Last week I discovered the “Add 30 seconds” button on my microwave. It only took me 13 years to find it. Think of all the time I wasted punching in the “Time to cook” button, then “30 seconds”, then “Start”. Just 2 seconds possibly 5 times every day for 13 years!!!

Is the curve flattening in New Mexico, Kansas, and Australia? Let’s take a look.

The coronavirus numbers in New Mexico are comparatively small – 794 total cases and 13 deaths as of 7 April 2020 (see figure). Its an exponential curve and it hasn’t flattened at all. The only good thing is the death numbers, no more than 2 per day, and on most recent days only 1 per day (this is encouraging). PS: yesterday there were 3 deaths – the first time more than 2 deaths in one day.


New reported Covid 19 cases in NM by the day
Total cases and deaths in New Mexico up to 7 April 2020.

The number of confirmed cases in Kansas climbed to 1,046 on Wednesday, with 38 deaths The numbers are still relatively small, and similar to the data in New Mexico. In fact a listing of states in the US reveals Kansas and New Mexico right next to each other (and about two-thirds of the way down from the top state with the most infections.)

I haven’t found a graph that shows how the infection increases over time, but I assume its still an exponential increase like it is in New Mexico (see figure above).

Total Covid 19 cases in Australia by the day
Total cases in Australia, day by day basis.

Australia is a large country with a small population — about 25 million people. The number of cases each day has flattened or been falling for 13 days through April 7. That’s a surprise. And only about 70 deaths to date. The country also blames tourists for many of the new infections. So how did the country pull this off?

As best I can tell, their health precautions are not much different from the US. One difference I have heard is that people over 70 are NOT allowed to leave their homes. Another is that some states have banned travel between states (that’s not so bad because there are only 7 states in an area the size of the USA sine Alaska).

Covid 19 curve flattening graph by countries
Total Covid-19 cases for selected countries.

The next graph shows the total number of cases for several countries. USA has the most, with Italy and Spain the next. Italy and Spain are flattening the curve at last. The US is showing early signs of flattening. China of course has flattened, i.e. very few new cases for 45 days now.

South Korea has had few new cases for the past 30 days. Australia is flattening the curve, as we showed. If it continues to flatten, Australia will stay in the “low-case” group of Japan, S Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong-Kong (the last two countries not shown in this figure).

What differentiates the “low-case” group of countries? It’s not an especially low population because S. Korea has 51 million people and Japan has 127 million. The answer must be in how they managed the pandemic. I know that Australia have done a lot more tests per capita than the US has done, and so has S. Korea, and I suspect that’s also true of the other “low-case” countries. Its kinda obvious, but the higher the fraction of people tested, the greater knowledge you have of where the virus is breaking out plus more time to address and mitigate the breakouts. The US dropped the ball on this one, despite well-founded warnings by Bill Gates 10 years ago.

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Total deaths by Covid-19 in select countries.

As expected, the number of deaths tracks the number of cases. The “low-case” countries are also the “low-death” countries.

I’m a football fan – and yes the Arizona Cardinals will have a good year coming up. Yes, I am going somewhere with this…

I’m also a fan of Aussie Rules. Football in Australia is controlled by the AFL, similar to the NFL in the US. They play in the winter down there, which is summer up here. The season started in March, and they played one game in empty stadiums but then games were stopped by new Covid-19 rules. Teams then laid off perhaps 80% of coaching supports, and players accepted a 50% pay cut.

But the AFL and head coaches are striving to restart the deferred season. Creative suggestions are bubbling up such as playing games in quarantined hubs without spectators. Or playing late into the Fall. Maybe a shorter season, with shorter game time.

This is a miniature version of what a country is facing with back-to-work scenarios. Germany has been brain-storming on the subject, and President Trump is anxious to put a plan in place. Its tricky business because in the US there are hotspots of the virus, such as New York and California. But at the same time, some regions exist where the virus is muted, such as New Mexico and Kansas.

Could we open up the muted areas first? Or could we instigate a thorough testing program to ensure workers that go back remain virus-free in jobs that are perfectly safe? The trouble is that testing kits in the US are too few or too slow to obtain results.

• Back-to-work scenarios are being fashioned, but it’s quite a challenge because there are a lot of variables to consider. But very soon some country other than China will start to test (carefully I hope) a back-to-work scenario. This will be motivated by the new world-wide Covid-19 recession we have dropped into. The economic voices will shout down the health expert voices.
• With modern-day tools like artificial intelligence (AI), it may be Google that conjures up an algorithm that can model the best back-to-work scenarios for each part of the USA.
• If I threw out a guess, I would suggest that some country, maybe S. Korea, will come up with a proven vaccine before the end of this year 2020 (most experts are predicting 2021). The world’s medical science experts are very, very smart.
• Another guess: the footy in Australia will start playing again in July.

Related topicsPandemic Update – New Mexico, Kansas, and Australia

BLOG TOPICS: I write content (in-depth) blogs about a curious mix of topics: Science and Energy, Inspiration and Hope, and Health and Hiking.

