It’s Not Dying Down Yet. Plus, Biden Fumbles

The World Health Organization’s coronavirus page includes this chart showing confirmed cases worldwide (excluding China), through yesterday. Click to enlarge:

The epidemic obviously continues to spread, although the growing number of confirmed cases presumably reflects, in part, the fact that more testing is being done. The obvious point that jumps out from the chart is the predominance of European cases. Coronavirus appears to be expanding much more rapidly there than in other regions. Again, this may partly be an artifact of testing frequency, as well as the point in the cycle Europe is at, i.e., ahead of the Americas, for example.

The WHO site also shows remarkably different mortality rates in different countries. So far, Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, is experiencing a mortality rate of around 7 percent. On the other hand, the combined mortality rate for France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Austria (which together have around 2/3 the total number of confirmed cases as Italy) is less than 1 percent.

These countries’ cases are newer, on the average, than Italy’s, so maybe their mortality rates will rise somewhat over time. Still, the difference is striking. Most likely the principal cause is the fact that Italy’s health care system has been overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases, while other European countries had warning and were able to implement preventive measures. The U.S. is in that category as well, of course. The European data confirm the wisdom of President Trump’s quick decision to buy time (“flattening the curve” in the phrase du jour) by banning travel from China.

Speaking of travel bans, Joe Biden–perpetually behind the curve–issued this clueless tweet on Thursday:

The Trump administration has a plan, of course, and limiting travel from areas where the virus is widespread is part of it. The Democrats’ open borders ideology is so deeply engrained that even in the midst of a public health crisis, it prevails over everything else. Thursday was also the day when House Democrats quietly shelved their bill limiting the president’s power to restrict foreign travel. (H/t Clarice Feldman.) Maybe Joe didn’t get the memo.