COVID-19: Rest of China gets “better”, Rest of the World gets sicker

It all comes down to how you want to look at it. If you go with the Chinese data, then there is a miraculous straight-line recovery, new cases are falling every day outside of Hubei (helped by a definition change on 7 Feb):

If you look at the rest of the world data, then the opposite is happening:

See for updated data throughout the day.

The latest count from China:

At 04:00 on February 16, 31 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 2048 new confirmed cases and 105 new deaths (100 in Hubei, 3 in Henan, and 2 in Guangdong). 1563 suspected cases were added.

On the same day, 1,425 cases were cured and discharged, 28,179 close contacts were released from medical observation, and 628 severe cases were reduced.

As of 24:00 on February 16, according to reports from 31 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, there were 57934 confirmed cases (10644 of which were severe cases), 10844 cases of discharged patients were cured, and 1770 were dead cases. A total of 70,548 confirmed cases were reported, and there were 7,264 suspected cases. A total of 546,016 close contacts were traced, and 150,539 close contacts were still in medical observation.

There were 1933 newly confirmed cases in Hubei (1690 in Wuhan), 1016 new cases of cured discharges (543 in Wuhan), 100 new deaths (76 in Wuhan), and 49847 confirmed cases (36385 in Wuhan). Among them, 9797 were severe cases (8056 in Wuhan). A total of 6639 discharged patients were cured (3458 in Wuhan), 1696 deaths (1309 in Wuhan), and 58182 confirmed cases (41152 in Wuhan). There were 909 new suspected cases (338 in Wuhan), and 4826 suspected cases (1971 in Wuhan).

A total of 87 confirmed cases were reported from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan: 57 cases in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2 cases discharged, 1 death), 10 cases in the Macau Special Administrative Region (5 cases discharged), and 20 cases in Taiwan (2 cases discharged, 1 case died). ).


I don’t doubt that the significant shutdowns have helped to slow the spread of the virus. However, according to Chinese data, there are just as many people per capita with COVID-19 in Singapore than there are in Shanghai. Of that I am skeptical.

For this reason, we split the data into three parts: Hubei, Rest of China, Rest of the World.

COVID-19 cases caught outside of China

Whilst at first most cases of COVID-19 outside China were people who had flown from China to another country, we now seeing the number of people who caught the virus outside of China beginning to climb:

Notably, a single cruise ship makes up the bulk of cases outside China. Excluding the cruise ship, cases still continue to grow:

Time to doubling

We have started looking at how many days it takes for cases or deaths to double. It is still less than a week for the rest of the world:

In China, the number of deaths and cases in Hubei is doubling every week. The Rest of China Deaths are still doubling every week. The number of cases for the rest of China are staging a remarkable improvement.

COVID-19 Mortality Rate using lag periods

The mortality rate is another area where we can see distinct differences in data. Dividing the number of deaths by the number of cases during the early stages of an outbreak is very misleading. People who were diagnosed today with the disease are still alive, but they still might die from the disease in the coming days.

A better way is to compare the current deaths to the number of cases from “x” days ago. We still don’t know how many days we should be looking back. The stats so far suggest that the median days from the first symptom to death is 14. But with a broad range from 6 to 41. And, we don’t know how long on average after the first symptom a person would take to become a case.

The below charts show the death rate if the right period to look back is 4, 8 or 12 days. Using data without Hubei, a mortality rate of somewhere between 0.5% and 3% is likely. 




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  1. How long before Thailand admits it’s got several cruise-shiploads more cases than they’ve been reporting?

    There’s no way in hell their response is better than Singapore, Japan, or South Korea.

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      somethings up with the south east Asian countries, maybe the virus doesn’t like humid weather

      • Singapore has quadrupled in two weeks.

        It’s not the heat. It’s the people trying to contain it.
        It looks like Singapore is good at finding cases.

        • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

          My brother lives and works in Singapore.
          he’s been working from home and only going into the office on Sundays.
          He sent me a pic of that evacuated DBS tower taken from his office yesterday.

          He says he’s been having trouble getting essentials like toilet paper and Baked Beans.
          No doubt he is very envious of my stash.

        • Yep Myne.

          Cases reported seems to be a function of
          – ability to test properly for virus
          – willingness to test properly for virus
          – willingness to accurately report the results

          I would guess Singapore is pretty good on all three. Plenty wouldn’t be.

