According to this report, Vice President Pence said yesterday that the U.S. trajectory for the Wuhan coronavirus most closely resembles that of Italy. I hope Pence was talking about the trajectory of infections, rather than deaths.
Italy’s population is thought by some to be more susceptible to dying from the virus than ours because of its age and propensity to smoke. In addition, Italy’s hospitals are said by some to be less able to handle a pandemic than ours.
But even if all of this is so, word that we’re on Italy’s trajectory for infections strikes an extremely discouraging, if not altogether surprising, note.
The latest numbers from Italy continue to suggest that new infections are down from their peak. They are holding steady in the 4,000s per day, down somewhat from the 6,000s a few days ago. Deaths remain in the 700 to 900 per day range, with yesterday’s total in the low end at 727.
Spain, with a smaller population than Italy, seems likely to pass Italy’s total infection number pretty soon. Spain’s death count remains well below Italy’s, but it reported 923 deaths from the virus yesterday. With more than 8,000 reported new cases per day, Spain’s death total might well surpass Italy’s eventually.
The U.S. numbers are discouraging even without being compared to Italy. With more than 26,000 new reported cases yesterday (April 1), we surpassed 200,000. And for the first day, our daily death total surpassed 1,000. Total reported deaths reached 5,102.
The University of Washington’s IHME model is now forecasting that the total U.S. death count from the virus will slightly exceed 90,000. A few days ago, it was saying slightly more than 80,000. And the IHME model seems to be one of the more optimistic ones.
I can’t find good news in the numbers from any of the countries I’m following — Italy, Spain, the U.S, Germany, France, and the UK — except, perhaps, the fact that new infections in Italy seem to have leveled off and probably ticked down.