COVID-19 Update: Latitude Effects – Comparison of Deaths and Rates by Latitude

Cases per 1000 (light blue) and Deaths per 1000 (salmon) by Latitude Range – 4/28/2020

Notice in the above, it’s barely perceptible, but the latitude effect is still holding regarding latitudes 40-50 which have greater numbers of cases per 1000 and deaths per 1000 than any other latitude range. This has been the case for a while, but the other latitude ranges north of 30 have been catching up for a while. Now take a look at the same graph when we look at the hot spots, i.e., areas that have the highest rates of growth of cases per 1000 and deaths per 1000. It looks a bit different.

Rates of Growth of Cases per 1000 (green) and Deaths per 1000 (orange) by Latitude Range – 4/28/2020

Now you can see one thing that has been obvious to observers, the growth rates in the range from 40-50 N. Latitude which had been hit so hard up until now are clearly slowing. The hottest spot for death rates per 1000 right now is the range from 60-70 N. Latitude. This is largely due to large numbers of deaths in Sweden’s elder care homes. Also node that Latitudes 10-20 S. Latitude are the hottest spot in the Southern Hemisphere. This is almost exclusively due to Brazil. South Latitudes 20-30 barely even show up, which is interesting. These are countries primarily in Southern Africa and the southern-most part of South America like Paraguay, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. They have reported about 20 deaths due to COVID-19 across this whole band. Perhaps this is because there are reasons that COVID-19 isn’t a threat in that region, perhaps it’s because they get lesser world travel, or maybe they have it but haven’t noticed?

Finally, you’ll note that 40-50 degrees S. Latitude is actually showing up as negative. This implies the rate of growth is negative overall, which doesn’t really make sense. See what this looks like below. The negative slope is inaccurate because it has to do with the third order polynomial fit overshooting a bit. But as you can see, case growth is essentially zero in New Zealand. It’s a story of aggressive testing and data collection, honest communications, and attention to detail. See how New Zealand and Australia have fought the virus despite two very different governing styles.

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