africa. We are seeing an uptick recently so that needs to be watched to see what happens. Another wave in these places is still possible but the size is what matters. Assuming this is going to act like previous viruses, the successive waves should be smaller.

Here is a graph for Chile. The graph gets distorted by the big spike in June of last year. This year, there has been an increase but things have actually been dropping since mid April. If it continues in this direction, that’s a good thing.

The last graphs I’m going to show is Argentina. Last year, they really didn’t see a spike until later in the year so it didn’t quite follow the pattern. Like Chile, the wave this year started in March and there was a big rise that seemed to peak at the end of April. Not really wanting to make predictions but it seems like if we don’t see a big wave in these places, that would be a good sign for the US and Europe.

In the northern temperate areas like North American and Europe, cases are basically continuing to drop. Cases are no longer rising in India and Brazil. Many places in the tropics peaked in late April/early May leaving just a few places where things are still going up. But it certainly feels like things are improving.

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