GP Insights

GP Insights # 317, 4 April 2020

The steep increase during the last week: Covid-19 casualties cross 60,000; the cases today are more
Harini Madhusudan

What happened?
A total of 60,397 people have been registered dead due to the coronavirus outbreak as on 4 April 2020. More than a million have been diagnosed as confirmed cases from 205 countries, though over 200,000 have recovered.  The pace of its increase during the past week has made it difficult to assess and interpret the fatality rates. A steep increase in the number of deaths was observed after 13 March 2020. Especially the last week. Between the last Sunday (27,000 plus fatalities), and this Sunday (around 60,000), the fatalities number is more than double.

The intensity of the outbreak has put the States' fundamental policies to question. This is because many of the developed countries, too are seen struggling to keep up with their medical needs. 
The daily-death rate due to the virus is at an all-time high. 4,535 deaths were recorded on 31 March, 5974 deaths on 2 April and subsequently 5990 deaths on 3 April 2020. The increase shows that the world is still far from even the peak of the virus outbreak. 

What is the background?
COVID-19 that originated in Wuhan today is spread in 205 countries, with regions like the Faeroe Islands reporting 181 cases. The virus outbreak with an initial estimate of two per cent death rate is now approximately six per cent, an increase observed in one month. Many of the European countries are seeing a massive spike in the number of cases, even while China's immediate neighbours have managed to control the spread to a few thousand. 
Only five countries from Asia are seen in the top 20 countries with the highest number of cases and have more than 5000 confirmed cases. However, 11 European countries can be put under the same list with the parameters. The United States surged ahead of the rest with the number of cases at 277,607 and fatalities over 7,400 (as on 4 April 2020). Spain, Italy, Germany, and France have all crossed China in the number of diagnosed cases. In the case of death rates, except Germany, the rest are higher than China.

What does it mean?
One of the main reasons for the spread of the virus is the response of the states to the outbreak. When the world witnessed China facing the issue, it was not expected to expand at this pace. However, the possibility existed, and nothing much was done to address it. In three months of the outbreak, many of the medical demands that the world is observing now could have been met. 
This outbreak would remain as a reminder of the impact of globalization. An imbalance in the supply chains of essential medical equipment is a strong example of distorted priorities that have come about in the past years. Countries have yet to come up with a common plan to tackle the virus. Many governments are trying to solve the outbreak only in their individual capacities. Germany and South Korea, for example, have come up with their own unique plans to test large numbers of patients quickly.  


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