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Did we just see the inflection point of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak in Hubei?
Hoping for good news
As of the 17th 2019-nCoV Report on February 6 from the World Health Organization, the data shows that 99% of all confirmed Wuhan Coronavirus cases worldwide are within China. But really, the outbreak is centered primarily in Hubei, where a whopping 70% of all cases are currently located.
Because of this concentration then, it makes sense to watch underlying Hubei data closely for potential indications of where the overall outbreak might be heading:
If you look at the bar chart for the number of new infections each day, we saw the first nominal decrease in infections since the beginning of the outbreak. I thought that could potentially be a data anomaly for reporting but the latest numbers from BNO News point to a continuation of that downtrend.
This is a significant development because the general behavior for a disease outbreak is for the shape of new daily infections to approximate a trend that looks somewhat similar to a bell curve. If we see a downtrend here, that could be an indication that the worst of the spread is over in Hubei.
On the other hand, this doesn’t guarantee we are out of the woods. Some outbreaks have multiple waves of infection, so there are multiple bell-shaped curves over time. This could just be a temporary break. Additionally, we can’t count out the other 30% of cases that are happening in China and the rest of the world. A slow simmer elsewhere could explode just as the infection did in Hubei. Or, maybe this is just a data error due to reporting issues or lack of testing availability.
Obviously, we cannot say for certain that this thing is over. What we can say though, is that, if it were the beginning of the end, this is behavior we would expect to see - the start of a long taper.
Also of note is the line in the chart for the overall percentage growth for total infections per day. This gives us another look at the behavior for total infections. We can also see the downtrend in the significant slope decrease for the trend in the last few days. That’s for sure the direction we would hope growth would be moving if we want this thing to end within some reasonable time frame so that overall fallout is mitigated.
As always, I will continue to look for material developments in the data and give updates as new insights come to light.
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