The Gray Nomad ….. Read and draw hope from the data. If Easter stands for anything, it stands for hope, one of the hallmarks of Christian faith. I wish you a blessed Easter.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
[Book of Romans, chapter 15]

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Karen Larre
Karen Larre
5 months ago

Great info, Ian. Thanks for sharing!!!

Dale Bryant
Dale Bryant
5 months ago

Hi Ian, Thanks for the nice, non-threatening LOL report. The US has been falling so far behind on a lot of things in these later years, along with things such as pandemic research and preparedness. Anyway, glad Kansas is doing better, but there is still such an air of depression about.
At the same time, people are helping people more. I contacted a friend from church that was getting out to help grocery shop and so forth for those who can’t get out, and volunteered myself. Yesterday got my first tip and did grocery shopping for a 70’s lady. It went well. She tried to pay me more than the grocery cost but I said, no. Finally talked me into taking the money to pay forward to others. Also said I should start my own business doing this and that she would be my customer. A possibility and is in my own part of town. Anyway, God is still Good All the time, and people are catching on.

5 months ago

Dear Ian,
Australia has adopted the following steps:
1. In either late January or early February, the Government prevented Chinese University Students from re-entering Australia after their holidays (much to the annoyance of some of the Universities, who derive a fair amount of their income from China).
2. Testing those people who have symptoms of respiratory illness, but not testing those who are well (in order to not waste tests).
3. For any patients who tested positive, carrying out detailed investigations as where they might have become infected through trace back procedures.
4. It quickly became apparent that most of those infected were people returning from overseas, or overseas visitors. The other major source was Australians returning home after having been on cruise ships. (a major incubator of the disease).
5. To prevent further spread all returning Australians were required to self isolate for 14 days. Later when some broke this requirement, the isolation became mandatory in hotels requisitioned for the purpose.
6. From early February Australians were discouraged from travelling overseas, but by mid March they were not allowed to travel overseas.
7. A major issue, which is currently subject to a criminal investigation, is that NSW authorities early in the piece allowed over 2000 passengers on a Cruise Liner (Ruby Princess) to disembark, without health checks, and then disburse to their homes all over Australia. (1/3 of the cases in SA are derived from this, or from people who have been in contact with these passengers).
8. For at least the last month everybody is required to separate themselves from others by 1.5 metres. In NSW and Victoria, no more than two people can be together, or a family can have one visitor, with on the spot fines to be paid if the isolation rules are broken. In SA these requirements, are being suggested but not enforced, however groups have to be less than eleven people.
9. If you are over 70 it is recommended that you not go outside your home, with others doing your shopping and leaving the purchases on the veranda for you to collect. (For the last 3 weeks Averil and I have been doing this most of the time, although we travel to Wonga to check sheep and will again do so tomorrow.).
10. The main issue in Australia, is with community transmission, where the source of the infection cannot be traced, and this is worse in Sydney and Melbourne. To reduce the risk of this, all other states and the Northern Territory have closed their borders to non-essential travel.
11. How is all of this being determined and administered? Early in the piece the Prime Minister decided that they would form a National Cabinet to be the major decision making body. This headed by the PM, with the heads of Government from each jurisdiction (State or Territory) making up the Cabinet. This is bipartisan, because there are four Liberals and five Labor Party members in the Cabinet. Underneath this Cabinet, all of the jurisdictions’ Chief Medical Officers, convene to determine the best strategies to keep the disease under control. This body uses advanced modelling to determine the best course of action, and almost without exception this body’s recommendations are adopted by the various jurisdictions. The actions of each jurisdiction may differ, but they are consistent, with the overall aim of reducing disease.
12. Apart from deaths, the major issue is the economy, where in particular tourism and hospitality are being decimated. While State governments may decide to assist in certain ways, the bulk of financial assistance has to be provided by the Australian Government. The major assistance is wage subsidies for businesses who have lost at least 30% of their turnover, with $1500 per fortnight per employee going to these businesses for the next 6 months. This measure and others equates to about 13-14% of the nation’s GDP (I am not absolutely sure of this figure, so don’t quote me on this).
13. In my view, until we have a vaccine, which could be 12 months away, I cannot see that the current arrangements can be changed, because the bulk of the population are susceptible, and there are unidentified carriers of the disease in the community, who show no symptoms. The National Rugby League are making noises about starting in late May, but at this stage do not seem to have approached either the NSW or Qld Governments. (I presume that this would be in stadia without crowds). There has been talk of the AFL reconvening as three separate quarantined competitions in SA, WA and Tasmania, but again they would need to have those jurisdictions agreeing.
14. Finally, look after yourself, and don’t take any unnecessary risks at this time. Those of us who live in areas with a low density of population, have some advantages.

Julian Pfitzner
Julian Pfitzner
5 months ago

Us old people in Australia are allowed to travel but not very far and generally for good reasons. Today we visited four family members to deliver Easter gifts and nobody noticed or cared. Most businesses where people would congregate are closed and we are practicing social distancing ie. keeping at least 1.5m away from each other. Perhaps we are lucky to be an island and we do not live in large apartment blocks but a death toll of 54 today in Australia is much smaller than anywhere else. We feel for the US and for Europe where deaths are in the thousands. May God bless and comfort you at this Easter time.


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