20 October 2020

Financial Times: “Covid-19: The global crisis — in data”

Yet for all the patterns that appear in the data, the resurgence also demonstrates the outsized role seemingly played by random chance in the story of Covid-19. When Italy avoided a second wave in the late summer, many pointed to its high levels of mask-wearing as a contributory factor. And indeed, only one country has higher levels of mask-wearing than Italy. That country’s identity? Spain, home to the worst second wave of the continent.

But there is room for hope as the world attempts to stave off a bitter Covid-19 winter. Mortality rates from the virus have fallen over the course of the year as healthcare expertise and technology have improved. In March, somebody aged 70 or above had a 50:50 chance of survival if admitted to hospital with the virus. By August their chances had climbed to 74 per cent.

Leaders have vacillated between reopening to protect the economy and locking back down to protect citizens. Yet recent analysis suggests that this may well be a false trade-off.

FT Visual & Data Journalism team

Interesting and extensive series of visualizations about the coronavirus pandemic from the Financial Times. I found the graph below especially revealing: while the correlation is not particularly strong, it is clear that overall countries with larger death counts have also experienced heavier economic recessions. This indicates that protecting citizens from this disease and economic recovery are not mutually exclusive and should be treated as a common goal.

with the caveat that this pandemic is far from over, so these numbers will change considerably over the coming months.

FT chart coronavirus fall in GDP vs. cumulative deaths
Countries that were unable to control their outbreaks have tended to suffer the most economic pain

Another conclusion I would draw here is how close economic ties and globalization influence this recovery. Case in point: New Zealand, despite having one of the lowest death tolls in the world, experienced a larger GDP drop than Sweden for example – most likely because of reductions in trade and tourism worldwide. Even China, who managed to stem the pandemic relatively early on, dropped from an annual growth rate of about 6% pre-pandemic to 0%, the lowest in decades, and is now slowly recovering.

India is a clear outlier on this graph, with a small death rate, but high economic contraction. I suspect the reason is that the county has underreported its death numbers – or maybe the draconic measures implemented so chaotically in the spring had worse consequences for the overall economy.

Post a Comment