Tracking Coronavirus at a subnational level

Published: 03/10/2020


The SARS-COV-2 virus has affected billions of people globally either directly, through testing, quarantining, cancelled meetings and conferences, production and supply difficulties and a run on various products. The economic effects of the event will likely be above $1 trillion given the large economic implications in China, USA, and production activity globally.

It is important however to look at the scale of the outbreak and the number of affected countries. As of today (March 10, 2020), 106 countries had at least 1 infection with China, Iran, Italy and Korea being those most affected. With over 4000 dead, the absolute death toll is worse than the 2012 MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) with 912 deaths (at 37% lethality) and the 2002-2003 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) with 774 deaths (at 9.6% lethality). However, SARS-COV-2 (coronavirus) currently has a lethality in the order of 2% once detected, however this will likely decrease once more mild detections are now being found. 116,000 infections have been found globally, with 65,000 of these having already recovered.

What is interesting however is that 550+ provinces have been affected. Of these only three have over 0.1% (1 in 1000 people) of the population infected (Daegu in Korea, San Marino and Vatican City). The provinces differ markedly however with some of the worst affected also having very large populations. The data has been sourced from only official websites of public health ministries, subnational government entities, centers for disease outbreak prevention and national government ministries.

It is important to note that of these, only 1 of these provinces is in China, with Korea, Spain, Iceland, Italy and Iran having the highest percentages. In Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany for instance, although 545 infections have been seen, this over a population of over 18 million, translates to roughly only 1 person in every 30,000 being infected.

At a municipality (or Level 2 administrative) level, these infected percentages increase significantly depending on the scale examined. An example for Germany is shown below, where we see 4 Landkreise (Districts) with over 1 in 10000 people infected. Kreis Heinsberg in Germany has 12.7 people per 10,000 infected (0.127%) - enough to put it in the top 3 on a province level. As an example from Italy, the province of Lodi with over 900 cases in Italy, has a higher percentage of the population infected than Daegu on the state level (0.47%). This details the importance of scale, but also likely the need for better definition of locations for travel advisories as well as alert systems across the globe to be able to reduce the spread.

Initially published on www.risklayer.com

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The SARS-COV-2 virus has affected billions of people globally either directly, through testing, quarantining, cancelled meetings and conferences, production and supply difficulties and a run on various products. The economic effects of the event will likely be above $1 trillion given the large economic implications in China, USA, and production activity globally.