Population density once again invoked. Data say 'No'.

On Twitter recently, I see with increasing frequency once again, Population Density (persons/ Km²) invoked as the cause of increased cases or increased deaths due to COVID-19 infecting a country. Or sometimes, a part of a country. 


That might take the form of "More cases and deaths in Flanders (or Brussels) due to an elevated Population density."


So let's see what we can find in Germany.

Why Germany? 

Well they seem to have a pretty good outcome at this time (May 27, 2020) from the infestation of that country by SARS-CoV-2. So with such clear and positive and complete data, it should be easy to identify that Population Density effect.


Here is a summary panel (click to enlarge)


16 Regions in Germany, All Data


16 regions in Germany :

      • accounting for 98.99% of the total population
      • 179 365 COVID-19 cases, a median of 5152.5 cases per region
      • an enviable death rate (CFR) of 4.333±0.9756%, median 4.62% and a variance of only 0.010%
      • 90.206±2.4966% of these cases have now Recovered.
      • leaving only 5.461±2.5950% Actively ill.
      • the mean population of these 16 regions is 5 185 340,13±4 938 927,85 and a median of 3 270 769, with a mean population density of 709.26±1 1 11.90 persons per km². Amedian of 213.05 persons per km² and a large variance of 1 318 732.73 persons per km². With such a large variation in the population density, if cases and/ or deaths from COVID-19 are impacted by population density, this is a good sample to study to find such effects if they exist.


Data by Region


Region in Germany, Cases and Deaths


We add the Population Density


Region in Germany, Cases and Deaths, Pep density - 27 May


How do these look, sorted?

by Population density, since that is the hypothesis ...



Sorted by Population Density - 16 German regions - May 27, 2020



by Cases of COVID-19


Sorted by Cases COVID-19 per million - 16 German regions - May 27, 2020


If you see a link between cases and deaths, that makes sense since in this sample, 4.33±0.98% perish.

But is the population density value tracking right along? i think not.



Sorted, by Deaths from COVID-19



Sorted by Deaths from  COVID-19 per million - 16 German regions - May 27, 2020

Cases fit right along, but not that Population density column.


And since we used the word "fit."

How strong a correlation is there between the Population density as determining factor, and the Cases found? Clearly, if people are milling about, one squeezed against another, there just must be more Cases found. Right?

It seems like such a charmingly logical idea...


Population Density and Cases per million in Germany - 27 May, 2020


Well not.

A linear correlation coefficient of R² = 0.0512 is pretty darn weak. 

Translation: Increased population density does NOT associate with increased COVID-19 case load.



How about for deaths?

If some of these regions do not have enough hospital resources to treat the very sick in a high population density region, there just have to be more deaths. No doubt about it.


Population Density and Deaths per million in Germany - 27 May, 2020


Well not


There is great doubt. In fact, an R² value of 0.000151 says: "Please just forget about that hypothesis. It doesn't even merit the name, hypothesis."

That movie image of people packed in like rats in a medieval city, and someone screaming "Bring out your dead!" as he passes. Well if it fit in the 14th century (and others) for bubonic plague, it does not fit for COVID-19. 


Et point à la ligne, c'est tout. C'est la fin. 

Here are the population density data for Belgium, but please, don't even get me started...


Belgium - Population density






I'm sure that even these fairly strong data will not keep someone on Twitter from Tweeting today:


"Well yes. Of course. 

You see, that region of France has a #much greater population density." Or the equivalent.




Yesterday's results in Belgium, 26 May, 2020 >>>>


May 27th : results pending >>>>



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We now have the proof, that they just weren't listening, right from the start.

Listen to this then ask yourself : 


How has my country done in implementing the essential?


Who is winning so far? The partisanship, or the virus?


And who will win in the end?


Have a look at this link ... (remember to turn on the sound)


I suggest looking at it in full screen mode.


As this video progresses, notice the dates of each announcement.


Today, we are May 11, 2020.



Then think about it.




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Sweden is not a great model of success on May 2, 2020

A few quick summary observations 

... comparisons with the 25 other countries that we have been following.


