2/1/21: Covid19 update: BRIICS

 In previous posts, I covered Covid-19 updates for the last week of 2020 for:

Cumulative data for BRIICS (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa) shows continued steady expansion of the pandemic in total cases and deaths:

  • Currently, BRIICS account for 28.2% of all cases of Covid-19 in the world, and 25.3% of all deaths. This compares to these countries accounting for 45.3% of the world population.
  • The pandemic has been relatively benign for this group of countries. If BRIICS were ranked as a stand-alone country within the group of 40 countries with more than 250,000 cases, BRIICS would have ranked 38th worst in terms of cases per 1 million of population, 37th worst in terms of deaths per capita, and 28th in terms of deaths per case. 
  • BRIICS data, however is highly heterogeneous by country: 
    • Brazil ranks 11th worst-hit country in the world in terms of infections rate, death rate per capita and mortality rate; 
    • Russia ranks 28th;
    • India ranks 38th;
    • Indonesia 31st;
    • China is unranked (officially, the country has fever than 250,000 cases, although overall robustness of the Chinese data is highly questionable); and
    • South Africa ranks 22nd worst.
  • No BRIICS country enters the league of 22 countries most-impacted by the pandemic (defined as countries with infection rate of 4% of population and higher).

Most current summary of key stats is below:

Now, to dynamics and trends.

BRIICS weekly case numbers are on the sustained rise, once again, since the trough achieved in week 45 which marked the end of the Wave 1 and the start of Wave 2 of the pandemic:

India and Brazil are showing robust and weakly-robust declines in weekly cases, while Russia and South Africa are showing robust increases. Other BRIICS are on a weak upward trend. Put frankly, my expectation is for a rise in India cases in weeks ahead as the new wave of the pandemic starts to take hold. Brazil being in a summer season is likely to have a longer lead time into the new wave.

Rather similar dynamics are taking place in deaths counts:

One key feature of the data is, of course, the clearly unreliable data from China that skews overall picture for the BRIICS group as a whole. If China's data was running at 0.75-0.9 of the average BRIICS rates, the country would have reported over 9.26 million cases (as opposed to the officially-reported 96,292 cases) and 183,400 deaths (compared to the officially-reported 4,771 deaths). It is worth noting here that these estimates reflect BRIICS rates that include official China statistics (downward bias to the estimates). What is quite amazing is not the actual numbers themselves, but the nearly total silence on the state of the Chinese statistics in much of the Western media, despite the order of differences between China and other BRIICS. Take a look at the comparative table here:

Russian stats: scrutinized left, right and center on every op-ed and news page of all major media outlets in the West are pretty much bank-on as expected: worse than average in infection rates, worse than average in deaths per capita, roughly (statistically) below average in terms of mortality rate. Similar for India. China's data is a complete and total outlier, and yet not a peep from the mainstream news.