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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Lies, damn lies and statistics – reporting the ‘stats’ of Covid-19

The Thaiger

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Lies, damn lies and statistics – reporting the ‘stats’ of Covid-19 | The Thaiger
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The world pushed through the half a million new cases today, along with 24,000+ deaths, as authorities around the globe struggle to contain the Covid-19 virus as it continues to spread.

Today there are 532,000+ active cases, and growing quickly, some 60,000 more identified cases than there were just two days ago. The USA is now the leader in cases, passing China’s total of 81,285 cases yesterday. Italy will also pass China’s total early today.

But why are the statistics so wonky, with death rates and reported cases so varied around the world? The problem is, as in most cases, the statistics, whilst a valuable guide and resource, can also tell the wrong story.

Why is the death rate so high (11%) in Italy? And why is the death rate so low in Germany and South Korea? How come the UK has comparatively fewer cases than nearby Europe? And how is Russia being able to contain its cases, well, statistically?

Lies, damn lies and statistics - reporting the 'stats' of Covid-19 | News by The ThaigerWorldometers.com (7am Thai time)

The online maps available all feed off the same data bases and are only as accurate as the information that is being fed to them.

One of the maps, presented by the Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, has been a valuable resource for people following the spread of the coronavirus, being viewed more than 1 billion times every day. The Thaiger uses information from a different resource, Worldometers, but the data is all the same. There are plenty of others jumping on the digital bandwagon as the world turns to the internet for answers.

Lies, damn lies and statistics - reporting the 'stats' of Covid-19 | News by The Thaiger

John Hopkins University map

Now everyone’s an expert, it seems, armed with the latest statistics. With some extra time on our hands previously employed hotel managers are now instant epidemiologists, and English teachers are discussing the comparative death rates.

Real epidemiologists have a warning. All nations have different reporting standards, different testing protocols, different capacities to trace new cases and different attitudes to reporting cases to the public. And those differences can all be in the mix in just one country, with differences across states, provinces or districts.Lies, damn lies and statistics - reporting the 'stats' of Covid-19 | News by The Thaiger

Who is being tested? Where are they being tested? What is the standard of testing? What test result signals a ‘new case’?

The UK government says the national health system doesn’t currently have the capacity to test everyone who has Covid-19 symptoms. So only patients sick enough to require hospital treatment are getting tested, according to the UK government.

The relatively low number of tests done in the UK explains why the active case numbers appear so much lower when compared to other European countries. It doesn’t mean fewer people are sick, just that fewer people are being tested.

In South Korea, where there was an early outbreak of Covid-19, access to testing is free and available for anyone who a doctor thinks needs it. South Korean medical authorities jumped on the early spread and have been actively tracing the contacts of infected patients. The early containment, transparent reporting and easy testing protocols has allowed the country, even with 9,241 cases, only end up with 131 deaths.

In Germany, up to a reported 44,000 cases today, anyone who shows “flu-like symptoms” and has travelled to a high-risk region, or come into contact with a confirmed case in the past 14 days, gets tested. The death rate in Germany has remained around .6%.

Internationally, the comparisons rely on a cocktail of different sources. The graphic maps, which are the go-to resource for the media and real experts, pull in data from the World Health Organisation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and China’s national health commission. There are other internal medical sources that contribute to the daily stats.

But whilst the numbers and graphs can provide an overall picture, and trends, frontline scientists spend a lot of time looking at the epidemic curve, that the the shape of the graph that captures the total number of new cases in each country day by day.

Lies, damn lies and statistics - reporting the 'stats' of Covid-19 | News by The Thaiger
Lisa Gitelman, an NYU professor, is also the writer of a book “Raw Data’ Is an Oxymoron.”

“If different nations have different standards and conditions, they at least generate a consistent curve if those standards and conditions are stable across time.”

“If the UK suddenly starts testing many more people and sees a big jump in new cases, it doesn’t necessarily mean the epidemic is spreading faster. Similarly, if a country runs out of tests, it may suddenly report a misleading drop in new cases.”

Accurate information is important, because to defeat the virus, people need to be willing to comply with strict restrictions and officials need facts to guide their decisions. Scientists say the only way to defeat the virus is through social distancing, which requires citizens to drastically alter their way of life.

