| August 27, 2020
In this update, the monitor’s panic needle twerks higher as a second wave rolls in, news coverage of COVID falls to only 33%, and though cases in Spain surge they are accompanied by much lower fatalities.
As coronavirus cases start to rise around the world again, spreading fears of a second wave, our monitor’s Worldwide Panic Index, which measures levels of panic and hysteria in the media, peaked, hitting a 1-month high, on Sunday August 23.
From an individual country standpoint, Covid news about India, one of the nation’s worst hit by the disease, hit a 3-month high on Monday August 24, after concerns about an outbreak in the state of Gujarat, where 1,027 news cases and 13 fatalities were recorded, and the situation led a high court ruling that the response by the local authorities needed to be stepped up.
The fourth worst hit country by cases, Russia, also saw its Panic Index hit a 3-month high on August 24, due, in part to medical experts voicing concerns about the Sputnik-V vaccine, which they argued had been fast-tracked before adequate testing.
It is interesting to note that although Worldwide panic, and Panic in several large countries, is rising, the overall share of the media about Covid-19 is actually falling.
This is reflected in the Worldwide Media Hype Index, which measures the total share of the news talking about the novel coronavirus, and which hit a more than 4-month low of 33.33% on August 21. This compares with a reading of over 69% at its peak in March.
The obvious conclusion seems to be that the media is no longer as interested in covering Covid-19 as it used to be, probably due to coronavirus fatigue amongst other factors.
Spain has been badly mauled by a second wave of cases, seeing over 19,000 new cases on August 25 according to our Geo-Exposure table, which ranked it 3rd for new daily cases globally.
Yet at the same time the number of deaths has remained relatively low, with only 34 deaths on the same day, and Spain ranking 18th in the world for fatalities.
What could explain the relatively low death rate compared to cases?
According to Spanish broadsheet
, one explanation is that a lot more testing is being done compared to the first wave and this has lowered the death rate. In the first wave the percentage of cases leading to deaths was 9.07% (on June 21) whereas almost 2-months later it had fallen to 0.31%. Interestingly, this is not much higher than the death rate for the common cold, which the WHO
to be 0.1%.
A second explanation for the fall in deaths is that the average age of new cases is much lower than before, at 30-39, compared to 50-59 for the first outbreak, and the young are much less likely to die from the virus.
A third reason given is that the healthcare system is not as overloaded as it was during the first outbreak when some sufferers died because they failed to get adequate treatment, as hospitals in some regions such as Madrid, were inundated leading to a lack of available beds.
The lower fatality rate in Spain is reflected in the overall mortality rate from all causes for the country as a whole, which, according to the Carlos III institute, has fallen below the seasonal average since the second week in May, when the authorities began to relax lockdown measures.
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