Covid-19 Update

Data are updated daily at 4pm BST. Commentary is updated weekly. Last commentary update November 11, 2020. 

November 11: With trailing seven-day averages for Covid-19 deaths starting to tick up again in a number of countries, the news that Pfizer and Biotech’s vaccine could soon be coming to the market represents much-needed hope for tackling the virus.

This week has seen average mortality rates rise again in the US and the country is now outpacing India, which only a few weeks ago claimed the dubious title of leading the world in weekly death figures. Unless something is done to check the spread of the virus in the US mortality rates could cross the psychologically important threshold of a quarter of a million Covid-19-related deaths in the next few days.

Other worrying rises in seven-day trailing averages were seen in France where weekly averages are now at levels last seen in April. Italy and the United Kingdom are also struggling with rising death rates as Europe remains in the grip of a huge second wave of Covid-19 cases.

The only good news this week has come out of India, which has seen a rapid fall not only in seven-day average mortality but also in new infection rates. However, the pandemic has shown that is never wise to try to call the bottom when it comes to infections.

Round up of cases and deaths

Worldwide – There continues to be a fall in the new cases of coronavirus infections versus seven-day averages worldwide, driven by falls in weekly averages in some of the world’s most populous countries including India and Brazil. But the total number of infections today has passed 51 million, and 1.3 million people around the world have lost their lives to Covid-19. And infection rates remained high in the US – a situation that will prove challenging to the incoming Biden administration.

US – The US might not be quite at a quarter of a million Covid-19 deaths, but given the current daily new cases that grim milestone could be breached as early as tomorrow. Daily new infection rates in the US are currently running at historic highs, with over 100,000 people infected each day. Individual states that have hit new highs include Illinois, Wisconsin and Texas. The US is still leading the world in terms of both deaths and infections, accounting for a fifth of all global infections and deaths. With hospital admissions in the country also hitting new highs this week the mortality figures are only likely to grow. The infection numbers have not been helped by different states taking varying approaches to curbing transmission.

Europe – Countries across Europe have experienced sharp rises in new Covid-19 infections, with the likes of the UK, France and the Netherlands reporting new infection rates either similar to or higher than those seen in the spring. In attempts to slow infection rates countries across Europe are imposing ever more restrictive laws to limit the movement of people and the virus. Slovakia has extended its state of emergency powers until the end of the year and alongside closing restaurants, gyms and cinemas the government has started a mass testing programme. Germany, like the UK and France, is entering a second week of a national lockdown. Germany had been held up as one of Europe’s success stories in limiting Covid-19 infections, but today the country reported 18,487 new infections and the total death rate is just below 12,000. While France has seen a halving of new infections since last week, there are concerns in the country that it might run out of intensive care beds, as both deaths and serious infections lag new infection rates by one to two weeks. Italy again looked as it was suffering a disproportionate impact from coronavirus infections, today reporting the third highest number of new infections in the world.

Latin America – Today’s rise in coronavirus cases in Mexico is only going to add to the country’s already distressing mortality rates. With total deaths standing at almost 96,000 Mexico remains fourth in the world for Covid-19 mortality, with its rate outstripping many more populous countries. Health officials in the country have also warned the real figure could be much higher due to underreporting. Brazil, which claims the second worst death rate in the world, is enjoying a welcome reduction in new cases, but efforts to tackle the disease have not been helped by president Jair Bolsonaro continuing to dismiss the severity of the disease.

Asia – Hopes that infection rates in India have well and truly peaked have been supported by the 44,281 new Covid-19 cases reported today, a far cry from the 100,000-plus the country was reporting a few weeks ago. If infection rates continue to fall the country might not, as previously predicted, over take the US in terms of total cases. But there are fears cases will rise during the holiday season in November. Elsewhere, the recent rise in new Japanese coronavirus cases is prompting fears the country could be undergoing a third wave of infections. Some have put the rise down to a big tourism campaign sponsored by the government that has offered heavily subsidised travel for Japanese citizens.  

ROW – Russia, which has recently reported record number of deaths, today unveiled data on its Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, showing it to be 92% effective. The news comes just two days after Pfizer and Biontech reported their vaccine was 90% effective, leading to questions around the timing of the Russian data and comparisons of the vaccine rivalry to the space race in the 1970s.

Coronavirus in top 20 economic powers
Country Total cases Total deaths New daily cases: reported on  24 November Daily cases: reported on 25 November New daily cases: 7-day avg  New cases vs 7-day average
World 59,879,875 1,413,242 543,366 530,568 587,221 Down
United States of America 12,591,165 261,588 170,293 173,963 175,909 Down
India 9,222,216 134,619 44,376 37,975 44,187 Up
Brazil 6,118,708 170,522 31,100 16,207 29,564 Up
France 2,153,815 51,004 9,155 4,452 16,723 Down
Russia 2,162,503 37,491 23,675 24,326 24,358 Down
Spain 1,594,844 43,832   12,228 11,584  
United Kingdom 1,538,794 56,066 11,299 15,450 18,295 Down
Italy 1,455,022 51,552 23,227 22,927 30,993 Down
Mexico 1,060,152 102,810 10,794 7,483 7,000 Up
Germany 961,320 14,963 18,633 13,554 18,288 Up
Indonesia 506,302 16,051 4,192 4,442 4,550 Down
Netherlands 493,142 9,017 3,919 5,163 5,241 Down
Turkey 460,916 12,704 7,381 6,713 5,643 Up
Saudi Arabia 355,741 5,812 252 231 260 Down
Canada 342,444 11,812 4,889 7,052 5,139 Down
Switzerland 303,392 3,991 4,221 9,688 4,272 Down
Japan 135,400 2,031 1,471 3,012 2,084 Down
China 91,758 4,312 5 22 14 Down
South Korea 31,735 510 382 349 346 Up
Australia 27,848 907 13 14 13 Down
Source: ECDC as of 14:00 GMT and Evaluate research.
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