10 July What about central Europe?

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 19:05

Dear colleagues,

I made a Table comparing the present epidemiological situation in 4 selected Western (BE, S, ES, IT) and Central (CZ- SLO- HU_PL) European countries.  As you can see, the number of cases in the 4 central European countries is between 339 to 1200 per million (pM) and the number of deaths 5 to 61 pM in Central Europe versus  4,000-7,359 pM cases and 545-844 pM deaths in West-Europe.   These log10 differences can certainly not be explained by the number of test pM, which is only slightly (factor 2) less in Central Europe.

I was triggered by a short news item yesterday, showing that face masking was adopted very early on in SLO and apparently also in CZ (see also first paper).  But it is hard to believe that this was the whole story. 

Another element was the very preliminary date from Joris Delanghe in Clin Chim Acta, showing a relationship between a deletion/insertion polymorphism in the ACE-1 (hence NOT ACE-2) gene, with a West-East gradient (see paper 2, I sent already before).  Interesting, but to be confirmed….

Next, I found this review by Wyper et al on population vulnerability to COVID-19 in Europe, based on age structure and predisposing comorbidities. The data are nicely summarized in Fig 1 on p. 6.  As can be seen, Slovakia has a favorable position, but Czechia and Hungary certainly not (as compared to Belgium France, IT, ES…)

But then I found two interesting papers on timelines in Poland and Hungary.  In “Public Health Intervention in Poland”, combined reading of Table 1 and Fig 1 on p.4-5 tells me that a “lockdown” was implemented on March 24, when the number of cases was 901 (on a population of 38 million).  Similarly, in Table 8 (p.25) of the complicated epidemiological study on Hungary in Viruses shows that the lockdown was installed on March 28,  when there were 408 cases on a population of 9.7 million.  Compare this to Belgium (11.7 million): the lockdown became already effective on March 18, but at that day, we had 3092 cases !!! See https://epistat.wiv-isp.be/covid/covid-19.html

Going back to Slovakia (5.5 million), according to https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/06/slovakia-coronavirus-pandemic-public-trust-media/  it went in lockdown on March 16, when 72 cases were confirmed.  The Czech republic (10.7 million) was just one day earlier (March 15) https://www.praguemorning.cz/official-czech-republic-is-under-quarantine/, when they had 393 cases. 

What would have been the situation today in Belgium, if we had gone into lockdown for example on March 6th with 310 cases?  Clearly, I’m not a sophisticated statistician-epidemiologist, but my guess is that we would have 5 times less cases (12 iso 60 K) and deaths (2 iso 10 K)  today…..

Best wishes,