Top Ten Update (27.3.21): The Red East

Today is the Passover Seder, when millions of Jews around the world ask Ma Nishtana – what has changed? – and we’ll join them in this addition of the Top Ten Update, highlighting the changes in the list of states with the worst cPDI (composite Pandemic Danger Index). And we’ll start with the most visible … Read more

Top Ten Update (14.3.21): Changes Galore

Top Ten on Feb 28th
Top Ten Today

Two weeks have passed, and the leaderboard for the Pandemonitor composite Pandemic Danger Index (cPDI) has seen some changes, though not at the top stop: Hungary continues to be the world’s most dangerous COVID-19 hotspot, with mortality expected to hit almost 20 people per million per day in the next ten days and incidence still rising continually, leading to a reproduction rate of 1.27. There have, however, been major changes in the next few spots, with Bosnia and Herzegovina adding 12 cPDI points to rise from 7th to 2nd place. This is mostly due to rising incidence rates which produce a expected mortality of 12 per million per day, most probably because of relatively lax guidelines (low stringency) 10-14 days ago.

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Top Ten Update (28.2.21): It’s getting worse

It’s been a dramatic week at Pandemonitor, with the long-term worldwide trend of ‘slow improvement’ clearly reversing itself: our cPDI, used to moving in small increments, climbed three point (34 to 37) and the threshold for the top ten jumped from 66 to 74. Interestingly enough, the top ten remained surprisingly stable, with only one change: Mexico, which rode a trend of improving results all the way down to 13th place, was replaced by North Macedonia, a returning favorite from two weeks ago. Other than that, the major changes in the list lie in the changes to its order as well as the extreme leaps in the cPDI itself.

Most impressive is the change at #1: Hungary, which had leapt in pandemic danger last week, took the top spot this week, jumping 8 points in cPDI (79 to 87) due to a high new case rate (228 per week per 100,000) which is rapidly rising (reproduction rate = 1.42). A high test positivity rate (15%) and rising mortality also contribute their share.

The quickest rise in cPDI the top ten this week, however, does not belong to Hungaria but to Bulgaria, which leaped 12 points in cPDI (67 to 79) and landed squarely in fifth place. Bulgaria has been experiencing a constant rise in incidence rates since mid-January, but in the past week it’s picked up speed, with reproduction rate rising to 1.27. The relatively high incidence and the high mortality rate result in a grim forecast from our expected mortality model – 56 deaths per day, i. e. 8 per day per million.

It might be also interesting to note that in the Latin American states on the top ten things are also getting worse – but not as fast: Peru gained only 1 point in cPDI (and fell from first to third place) while Brazil gained 3 points (and fell from 4th to 8th). With the situation starting to deteriorate at other Balkan states (such as Moldova and Serbia in 11th and 12th place), we might have to bid Brazil farewell next time.

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Top Ten Update (21.2.21): A Hungarian Leap

Welcome to our weekly Top Ten update, where we highlight the states most in danger from the pandemic right now. And while Peru retains the top spot for the 2nd week running, much of the rest of the top ten is made up of states in Eastern Europe. In fact, while the situation in the world in general keeps getting slowly better (world cPDI is down from 35 to 34, and the threshold for the top ten diminished from 67 to 66), danger level in Eastern Europe climbed from 55 to 58, led mostly by a big jump in Hungary (from 74 to 79, bringing it from 5th place to 3rd).

The Hungarian leap stems mostly from a new rise in new cases, leading to a reproduction rate of 1.22. This, together with an abysmal mortality rate (6.4%) and rising test positivity (up to 11.2%) makes Hungary a major contender for the top spot in coming weeks. With Stringency in Hungary unchanged for a pretty long time, this rise in new cases is most likely the result of the infectious British mutation taking hold.

Elsewhere in the top ten, Brazil switched with Mexico as the second country of concern (aside from Peru) in Latin America, as the reproduction rate in Mexico dropped to 0.83 yet stayed around 1 in Brazil. At the bottom of the to top ten, two new entries replaced their neighbors, with Estonia overtaking Latvia (the Latvians lost 4 cPDI points and fell to 16th place) and Bosnia and Herzegovina replacing North Macedonia (but the Macedonians are still not far away from the top ten, at #12).

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Top Ten Update (14.02.21): Peru on top

Welcome to our weekly Top Ten update, where we highlight the states most in danger from the pandemic right now. With pandemic numbers now receding in most of the world, the threshold for the top ten dropped from 69 to 67, but six of the former top ten states are still in danger this week, including our new #1 – Peru, where the index added five points to to rising incidence rates and a reproduction rate of 1.15. Two of the newcomers to the list are also Latin American countries which have been among the worst-hit so far – Brazil in 8th place and Mexico which climbed to 4th – but the rest of the list comes from Europe (mostly the Eastern and Balkan regions), including new additions Bulgaria and Northern Macdeonia.

