30200304GrimReaper1_6mI photographed him before catching the Scarborough bus this morning. He shows people arriving at Filey Surgery which way the wind is blowing.

Back at the ranch a couple of hours later, I learned that 35 more UK citizens had tested positive for Covid-19. My country had been “in the pink” until today. It seems likely that the Fifth Week (since Patient Zero showed up) will see exponential growth of infections become too obvious to ignore. Though people will still go to football and rugby stadia this weekend in their hundreds of thousands.

I should explain “in the pink”. I have chosen to follow the fortunes of 20 countries and one Plague Ship. One of my countries, Syria, has yet to report a confirmed infection. Argentina, Ireland, Nigeria and New Zealand have only recently become officially infected.

I have created spreadsheets using Andy’s Prediction Tool, giving every country and Diamond Princess the same parameters. The infection rate (R0) is currently estimated to be between 4 and 7. I am applying an “R nought” of 2.5 to all countries. The mortality rate claimed by countries is sometimes as low as 1%, (ten times greater than seasonal ‘flu) but I think South Korea has just stated its current rate is over 3%. (South Korea is the exemplar in the way it is dealing with the virus.) I have chosen to go with a 2% mortality rate. And a doubling time of 7 days. Some countries are seeing their numbers of confirmed cases and deaths doubling every three or four days. Today the UK’s reported infections rose over 50% in 24 hours.

Given my modest assumptions, it is disheartening that only eight countries are “in the pink”, with reported infections being fewer than predicted. The United States is one of these seemingly blessed countries – but its “government” has tested very few people for the disease so far, guaranteeing low returns. South Korea’s heavy testing gives totals that are more believable but puts the country deep “in the black”.

I’m still working on presentation but this will illustrate my terms.


In this same week, South Korea had 8 more “black deaths” than predicted and the USA 5 fewer.

It will be interesting to see how these two compare a month from now. I expect Mr Reaper to be far busier in North America, whether the US reports the death toll accurately or not.

Update (about 20 minutes later)

Dr John on today’s figures.


The three main online counters/mappers of confirmed Covid-19 cases are in close agreement. Although several hours separate their update postings, the totals are, as I write, the same for 26 countries admitting to infections. And for the Plague Ship.

Worldometers is possibly the most responsive counter. It has two more confirmed cases than Johns Hopkins in Mainland China; 1 more than WuFlu. It has one more case than WuFlu in Japan; one less than WuFlu in Hong Kong. Pretty much even Stevens. You could say that all countries are conspiring to under-report cases in lockstep.

The odd country out, though, is the United States. Twenty-four hours ago, I noticed that the US total on WuFlu had jumped from 15 to 29. Both Johns Hopkins and Worldometers are sticking at 15; Wu Flu at 29. I have only looked for a current figure on one US mainstream media channel. CNBC has 15. Wu Flu seems to know something the other counters don’t.

The what and why of this are not worth pursuing. The US infections must be well into the thousands by now. Multiply the Chinese government total of infections by a hundred and you are approaching 7,500,000. If that seems ridiculously high to you – it is about 1% of the population currently in enforced quarantine (or “lockdown”). The WHO is offering a SARS-COV-2 virus mortality rate of 2%, “though it is still too early to tell”.

The highest figure I heard today for deaths-to-date on the Chinese mainland was a far-out 50 million, on the frighteningly persuasive Hal Turner Radio Show. Nothing to worry about everywhere else in the world then? On another “independent” TV News channel I learned that only a small percentage of “ordinary Chinese” believe the outbreak began in the Wuhan Wet Market.

Being told the truth would be great.