N.Z. in lock down: DAY 18

Yesterday was DAY 18 of New Zealand in lock down as we try to fight the COVID19 pandemic.

Rather than write a blog item I thought I would show you a couple of charts based on data taken from the New Zealand Ministry of Health daily updates so that you can see how New Zealand has performed. I want to point out first that because of the small number of cases New Zealand has compared to the large numbers in countries like Italy, the United States, China and Spain, logarithmic charts which have been used for other countries is a bit harder to apply here. The best logarithmic scale goes up by 10-fold – 1,000 becomes 10,000 which becomes 100,000 and so on. Whilst the new cases would just breach the 1,000 line, nothing else in a New Zealand context would even come close.

Chart 1 shows how the total case number is not increasing logarithmically; how the number of recovered patients is accelerating.

Data sourced from Ministry of Health daily updates; chart compiled by R. Glennie

Chart 2 shows how the number of new cases per day and the number of probable cases had a slow start, followed by brief steady growth before beginning to fall, punctuated by brief spikes.

Data taken from Ministry of Health daily updates; Chart compiled by R. Glennie

I had thought about including a chart showing New Zealand deaths compared to other countries. However I thought that it was a) a bit of unnecessary and perhaps inappropriate gloating and b) even if I had put New Zealand on the chart, we would be so completely dwarfed by the other nations that no one would actually be able to see our line.

Perhaps the best example of exponential growth can be seen in the United States figures. Whereas Spain, Italy and France are starting to see signs of COVID19 cases beginning to taper off, a combination of an inept President and a health system set up completely inappropriate for beating a pandemic, has seen America blast past all of them at a speed that is truly shocking to watch. If we use the train analogy, it is going to take America probably several tens of thousands of deaths – maybe over 100,000 – before the brakes begin to be applied, and even then thousands more will suffer unnecessarily in the time it takes for them to have their full effect.


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