Conspicuously absent from the Top Ten are the United States, which dropped from 10th to 15th place as its cPDI plunged from 69 to 63, as well as the larger European states – Spain at 63 (tied for 15th), Italy at 57 (24th place), Germany and France at 53 (34-35th place) and the UK at 50 (40th place). We’ll soon see if this improvement trend holds.

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Pandemonitor Top Ten Update (08.02.21)

So… we’re kicking off the new design (check it out if you haven’t already) with a new regular spot – the Pandemonitor Top Ten, a weekly glance at the ten states with the top (i. e. worse) cPDI scores, meaning the places that we think are most in danger tight now.

And today’s a good day as any to begin, with a change – after a few weeks in which Portugal was way at the top with a surprising post-Christmans outbreak, today’s top cPDI score goes to Slovakia, a state which has been hit hard in the fall/winter wave, but hadn’t really gotten the numbers down far enough before climbing back up. With an incidence rate of almost 250, reproduction rate over 1, 20% test positivity and an expected 15 deaths per million every day in the next ten days, Slovakia doesn’t seem to catch a break.

Slovakia is joined in the top ten by five other Eastern European countries, among them Hungary, Poland, Albania, Latvia and its neighbor, the Czech Republic, at second place. Latvia and Hungary are the most worrying among them as signs seem to show the pandemic gaining up speed there.

Two more European countries – Iberian neighbors Spain and Portugal – fill the 4th and 9th spots, but both seem to have “rounded the corner” and are at better place than they have been a week or two ago. Rounding up the top 10 are perennial corona-hotspot Peru, where high positivity rates and high mortality mean that any small rise in cases means a rise to the top of our scale, and the United States, where expected mortality remains high despite a recent decrease in new cases.

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Happy Holidays! (and some data analysis to boot)

As we wish our readers Merry Christmas and a happy 2021, we’d also like to note that the while holiday period might be festive, it’s also a bit problematic for us data collectors. Doctors’ offices close for the holidays, test centers reduce capacity and the system as a whole reports a smaller percentage of the new pandemic cases actually occurring in the population. This makes it hard to tell the signal from the noise, i.e. to decide whether a specific drop in case numbers is real, or is only an effect of the holiday season. This difference in interpretation could be critical in several European states, which are anxiously awaiting the results of newly-instated lockdowns and control measures.

To answer this question, we employed a comparative approach. To do so, we compared the weekly incidence rate [calculated in the Pandemonitor dashboard as the number of weekly cases per 100,000 inhabitants] on holiday week (the week ending on 31/12) and on the week before (the one ending on 23/12). We made the comparison for 44 predominantly Christian countries around the world (leaving out a few minor countries as well as place where data is suspect).

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The German wave (or: how I learned to trust the model)

In late October, as Europe experienced a relentless second wave of COVID-19 infections, nations responded with several versions of a partial or full lockdown. Unlike the first wave in March, European nations diverged in the severity of their reactions – from a full lockdown in the Czech Republic to a much more relaxed ‘partial lockdown’ in Germany. Within a few weeks it became apparent that these difference in policy also had different results: While most European nations reached a peak in the weekly incidence rate and than saw a significant decline, some – most notably Germany – only managed to reach a plateau, with new infections remaining on the same level, give or take, testifying to a reproduction rate of just about 1. This steady states lasted for almost a month, before infections suddenly picked up again in early December , prompting a relatively strict lockdown in Germany from the 16th.

While Germany was in this steady state, I expected Germany to remain at about the same cPDI (composite Pandemic Danger Index). This, however, was not the case: starting from mid-November, Germany’s cPDI rose steadily, climbing from a not-so-bad 50 on Nov 20th to the mid-60s in early December and up to an alarming 75 (on the verge of our top ten!) on Dec 19th. This result surprised, so I decided to dig a little deeper.

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Is Turkey toast?

For our first blog post, I’d like to address a curious situation that anyone following Pandemonitor might have noticed in the past few days – the astounding ascent of Turkey, from a cPDI of 50.4 (46th in the world) on Nov. 25th, to a score of 89 (and 1st place globally) on Dec. 1st, just six days later. To analyze what happened, I turned to Turkey’s page on the “single country” section of the dashboard, and realized immediately that the rise in cPDI is based on a sudden ‘jump’ in the incidence rate (weekly new cases per 100,000 people), which occurred on Nov 25th and caused the reproduction rate (R) to jump to levels that we haven’t seen since March (2.5 and up). Moreover, the test positivity rate jumped at the same point as well, hitting almost 20% by Dec. 3rd, and the mortality rate seemed off a well, reaching 3.6%.

Turkey’s stats from the 3rd of December 2020

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