International reads: Trump’s ‘very good job’

Trump sees 100k US deaths as "very good job" as better than initial forecast of 2.2m; US deaths overtake 9/11; Eight percent of over 50s need hospitalisation. Peter Bale wraps the Covid-19 news overnight.

The "deathalyser" keeps climbing: The evil mathematical simplicity of the exponential nature of the novel coronavirus plays out with total cases globally now at 826,222, according to Johns Hopkins University. You know it will top a million shortly which will inevitably cause us to pause and think again. Remember, this thing doubles and doubles again almost daily.

Stat du jour: Total deaths are now 40,708. And, 174,115 have recovered. It's worth taking a look at the plot charts at Johns Hopkins to see how that exponential nature of the virus works and why "flattening the curve" matters so much.

In Italy it's all about the maths: Deaths in Italy started climbing a little again after the rate of increase slowed somewhat and health authorities said they hoped a plateau was emerging, but it depended on how successful the lockdown suppression measures are.

Overwhelmed: Italy had 837 deaths overnight to bring the total to 12,428 (the daily rate had been 812 on Monday). It's worth remembering why this number is so terrifying because it's deaths that might not otherwise have occurred at this time and in this way -- hence the critical pressure on hospitals and services.

Quote du jour: "The curve tells us that we’re at the plateau. That doesn’t mean we’ve hit the peak and that it is over but that we must start the descent and you start the descent by applying the measures in force," said the head of the National Higher Health Institute, Silvio Brusaferro. (The Guardian)

Deaths in the United States pass key emotional threshold of 9/11: We all, not just journalists, grab on to landmarks and the US coronavirus crisis just went through one. The number of deaths from Covid-19 surpassed those from the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and other targets. The US toll went over 3,000, just over the initial toll from 9/11. (The Washington Post)

Worse to come: Remember the US is some weeks behind Italy in the progression of the disease through the population and that President Donald Trump has gone through a process of dismissing, equivocating and now more vigorously combatting the spread with tougher national, state and local measures. The White House and Centers for Disease Control are expected to announce new models to forecast how things may go. That's having said earlier, deaths in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 would infer a level of success in containment. (The New York Times)

Awful April: One of the models the White House is looking at suggests almost 60,000 deaths in the United States by the end of April. (The New York TimesInstitute for Health Metrics and Evaluation). In comments which show how far he has come in a couple of weeks, clearly driven in part by those famous Imperial College forecasts of millions of US deaths if mitigation failed and suppression wasn't tried hard enough, Trump told a Rose Garden event: 

Quote du jour: “Think of the number: 2.2 — potentially 2.2 million people if we did nothing. If we didn’t do the distancing, if we didn’t do all of the things that we’re doing." He said he recognised 100,000 would be a “horrible number,” but would show “we all, together, have done a very good job.” (The New York Times)

Middle-aged spread: Hard data and analysis from China has revealed just how dangerous Covid-19 is to the middle-aged and just young that really is. While some elements of the death rate from infection with the novel coronavirus is contested, the latest study -- reported here in The Guardian -- showed that while the overall death rate across all ages was 1.38 percent (flu is about 0.1 percent remember) the spread was 0.0016 percent in kids under 10 years old up to 7.8 percent in those 80 years old and over. More than eight percent of over 50s needed to be hospitalized and even in your 40s the rate was four percent.

What it means for us: And here's why we need to take that into account here in New Zealand too: “Our estimates can be applied to any country to inform decisions around the best containment policies for Covid-19,” said Professor Azra Ghani, a co-author of the study.

Quote du jour: “Our analysis very clearly shows that at aged 50 and over, hospitalisation is much more likely than in those under 50, and a greater proportion of cases are likely to be fatal.”

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