Sweden's current claims and approach, and what the numbers tell us.


#11 in prevalence of these 26 countries.


Sweden - Prevalence - 2 May




Sweden's Case Fatality Ratio 

Belgium is 2.5 times more troubled by Deaths, but Sweden is still among the heavy hitters.


Sweden - CFR - 2 May



How many COVID-19 cases in Sweden have recovered?


Ans.: Not many. #24 from the top on our list.


Sweden - Recovered per day of infection - May 2



More testing seems to bring better results.

Now many tests are done in Sweden, to find that next Confirmed Case?


Ans. : Not many. Or not enough.

#23 on our list.


Sweden - 2 May, 2020 - Tests per confirmed case



So is the Swedish model the answer?


We think not.


On the graphic below, one column, one country.


In red : those still actively ill.

In blue : death rates

In green : COVID-19 cases who have recovered.


The goal of course, is to turn the whole graphic green with healed patients.


So how green is Sweden?

Ans: Not very.


Of their 21520 confirmed cases, 1005 recovered. That's 4.67%


We'll look elsewhere for our model country.


Sweden A-D-R - May 2


From Wikipedia

"Sweden has, unlike many other countries, not imposed any lockdown, with most measures being voluntary. The Swedish constitution prohibits ministerial rule and mandates that the relevant government body, in this case an expert agency — the Public Health Agency — must initiate all actions to prevent the virus in accordance with Swedish law, rendering state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell a central figure in the crisis. The government can follow agency recommendations, as it has with legislation limiting freedom of assembly, temporarily banning gatherings of over 50 individuals, banning people from visiting nursing homes, as well as physically closing secondary schools and universities. Primary schools have remained open, in part to avoid healthcare workers staying home with their children.


The Public Health Agency and government issued recommendations to: if possible, work from home; avoid unnecessary travel within the country; to engage in social distancing; and for people above 70 to stay at home, as much as possible. Those with even minimal symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19 are recommended to stay home. The 'karensdag' or initial day without paid sick-leave has been removed by the government and the length of time one can stay home with pay without a doctor's note has been raised from 7 to 21 days."



"Sweden's pandemic strategy has been described as trusting the public to act responsibly: instead of wide-ranging bans and restrictions, authorities have advised people to maintain good hand hygienework from home if possible and practice social distancing, while those over 70 have been urged to self-isolate as a precaution.[21]


Despite scepticism and criticism from a number of doctors and medical experts, as well as international news media, Sweden has defended its strategy, with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven referring to "common sense" and Tegnell saying that the strategy is rooted in a "long tradition" of respecting "free will", as well as the high level of trust and respect Swedes have for public authorities.[16] According to a survey conducted by Sifo, the population's confidence in the Public Health Agency increased from 65 percent to 74 percent between 9–12 March and 21–25 March.[22] A March 2020 survey, carried out by the same company for TV4, showed more than half (53%) of the Swedish population had trust in Tegnell, a higher number than for any of the current leaders of the Swedish political parties, while 18% said they didn't trust the state epidemiologist.[23]

The strategy was commonly attributed to Tegnell,[20] who was quoted as saying:[16]


We have so far not had very much of a spread [of the virus] into elderly homes and almost no spread into the hospitals, which is very important... We know that [with] these kinds of voluntary measures that we put in place in Sweden, we can basically go on with them for months and years if necessary. [The economy] has the potential to start moving as usual very, very quickly once these things are over.







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Les réssuscités

(Ceci en français plus bas sur cette même page).


E : 


Today's report of deaths, and the values in the Sciensano spreadsheet didn't fit so well.

After adding the new mortality events day by day, I was left with 7341 deaths, and their count was 7331.


Suddenly, on certain past days, the number of deceased was now less. And not always in the same of the three Regions of Belgium.


I refer to these as the resuscitated.

Take a look below.


On the right, surrounded by a gray border, yesterday's values.

On the left, today's updated values.

So on 10 days, the number deceased was reduced by 1. = 10 resuscitated.

Or if not resuscitated, where did they go?

Were they removed completely from the list of deceased?

Were they moved elsewhere?


