Coronavirus Growth in Western Countries: April 9 Update

Here’s the coronavirus growth rate through April 9. There are no big changes since yesterday: Italy is declining, Germany is rising, and France is still noisy. So let’s take a close look once again at the United States, where the news seems to keep getting better every day. Here’s the day-to-day growth rate of coronavirus deaths (smoothed as usual by using a 6-day rolling average):

The growth rate of daily deaths is down to 10 percent and looks like it will be at zero by April 16. This means the average for the next week will be in the ballpark of 5 percent, and for the week after that it will be zero. If I plug in those growth rates starting today, I get this:

Every day, when I plug in the daily number, it’s less than I projected. So every day my projection goes down. It now suggests about 40,000 deaths at next week’s peak and about 80,000 deaths through summer. This is still a little higher than the IHME estimate, but not by much.

I’m not sure what accounts for this. My best guess is that our social distancing and other countermeasures have been much more effective than any of us guessed. Another possibility is that our health care system has saved more lives than most: our case fatality rate of 3.5 percent is one of the lowest among Western countries. In any case, it’s worth mentioning that if—if—this holds up, the US response to COVID-19 will not be one of the worst in the world. It will be one of the best.


How to read the charts: Let’s use France as an example. For them, Day 0 was March 5, when they surpassed one death per 10 million by recording their sixth death. They are currently at Day 35; total deaths are at 2,038x their initial level; and they have recorded a total of 182.5 deaths per million so far. As the chart shows, this is above where Italy was on their Day 35.

The raw data from Johns Hopkins is here.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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