Covid-19 Data Comparisons – Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland

Obviously Corona Virus is on everyone’s mind just now, as it is mine.  There are numbers everywhere, and to be honest, not many of them make much sense, and even worse for me as a Scot, the UK numbers make very little sense to me since we are a nation of 4 distinct countries.

I have looked all over, and some news outlets give charts for today, some for all time, some for UK rather than England, some for Scotland separate from the UK, and some for the UK, covering Scotland.  The distinction just isn’t there for the numbers and how they relate to the health management and population in each country.

We all know that Health is a devolved issue, and many of us know that per head of population, each country has varying degrees of health care availability.  With that in mind, I decided to spend a while, sourcing all the numbers (up to Noon today 25th March 2020) and extrapolate the below on a sperate basis for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

  • Confirmed Cases (Percentage of Population) since March 1st
  • Confirmed Deaths (Percentage of Population) since March 1st
  • Confirmed Deaths per Country since March 1st
  • Confirmed Cases per Country since March 1st
  • Mortaliity Rate per Country since March 1st
  • Percentage of Cases NOT Resulting in Death since March 1st (this chart must be taken with a very large pinch of salt, as i am not a statistician, it is calculated based on the difference between confirmed cases and deaths).

So lets look at them.

Confirmed Cases Per Country (NOT SCIENTIFIC)

Chart 3

As you can see, the lions share of cases are in England.  That is to be expected with the much larger population, and the density of that population, the numbers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are so small compared to the numbers in England, that they aren’t very legible in the above chart.  What is starling though is the rate of increase in England is massive compared to the more steady increase in the other 3 nations, but again, the chart above is basic numbers and not on a population basis, which is detailed further below.

Confirmed Deaths Per Country (NOT SCIENTIFIC)

Chart 2

As per the number of confirmed cases per country, the lions share of the deaths, so far, have been in England, with a very steep increase compared, at least on this graphic to the other 3 nations.  Again, likely due to population size and density.

Confirmed Cases Per Population (NOT SCIENTIFIC)

Chart 1

The chart above is a better representation of the first chart.  This gives us the number of confirmed cases based on a percentage of the population.  What struck me on this chart was that I was expecting England to have the largest population share of cases, but in fact they don’t, they are second to Wales, and the Welsh numbers are significantly higher than anyone else as a relative population share, and around the 20th March, they jumped when the numbers in England dropped slightly before increasing again.  The Scottish and Northern Irish numbers have increased steadily over the period.

Confirmed Deaths Per Population (NOT SCIENTIFIC)

Chart 5

Probably one of the most telling charts, and one which, in my opinion brings the management of each home nations strategy into sharp focus is how the chart related to confirmed deaths per population relates directly to the number of confirmed cases per population for each country.

As was mentioned above, Wales has the highest number of confirmed cases as a population share, with England second, however, the number of confirmed deaths in Wales is less than that in England as a population share, with all 4 nations numbers increasing around the 20th March, with particular focus on a very large increase in Wales.  Tellingly, around the 23rd March, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have had a slowing of confirmed deaths over the last 48 hours (todays numbers still to come out) where as in England that number sharply increased.

Mortality rates per Country (NOT SCIENTIFIC)

I guess the two following charts are the charts most likely to be on most peoples minds.  Particularly in regards to loved ones and their wellbeing, or potential wellbeing.

Chart 4

As you can see from the above chart, the mortality rate (based on confirmed cases versus confirmed deaths) for all 4 nations has been increasing, however, over the past 2 to 3 days, Scotland, Wales and Northern Irelands mortality rates have slowed and are sitting between 1.7% (NI) and 3.6% (WAL), with Scotland at around 2.8%.  The mortality rate in England appears to be sitting at around 5.6%, and that has increased from 1.5% on the 13th March.  The trend for England appears to be a fairly steep increase in mortality rates, which ties in with the confirmed deaths per country, but doesn’t really tie in with the confirmed cases.  My only logical opinion here is that the NHS in England is far more over stretched than it is in Wales who have a higher population share of confirmed cases, but a lower death rate, and for Scotland, both confirmed cases and death rates are lower than both Wales and England.  The numbers for Northern Ireland are difficult to look at with much substance as their first death didn’t occur until fairly recently.

Percentage of Confirmed Cases NOT Resulting In Death (NOT SCIENTIFIC)

Chart 6

The above chart isn’t startling when you look at all of the others above, however, what I will say is that the current rate of people confirmed to have Coronavirus results in around 94% survival (so far for England), 96% (so far for Wales), 97% (so far for Scotland) and 97.5% (so far for Northern Ireland).  Now these numbers don’t really relate to an awful lot just now because there are so many people still in recovery, however, if we don’t pay much attention to the actual numbers but rather, we look at the trend, what I can see is that the outbreak first started showing its head in England in terms of people needing treatment, then Scotland, then Wales then Northern Ireland, however, when the outbreak surfaced and treatment started in all 4 nations, the trend in England has been steadily declining in terms of the number of deaths versus survived confirmed cases, whilst in Scotland, the trend, albeit still declining, appears to be (at this stage anyway) slowing, as it does in Wales.  In Northern Ireland it was quite steep, but again their numbers are quite few just now.

I cannot sit here with any degree of certainty and say this is why, or that is why the numbers are so different, but what I can surmise internally is that all 4 nations NHS services are being managed differently, and the past 10 years of stripping those NHS services appears to be showing which nations are best placed (so far with dealing with this outbreak).  There are obviously population and societal dynamics to this, but some of the evidence I have seen online, with people still going to pubs, Tesco rammed out the door, London underground and the bare streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh, I cannot help but conclude that the major problem in the steep increase in cases and deaths in England is related mainly to the respective country populations disregarding the instruction to self isolate and respect the lockdown.

Time will tell how each country manages this, but I take a small amount of solace knowing that on the face of it, Scotland is performing pretty well based on the available data to date.  Still a long way to go, but so long as people stay locked down and only go out when absolutely necessary, we can reduce the impact and keep our numbers improving.

I will try and keep the numbers updated every couple of days.  As the situation is evolving quickly, the next set of numbers may completely contradict what I have written, or they will reinforce it – so I’ll repeat, I am NOT A STATISTICIAN, AND THESE NUMBERS ARE NOT BASED ON SCIENTIFIC FACT.