COVID-19 Update: More on the Impact of Latitude

Still wondering if the Latitude effect on COVID-19 is real or just coincidental. I have shown the below chart a few times. In it, you can see that over 90% of the world’s cases have occurred in the band between 30 and 60 N. Latitude.

I have noticed, however, another effect that is interesting. The cases in the more Northern region of this band (between 50 and 60 N. Latitude) seem to have similar numbers of cases, but with far fewer deaths. I looked through the data and built tables and charts to see if this observation was true. Below, you can see a simple bar chart with these results. All the numbers are normalized by 1000 population, which takes into account the fact that the population in the range from 30 to 40 degrees N. Latitude is just over 3x larger than the population in the range from 40 to 50 degrees. Therefore, this chart shows us that per 1000 people, the number of cases in both of these ranges is nearly equal (about .23 cases per 1000 people). HOWEVER, the normalized death rate in 30 to 40 is 3x larger than it is in 40 to 50 (or any other 10 degree range of latitudes for that matter). See the bar chart below and the table in the next block down if you prefer looking at numbers. I think these numbers tell us that — for now at least — this trend is real.

Why might this effect exist? It could be just coincidence… large numbers of countries with aged populations between 30 and 40 N. Latitude? Other factors that amplify the outbreak? Societal factors in the Northern latitudes that enable better social distancing? I have no idea, but am very interested to see if this trend holds.

2 Replies to “COVID-19 Update: More on the Impact of Latitude”

    1. Michael, agree. Still looking to find that kind of data. Latitude effect is still holding up. Partially correlated with temperature, but there are effects yet to tease out.

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