Each day, death events get added to prior days. Not just in the past few days. But often as long ago as the start of March. That represents receipt of late death reports, I assume.


I have a harder time being clear on the removal of a decedent from an already published specific day of death.


What do the predictive models do about those who have died on a specific day, and now disappeared?


Let's ask the experts...


Les réssuscités - 28 avril




F : 


Le rapport d'aujourd'hui sur les décès et les valeurs dans la feuille de calcul Sciensano ne correspondaient pas si bien.

Après avoir ajouté les nouveaux événements de mortalité jour après jour, il me restait 7341 décès, et leur chiffre était 7331.


Du coup, certains jours, le nombre de morts est désormais moindre.

Et pas toujours dans la même des trois régions de Belgique.


Je les appelle les ressuscités.


Jetez un œil ci-dessus sur ce petit graphique.


A droite, entouré d'une bordure grise, les valeurs d'hier.

À gauche, les valeurs actualisées d'aujourd'hui.

Donc sur 10 de ces jours, le nombre de morts est réduit de 1. = 10 réssuscités.

Ou s'ils ne sont pas réssuscités, où sont-ils allés?

Ont-ils été complètement retirés de la liste des défunts?

Ont-ils été déplacés ailleurs?


Chaque jour, les événements de décès s'ajoutent aux jours précédents. Pas seulement les derniers jours. Mais souvent aussi loin que début mars. Cela représente la réception de rapports de décès tardif, je suppose.


J'ai plus de mal à être clair sur le retrait d'un défunt d'un jour de décès spécifique déjà publié.


Que font les modèles prédictifs de ceux qui sont décédés un jour spécifique et qui ont maintenant disparu?


Demandons aux experts ...






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Prefer to get sick the weekend, or during the week?

E : Just an image or two on Testing for SARS-CoV2 in Belgium.

Comments limited.


F : Juste une image ou deux sur le Testing pour SARS-CoV-2 en Belgique.

Commentaires limités.



Total des Tests en Belgique - signalé le 22 avril


Testing in Belgium during Week & Weekend - April 22, 2020 - CoronaStavelot

E : I think that pretty much explains, this rather bizarre reported outcome ...

Maybe get out your calendar to check our hypothesis. Gee. What day was April 5, 2020?

How about 21 March? Or 19 April ?


F : Je pense que cela explique à peu près ce résultat rapporté plutôt bizarre ...

Sortez peut-être votre calendrier pour vérifier notre hypothèse. Bon sang. Quel jour était le 5 avril 2020?

Et le 21 mars? Ou le 19 avril?


Cas confirmés par région -  avril 2020


Now lets match that to when people die of COVID-19 in Belgium

E : Is it possible that deaths do not occur equally on each day of the week?

Large differences would have already been noticed. But what about small differences?


Un lien avec la mortalité de COVID-19 en Belgique?


F :Est-il possible que les décès ne se produisent pas également chaque jour de la semaine?

De grandes différences auraient déjà été constatées. Mais qu'en est-il des petites différences?



Lundi, plus de décès - Décès par Jour de Semaine - 22 avril

E : The day with most deaths, for both men and women, is Monday. (6,262 deaths total, summarized 22 April).


F :  Le jour avec le plus de décès, hommes et femmes, est lundi. (6 262 décès au total, résumé le 22 avril).


Hypothesis/ Hypothèse

E : There are fewer tests done on the weekend. So those who present with COVID-19 at the start of the week, are already more severely ill, and will have a higher death rate due to delay of diagnosis and slower initiation of supportive therapy.


F : Il y a moins de tests effectués le week-end. Ainsi, ceux qui présentent, malade de COVID-19 au début de la semaine sont déjà plus gravement malades et auront un taux de mortalité plus élevé en raison du retard du diagnostic et du démarrage plus lent des traitements de soutien.




E : Let's just close the labs on the weekends. Who gets sick on a weekend?


Que diable se passe-t-il?

F : Fermons les laboratoires le week-end. Qui tombe malade un week-end?

Les week-ends sont pour s'amuser. Pas pour tomber malade.




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