Before the first case in Saxony-Anhalt was reported, there was an awareness about the novel Coronavirus in Germany. The first case of a covid19 patient in Germany was reported on February 15, 2020. Since then, as of today, there are over 22,300 cases of covid19 infections in Germany, causing over 80 deaths. Updated: 21.03.2020
The first case of the novel coronavirus (covid19) was recorded in Saxony Anhalt on March 10, 2020. Since then, the number of cases has increased to over 250. The local state government has taken preemptive policy measures like closing the university, the non-essential shops, etc. Updated: 21.03.2020Update: 24.04.2020 The number of cases in Saxony-Anhalt stands at 1440 (23.04.2020). The state is preparing to get back to normalcy. Masks are mandatory for people who are going out. Shops smaller than 800 sq.mt to open by the next week. It’s a lovely spring and on ground, people are already out but maintaining social / physical distancing.
The objective of this blog post is to explore the spread of covid19 patients detected in Saxony-Anhalt, with reference to the rest of Germany. There would be a little emphasis on cases in Magdeburg.
Saxony-Anhalt might be a good case to explore because of the following reasons:
- It is the last state to record a covid19 virus-infected patient.
- Before the first case in the state was recorded, there was enough awareness about WHO guidelines which includes “social isolation”.
- The story is still developing and can be analyzed on the go.
- I live in Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt.
We have a set of basic assumptions as we attempt to explore this:
- People with symptoms are tested at the clinics.
- The data is representative of reality.
- There were reports in the German media mentioning Coronavirus, symptoms of the infection, preventive measures as prescribed by the World Health Organisation, social isolation by the time the first case of Coronavirus was detected in Saxony-Anhalt.
Growth of Covid19 infected cases:
When we observe Graph 1, we see there is a slight deflection from the exponential curve. However, it might be naive to assume that it is slowing down right now.
We see the growth of the number of covid19 infected patients in Germany (country) and Saxony-Anhalt (state) in Graph 1 and Graph 2. Let’s see how quickly the numbers grew.
Information: As I publish this post on 21.03.2020, the number of cases in Saxony Anhalt did not reach 300.
We observe that at first, the covid19 cases were growing faster in the rest of Germany as compared to its growth in Saxony-Anhalt. This slow down could be attributed to any one or more than one of the following hypothesizes:
- Festivals like the Cologne carnival may have helped spike the growth of the covid19 cases in the rest of Germany. [Reuters news link]
- The population density in Nordrhein-Westfalen and other severely affected states is higher than Saxony-Anhalt, with major cities. They also border other countries. [Check Table 1]
- By the time the first case of Covid19 was recorded in Saxony-Anhalt, there was enough awareness of preventive measures. The local government thus could make the required policies swiftly.
Quick Question: Is there a direct correlation between the spread of the covid19 affected cases and the population density of a state?
Intuitively the answer is yes! Because, the closer the people are together, the more are the chances of contamination. Population density is higher in cities and areas around the big cities. The data in Table 1 support the intuition. To gauge the spread, we are taking the number of cases per 1000 people living in that area.
The values towards the higher end are given some red shade. The values towards the lower end are given some share of blue to easily notice. Why Saxony, Bavaria is not following the trend is out of the scope of this discussion. Updated: 21.03.2020
Coming back, the amount of data observations for Graph 3 is just too few. Although it is expected to be exponential growth, we might want to predict it using a straight line. It does not make sense and it’s okay to be proven wrong later.
New Covid19 infected cases per day
The graphs are incomparable and that’s for later. For now, let’s explore something called the Growth Factor. The Growth Factor is representative of how soon we can expect a slowdown in the rise of the curve. At an inflection point, the growth rate is constant at 1.
This Growth Factor should be consistent at 1 for sometime before minimizing to 0 (a completely flattened curve). For Saxony-Anhalt, and the city of Magdeburg, we have too few data points. But this would be an interesting thing to notice in the future.
Predicting the next values!
One interesting aspect of the growth factor is this: the values follow a straight line before the curve finally flattens. I had previously observed this trend in the Saxony-Anhalt Data and made a prediction publicly here.Update: 24.04.2020 Graph 12 removed. Graph 13 added.
While it is too early to comment on too few data points, it would be interesting to see if the curve flattens for Saxony-Anhalt.24.04.2020: While the graph for Germany is flattening, I am not sure if I would like to make a similar statement for the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The numbers are comparatively lower but we should be cautious as the normal life resumes. [To be continued.]