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New cases of COVID-19: Daily trends vary widely among the ten most populous U. S. states

UNITED STATES, May 5, 2020 - As some U. S. states creep out of lockdown in early May, the spread of COVID infection has leveled off in the nation as a whole, but the trend in new cases widely varies among the ten largest states (see accompanying infographic).

Of the ten states, New York shows the sharpest downturn in daily new cases, dropping from 11,571 on April 15 to 4,348 on May 3. Illinois shows one of the largest increases in new cases, rising from 1,346 on April 15 to 2,994 on May 3.

The ten most populous states have more than half of the nation’s 328 million population, but have had more than half of the nation’s 1,172,848 of new cases logged since the initial outbreak.

Daily new cases reported by states is a leading indicator of the spread of COVID infection, in contrast to daily deaths—while a human tragedy— is a trailing indicator of infections that occurred several days earlier.

The accompanying infographic shows trends in daily new cases in each state rise or fall in multi-day cycles, with successive cycles....Full article

Oxford study: Quick, stringent lockdown flattens curve sooner

OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM, April 21, 2020 - An ongoing study being performed by the University of Oxford shows that virus control measures such as stay-at-home orders significantly slow the spread of COVID-19 within about three weeks after significant implementation.

The study estimates the level of stringency of control measures (a stringency index level) in each country for each day throughout the time period extending from 50 days before the 100th case was recorded in a country, to the present day.

Graphs of six countries illustrate a correlation between virus cases and stringency of lockdown. Full article

“Leading indicator” shows U. S. may have reached COVID-19 plateau, like Italy and Spain

UNITED STATES, April 14, 2020 - Media reports commonly focus on the daily number of deaths caused by COVID-19 as an indicator of the virus’s spread through the population. The number of deaths each day—while tragic news—is only a “trailing indicator” of the virus’s spread. The number of deaths in a day is a product of the number of new cases reported days earlier—the “leading indicator” of the virus’s spread.

The accompanying graph shows the number of new cases in the United States may have leveled off around 30,000 new cases per day in early April (data are from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control). The graph uses as a starting day of the virus outbreak the first day that 300 daily new cases were exceeded in each country. Virus control measures such as social distancing appear to be working.  Full article

Graph - New Covid cases reach plateau


The “centers of gravity” for global economic activity and extreme poverty are swapping hemispheres

ASIA AND AFRICA, April 10, 2020 - Like two ships passing in the night, the “average” location of global economic activity has moved in recent years from the western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere, while the average location of extreme poverty in the world is moving from the eastern hemisphere to the western hemisphere.

These average locations of economic activity and extreme poverty have been referred to as the centers of gravity for these two metrics. (See accompanying map.)  Extreme poverty is considered to be a person living on less than $1.90 per day.  Full article

Map - Center of gravity migration paths


Save a hundred thousand dollars:  Take the Northern Sea Route

MURMANSK, RUSSIA - In the next few years the Arctic ice mass is expected to have melted back enough to allow large cargo ships to regularly pass through the Arctic Ocean.Polar Express container ship near Murmansk  This will give ships shorter routes from eastern Asia to the west coasts of Europe and North America.  Several thousand miles are saved by going through the Arctic instead of along the current southern routes through the Suez Canal or Panama Canal.  Two main Arctic shipping routes will be used — the Northern Sea Route that extends along the northern coast of Russia and the Northwest Passage located along the northern coast of Canada. Full article


Karkar belched out 9,000-meter high plume of ash above South Pacific

PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Apparently either Vulcan, the ancient Roman mythological god of volcanoes, or perhaps some other

Photo of plume over Karkar volcano

volcano spirit was busy in the South Pacific in late February 2013, when the Karkar volcano shot out a plume of ash to an altitude of 9,000 meters.  The volcano had spit out a 4,000-meter high plume a month earlier.   Full article