          • I am at DBS, same tower, lower level. Last week they gave us thermometers & face masks. Need to report the location daily by 9:30am and temperature twice daily. I recall it was the same story during “swine flu” in 2009, with a different employer. I haven’t seen any empty shelves in the shops, but some people posted the pics on the FB. By now they would have been restocked, though.

        • I live/work in Singapore. They are good at finding it and back tracking anyone associated with it. If you refer to a typical update;
          “To date, a total of 19 cases have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospital. Of the 56 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving. Five are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

          Of the suspected Covid-19 cases, 871 have tested negative and test results for the remaining 119 cases are pending.

          As of noon on Sunday, MOH has identified 2,179 close contacts, with 1,781 of the 2,045 still in Singapore quarantined or isolated. Efforts to contact the remaining 264 are ongoing.”

          The also make it cheap and easy for anyone that has a concern.
          “On Friday, the MOH reactivated its network of 900 general practice clinics, designated Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs), which provide subsidised treatment, investigations and drugs during public health outbreaks for patients with symptoms.

          Singapore citizens and permanent residents will pay a flat subsidised rate of $10 for consultation and treatment at PHPCs.”
          Taking the kids to the dentist and you are stopped before entering the build temperature checked and a form and deceleration has to be signed and your ID card checked. The International School they attend has temp checks and the same forms for anyone entering. Inter school swimming and sports has also been cancelled.So the authorities have a variety ways to track movement.

          Two weeks ago a work colleague based in Jakarta went to hospital with a fever and respiratory issues and was told they could not test him and to go home. He was in Singapore last week (has a Singaporean work pass) and went to the National University Hospital who gave him full blood tests and complete check. No Coronavirus but he did have Dengue antibodies.

          I was having a few beers with other expats (Senior Finance types) yesterday and some floated the idea that Coronavirus doesn’t like heat/humidity but goes well in Singapore as everything has aircon. Although, none had any factual basis for this theory.

          • blacktwin997MEMBER

            What senior finance types don’t know about epidemiology probably isn’t worth knowing anyway.

          • Most office towers and shopping centers distribute chilled or heated air as air-conditioning via “air handling units” or AHUs. AHUs continually circulate the air already in the building and usually only bring in fresh air from outside when a CO2 sensor tells them CO2 levels are getting up a bit.
            If you are sitting in an overly air-conditioned Singapore office I’d be worried.
            The filters in the AHUs will only catch large dust like particles but not viruses (e.g. smoke, from outside, in Sydney sails strait through AHU filters).
            This means that the winter-ish like conditions that the virus appears to favour are being artificially created in your building and that lovely WhuFlu laden air is being pumped around to you on a continuous loop.
            On the other hand maybe WhuFlu doesn’t like the humidity and the heat.

  2. Watch what the hand does not what the mouth says. The sign that things are contained is when restrictions are relaxed. Right now they are being continuously intensified across the entire country.

    Would China have compulsory 14 day quarantine periods for Beijing and Shanghai if those case numbers were correct? No.

    Watch Hong Kong because what is going on in HK is probably pretty reflective of Guangdong. Cases in HK are increasing rapidly.

    The only question in my mind is how stupid and greedy the foreigners are to buy China’s lies.

    • This stupid and greedy:

      “Mr Westaway said the tourism industry understood the government was dealing with a public health issue first and foremost, but…”

      • happy valleyMEMBER

        Tourism industry CEOs have financial needs just like uni VCs. We have to feel (or in Scotty from Marketing’s case: burn) for them.

    • No new cases in HK in 24 hours, and it went from 56 to 57 the day prior. Assuming the numbers can be believed, it seems restricting tourists from China have stop the infection from going geometric. Still early days though given the potential 24 days incubation period.

      If the Cambodian PM get taken out by coronavirus, would that count as assassination?

  3. As one of our great rulers (ordained by his own superiority) once said “When it gets serious you have to lie”.

    Just be happy that your ruling betters know what’s good for you common scum and that is to never tell you the truth about important matters.

  4. I didn’t know the Corona Virus was a member of the CCP. It’s clearly doing its patriotic duty to help China and it’s ruling elite.

  5. will start to panic when the ex china (not on a ship) jumps to the 100s or 1000s until then mask manufacturers doing well