WHO has a site with great visuals showing COVID-19 cases. News of the virus is a bit of a sport. I’ll check everyday in anticipation of seeing the result. Like the stock market. When I look at these numbers, it seems like they’re more representative than concrete. These are cases that are reported to WHO. That data needs to be fed from other sources. And those other sources typically rely on positive test results.
To get positive test results, there needs to be a test. And that doesn’t happen evenly. South Korea leads the way in testing, which might mean cases are overrepresented compared to elsewhere, like the US. You might read a huge spike and think that it’s the result of a cluster of cases being detected, when it’s really just a result of a cases being reported at a different interval. Or there are different methodologies.
Going to first principles, it’s likely that there are many more cases of the virus than are reported. People get sick, then think it’s a regular flu or allergies or they don’t exhibit any symptoms. Or, they don’t seek medical attention because the symptoms are not severe. Or if they do, they’re misdiagnosed or not tested. Many boxes need to be checked (beyond the person having the virus) for a case to be counted and considered a “confirmed case”.
I’m hopefully within 10 years there might be cell phone sized kits that can do an analysis on anyone instantly to see what conditions they have. Maybe that was the dream of Theranos.