On January 25, 2020, when there were only a total of 2,105 cases, almost all in China at that stage, the Chinese Government embarked on a massive social experiment, recommended by their epidemic experts, to lockdown 930 million people. Not just a ‘lockdown’, as has been rolled out piecemeal in many western countries, but a REAL lockdown – “go to your homes and stay there!”

The draconian measures appears to have worked to control the spread of Covid-19 in a country of nearly 1.4 billion. At this stage anyway. To convince people to obey rules about isolation, the world’s politicians need to make a convincing case that the situation is serious enough to merit such sacrifices.

Effective social distancing is a bit like being pregnant, you’re either pregnant or you’re not. The only real social distancing is to lock yourself away from other people, completely. With ‘social distancing’, as practiced outside China, you can ask people to stay in their homes whilst cultivating a binge of panic buying, forcing thousands to crowd together in supermarkets.

In Thailand the government has told foreigners they have to assemble paperwork and visit their local immigration department to get visa extensions, causing long, crowded queues of people scrambling and desperate to stay ‘legal’. The reality is they’re just a congregation of potential virus spreaders.

No two countries are alike when it comes to access to their healthcare standards, testing availability and medical resources. There is also huge variation in the populations’ underlying health conditions and age demographics.

Watch and acknowledge the daily statistics but understand they are only a guide. Meanwhile, do what you can to maintain proper social distancing and ensure you don’t become just another number on a graph.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Did an Issan woman get coronavirus for a second time?

Greeley Pulitzer

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Did an Issan woman get coronavirus for a second time? | The Thaiger
IMAGE: The Thaiger

A 38 year old woman from Thailand’s northeastern Chaiyaphum province in the Issan region appears to have contracted the Covid-19 coronavirus for a second time, after she was ‘cured’ of the virus in Bangkok in the middle of March.

The woman, who in March had only recently returned from overseas, was found to be infected with the virus and was admitted to Phyathai 2 Hospital in Bangkok. She apparently made a full recovery and was discharged, and soon returned to her hometown.

But somewhere around April 3-5, she became sick again and went for a test. The result showed that her throat was infected with Covid-19.

A similar case involved a 42 year old construction worker who returned from Qatar on April 2.

Both cases are now under treatment in local hospitals, and authorities are trying to trace people who might have been in close contact with them. Doctors in New York now believe its possible for the virus to lie dormant in patients who’ve been treated

A report yesterday showed that Chaiyaphum currently has 109 Covid-19 patients. 8 were new cases. The local government has asked its residents to strictly follow curfew directives to limit the spread of the virus.

Testing remains the core of identifying patients with Covid-19 but there have been cases of false positives that may lead to apparent re-infections.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand confirms 54 new coronavirus cases, 2 new deaths (Thursday)

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thailand confirms 54 new coronavirus cases, 2 new deaths (Thursday) | The Thaiger

A spokesman for the Health Ministry and the Covid-19 Coronavirus Situation Response Center confirmed 54 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Thailand today, less than half of yesterday’s 111. The new cases bring the total number of infections in the country to 2,423.

Two additional deaths were reported as an 82 year old Thai man and a Frenchman aged 74. This brings the national death total to 32.

“The Frenchman had no chronic disease. He fell sick on March 27 with a fever, cough, exhaustion and abdominal pain and was treated at a hospital in Chon Buri province, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and later tested positive for The virus. Tuesday he had trouble breathing and died later the same day.”

“The Thai man became sick on March 25 with a fever of 38.5°C and was treated at a hospital in Samut Prakan, just outside Bangkok. On March 30 he became exhausted, needed a ventilator and lost consciousness. He died yesterday.”

The 2,423 confirmed cases comprise…

• 1,242 in Bangkok

• 161 in Phuket

• 142 in Nonthaburi

• 103 in Samut Prakan

• 73 in Chon Buri

• 70 in Yala

• 66 in Pattani

• 7 in Songkhla

• 45 in Chiang Mai

• 30 in Pathum Thani

80 medical personnel have now been infected, or 3.4% of all cases nationwide. 50 of them contracted the disease at hospitals, 18 in communities and 12 are under investigation. They include 36 nurses and assistant nurses, and 16 doctors.

