Why does Italy have more coronavirus cases than other countries in Europe?

Mudassir Ali
Mar 12, 2020 01:43 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Mar 12, 2020 01:43 PM

Originally Answered: Why is Italy the hardest hit European country by the coronavirus?
Short answer: because the Italians are doing a great job in checking for the virus, and following up by testing large groups for the virus. That is why they found this outbreak and reported a large number of infected people. Other European countries may have unreported outbreaks…

Long answer: Short answer: the fatality rate of the disease depends on how you calculate it. Some say it is about 9 percent.

Long answer: COVID-19 is a dangerous pandemic. Probably, at this moment, there are outbreaks in hundreds of cities and villages around the world and eventually the virus will infect 50 percent of the world population. The large majority will be cured, but a substantial percentage (5%?) of the infected people will die.

The reason that so few people realise what is happening, is that the main indication for a COVID-19 pandemic is not what we currently see (decreasing numbers of infections in China, small outbreaks in Italy and South Korea) Instead, the main indicator for the upcoming world wide outbreak is what we currently do _not_ see.

What do we currently see? Outbreaks in Italy and South Korea. The interesting “coincidence” about these outbreaks is that both countries have a high level health care system and a high level of preparedness for such an outbreak.

There are hundreds of countries in the world where an outbreak is possible since the virus already has spread to all continents except South America and Antarctica. Some countries have long border with China, and no means to close the border completely, or run many tests, like Norh Korea and Myanmar. But we now see well documented outbreaks in only two specific countries: South Korea and Italy. Both countries have a high level of healthcare and a high level of preparedness for a virus outbreak. Logically, there are three explanations for this coincidence:

The COVID-19 disease chooses countries with high level of health care and preparedness (obviously not true).
It is just a coincidence.
There are currently many cities and villages around the world with an outbreak, but outbreaks are only detected and followed up at locations with a high level of healthcare and preparedness.
I think explanation 3 is the obvious explanation. Which implies that as we speak, many many outbreaks like in South Korea may be happening in countries like Myanmar, North Korea, India and Iran. These outbreaks will go undetected, and adequate measurement like large scale testing of the local population will not be done. And subsequently there are no reports in increasing numbers of infections.

The fact that we do _not_ see reports on outbreaks in places where it is most likely that outbreaks occur, probably caused by the state of local health care, is very alarming.

Another indication of such hidden outbreaks and thus a pandemic scenario is that infections will be found in people that have not visited China, and have not been in contact with people who did, but who did travel in countries where no large scale outbreak has been reported.

Exactly that recently happened: an infection found in Canada. That infected person had not been to China but had been to Iran, where according to the official figures less than 30 people are infected, in a population of 50 million. It is highly unlikely that the Canadian is infected in Iran by having contact with one of these less than 30 infected people. It is far more likely that already many (ten thousands?) people in Iran are infected, but not tested and not reported.

In the coming weeks we may see more and more of these improbable traveller infections, which will create further evidence of the pandemic spread of the virus. And yes, such a pandemic is uncontainable, just like the flu. The US nor any other country is capable of keeping the flu virus out. COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu. So COVID-19 will spread throughout the world and you will likely be exposed to the virus some day later this year, unless you flee to a secluded cabin and live self-sustained.

And I am not alone in this idea:

“I think it is likely we will see a global pandemic. If a pandemic happens, 40% to 70% of people world-wide are likely to be infected in the coming year.”

Prof. Marc Lipsitch

Prof. of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health
Head, Harvard Ctr. Communicable Disease Dynamics
Feb. 14, 2020

What is also is distressing, is that for each person that has so far deceased from the virus, not 49 people are cured (2 percent fatality rate), but only 10. Which suggests that the virus actually has a 9 percent fatality rate. The theory that the fatality rate is just 2 percent (total number of deceased people, divided by the total number of infected people) Is based on the obviously flawed assumption that all currently infested people will be cured.

Bases on the observations above, I expect there will soon be concern and panic, and the world economy will probably crash as a result.

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