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This ain’t no normal flu – The Economist

Jason Norwood-Young
Jason Norwood-Young

I’m still having arguments with people who say that Covid-19 is just a normal flu, and in retrospect we’ll see that it caused no more deaths than one of the season’s regular strains. And if that were the case, what the hell are trashing the economy for?

The Economist’s Daily Chart answers this argument brilliantly, while addressing the other serious issue with Coronavirus death rates — massive under-reporting. People who don’t die in hospitals don’t get counted. Deaths that aren’t tested don’t get counted. People who have other conditions but can’t get the healthcare they’d normally receive don’t get counted.

By simply graphing all deaths, compared to the expected average, it’s pretty clear that this isn’t just another flu, and there’s a significant increase in deaths attributable to Coronavirus. (Yes, I know, correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it sure does it doesn’t not equal causation either.)

It’s behind a paywall, so if you can’t see it, here are some examples: Madrid should have had under 1,000 deaths per month, but it’s jumped to almost 4,000, of which almost 2,000 have not been attributed to Covid-19. Spain as a whole should have been sitting at around 7,000, but has jumped to over 15,000, of which about 11,000 are not blamed on the virus.

Source: The Economist Daily Chart

Jason Norwood-Young
  • Journalist, developer, community builder, newsletter creator and international man of mystery, Jason was one of the first South Africans to really grasp the importance of data in the newsroom and has remained one step ahead of the trends in the field all the way. Even Naked Data was conceived before email newsletters were cool again. But what does that tell you about the measure of the man? Nothing, that's what. He hides the superman CV behind a truly mild-mannered and overly modest persona and is best described as "one of the nicest guys in the business". When he's angry, it is righteously so, and his anger always wears velvet mittens. The true signs of his genius include the ability to create multilingual puns on demand (witness the alternative Naked Data strap "Putting the heita in to data") and the fact that he offered me a job. (AO)

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