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

21 new coronavirus cases in Phuket, total now 161 (Thursday)

Greeley Pulitzer

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21 new coronavirus cases in Phuket, total now 161 (Thursday) | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bang Tao beach - hotels.com

The southern province of Phuket today (Thursday) confirmed 21 new Covid-19 coronavirus cases, up from 14 yesterday. All the new cases are Thai citizens and are centred around Patong’s Bangla Road or Bang Tao.

Today’s new cases bring the total in Phuket to 161 cases since the start of the outbreak in January.

Phuket has become a hotbed for new cases and many districts now have restricted access. The government has announced new travel restrictions for the island that go into effect Monday.

Phuket has no reported deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours.

Here are the details of today’ new cases…

Case 141: A 23 year old unemployed Thai man who had contact with confirmed case 104. He fell sick on March 29 and 3 people are considered at high risk and are being sought by authorities.

Case 142: An 18 year old Thai woman, a vendor who lives with case 119 in Bang Tao. She got sick on April 1, 2 people are considered at high risk.

Case 143: A 6 year old Thai girl who lives with case 117 in Bang Tao. She shows no symptoms, but 4 people are considered at high risk.

Case 144: 40 year old Thai man, a hotel worker who also lives with case 117 in Bang Tao. He became sick on April 2, 2 people are considered at high risk.

Case 145: A 50 year old Thai woman, a maid who had close cotact with cconfirmed case 119. She shows no symptoms, but 2people are considered at high risk.

Case 146: A 35 year old Thai woman who works in the Bangla Road red ligh area. She fell sick on March 25, 6 people are considered at high risk.

Case 147: A 23 year old Thai woman who also works in Bangla Road at the same place as case 146. She got sick on April 7, 1 person is at high risk

Case 148: A 32 year old Thai man who works in Bangla Road at the same place as case 73. He became sick on March 21, 1 person is at high risk

Case 149: A 39 year old Thai woman who works in Bangla Road with case 148. She fell sick April 2, but no one is considered at high risk.

21 new coronavirus cases in Phuket, total now 161 (Thursday) | News by The Thaiger
Case 150: A 27 year old Thai woman, a receptionist a Patong hotel, the same hotel as cases 113 and 135. She fell sick on March 30, 1 person is at high risk

Case 151: A 28 year old Thai woman who works in Bangla Road, also with case 148. She fell sick on March 29, 11 people are considered at high risk.

Case 152: A 30 year old Thai man, working in Bangla Road also with case 148. He became sick on April 6, 2 people are considered at high risk.

Case 153: A 44 year old Thai woman living in Patong, a masseuse who had close contact with case 131. She got sick on April 3 and 4 people are considered at high risk.

Case 154: A 30 year old Thai woman who works at the same massage shop as case 153. She also had close contact with case 131. Though she shows no symptoms, 4 people are considered at high risk.

Case 155: A 35 year old Thai man working in Bangla Road, also with case 148. No symptoms but 8 people are considered at high risk.

Case 156: A 29 year old Thai man, a designer at a tailor shop in Patong. He fell sick on March 30, 5 people are considered at high risk.

Case 157: A 40 year old Thai woman, a masseuse at the same shop as case 131. She had contact with case 153. No symptoms but 4 people are considered at high risk.

Case 158: A 39 year old Thai man working in Bangla Road, also with case 148. He fell sick April 5, 2 people are considered at high risk.

Case 159: A 23 year old Thai man, a hotel chef, living with case 119 in Bang Tao. He fell sick April 4, 12 people are considered at high risk.

Case 160: A 43 year old Thai woman, a maid with a history of visiting Bangla Road and close contact with foreigners. She fell sick on March 28, 1 person is at high risk.

Case 161: A 30 year old Thai man, a food worker who lives in Bang Tao. He got sick on April 4, 13 people are considered at high risk.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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  • Total Cases: 2423
  • Active Cases: 1451
  • Recovered: 940
  • Deaths: 32
  • Last Updated: 2020-04-10 at 09:15
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