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Monday was the worst day thus far of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the US and Western Europe.
In the US, 511 deaths were reported Monday, March 30, the highest death toll on a single day. This follows 372 reported on Friday, 445 on Saturday, and 441 Sunday. Total deaths in the US stands at 2,978.
It is far worse in Western Europe, which reported 2,769 deaths Monday, also the highest death toll on a single day. This follows 2,546 on Friday, 2,661 on Saturday, and 2,488 on Sunday. Total deaths in Western Europe stands at 26,699.
It was also the worst day for the US in new cases reported, 20,921. It was the fourth worst day for Western Europe in new cases reported, 29,001.
That’s the worst of times part. We have a difficult time ahead of us.
So how is ol’ Giordano going to find a silver lining in this black cloud? Because there is good news, but you have to look carefully to find it.
The good news is in the reduction in the rate of growth of both new cases and deaths.
I have two new charts for you, which will look almost identical, showing the decline in the rate of growth of reported deaths and reported cases. These charts show a significant decline in the rate of growth over the past two days. Each chart compares four figures, for the US and the biggest five Western European countries:
- The average daily growth rate for March 20-24.
- The average daily growth rate for March 25-28.
- The daily growth rate for Sunday, March 29.
- The daily growth rate for Monday, March 30.
First, the decline in the growth rate of reported COVID-19 deaths:
The trend is downward in every country. France did have a modest increase Monday compared to Sunday, but both figures are well below the growth rate on the preceding eight days.
This is a very encouraging trend. It does not mean that we are out of the woods, by any account.
One more note on the death toll. The latest IHME projection (here, though it will probably be updated shortly) shows the actual death count through yesterday (2,457), but projected a death count total of 3,064 for today (range 3,014-3,116). This means that as of Sunday, the IHME projected 607 deaths in the US today (range 557-659). The actual report was 511 deaths.
This means that we were about 16% below the IHME projection after one day, and more than 8% below the IHME’s low estimate. After one day.
I happen to have saved the IHME projection as of four days ago (March 27). Their projection for Monday was 660 deaths. Again, the actual was 511.
Projection is difficult. It will be very important to see whether this projection holds up over time. So far, not so good.
The decline in the growth rate of reported cases is shown in the following chart:
Once again, you can see the consistent decline in the rate of increase for reported cases, with some minor daily variation in Germany, France, and Spain. The figures for Italy are particularly encouraging.
That’s the best of times part. The rate of growth is decreasing significantly, for both reported cases and deaths. The death toll for the US, in particular, is well below the IHME projections that were made mere days ago, even Sunday.
There is no guarantee that favorable trends will continue, but I hope you will agree that I found that silver lining.
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