Coronavirus: Is the world anywhere close to ‘flattening’ the Covid-19 curve?



The trajectory of coronavirus outbreak differs from country to country, however, the trend shows that the virus multiplies and rapidly touches a peak. After peaking, the Covid-19 curve begins to flatten before it takes a downward course similar to that of China.

According to the data exhibited by Johns Hopkins University, some of the countries that have reported the highest number of cases and fatalities related to Covid-19 now seem to be flattening the virus curve.

What does ‘flattening’ the curve mean?

“Flattening the curve involves reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases from one day to the next,” as mentioned on the University’s data centre page for Covid-19.

Last month, China had declared that its coronavirus peak is finally over. The total number of cases in the country have not crossed 82,000 for over a month now. The rate of fatalities also seems to have hit a plateau.


Countries and the Covid-19 curve

So, when exactly does a country begin to flatten its coronavirus curve? The answer is when it starts seeing a drop in the number of fresh cases and maintains the trend.

Italy, for example, seems to be levelling off its number of new cases but is still struggling to contain the number of fatalities.

“When a country has fewer new COVID-19 cases emerging today than it did on a previous day, that’s a sign that the country is flattening the curve,” Johns Hopkins University describes.

What data shows

The University’s map of a 5-day moving average of top 10 Covid-19 affected countries suggests the coronavirus curve could be flattening.

The numbers are calculated by averaging the values of that day, the two days before, and the two next days.

According to the University data, 6 out of 10 highly coronavirus-affected nations seem to be reporting a drop in the daily number of fresh Covid-19 cases. These include Italy, Spain, the United States, Iran, Netherlands and Germany.

According to the estimates, the UK, France, Belgium continue to report more Covid-19 cases on a daily basis but not at a rate as before. China reported 39 new coronavirus cases as of Sunday, up from 30 a day earlier.

Crucial stage

The United States and the UK are at a crucial stage with respect to their coronavirus trajectories. The cases in the US and the UK are still rising but not at a pace like before, therefore, there emerges a chance for these countries to flatten the curve if the rate of new cases stabilises without new spikes.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the country might be getting to the top of the “curve” of the coronavirus outbreak and said he did not see an early written warning about the pandemic from a top White House aide. The president said he was reluctant to talk about it but that the country might be on track for far fewer deaths than projected.

What could upend the ‘flattening’?

However, this is just with respect to the top 10 most affected countries in the world. Nations like India, Pakistan and Indonesia have begun to report a rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

The coronavirus curve flattened when the Chinese outbreak peaked and the contagion had not reached the West and other countries.

Even when the top 10 most affected countries manage to flatten the curve, it may get upended if the virus reaches new regions or gets out of control in densely populated countries like India.

More than 80,000 people across the globe have lost their lives to Covid-19. The virus has infected over a million people worldwide.


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