Alistair Haimes: The virus that turned up late

“There are really only two particularly unusual things about the Covid-19 epidemic: the timing of its arrival and the lockdown some countries declared.”

Deaths per day, as is well-reported, peaked around Easter; and because deaths lag infections by something around three weeks, this implies that infections peaked sometime in mid-March. If you add up all the bars in the chart and fill in the blank area of deaths still to come, we are looking at a killer that, in scale, is bad-but-nothing-special compared to killers of previous years. Panning out: as a killer worldwide, it looks as though Covid is going to take a toll perhaps 1% of 1918’s Spanish Flu.

…the dark blue line is 2019-20, with Covid-19; the turquoise and red lines are the bad flu years of 1998-99 and 1999-2000.

…Covid-19 is narrowly in third place as a killer to remember, behind the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 influenzas (2017-18’s ‘Beast from the East’, the green line, doesn’t place), a point also made by American statistician William Briggs.