Almost as soon as you look at the latest UK figures on cases of Coronavirus, the numbers shift again. On Friday the centralised UK figures put the figure for Wales at 4,591, almost twice what they were a week earlier. But according to Dr. Robin Howe of Public Health Wales “the true number of cases is likely to be higher”.
Any comparison between the UK nations is only as good as the counting methods in each country. Since some infected people are asymptomatic the only way to get a real number is to test people, which means higher numbers of cases may simply reflect higher levels of testing. But such as the figures are delivered by the UK government, Wales has the worst rate of cases per million people.
Wales Online noticed this trend more than two weeks ago, pointing out that south-east Wales was the worst area outside London. A few days later they ran through various hypotheses including: natural clustering, the M4, proximity to England, a rugby match played against an Italian team in Newport in early March or perhaps simply higher levels of testing.
On Friday afternoon Howe confirmed the death toll in Wales as 315, warning people not to go out over the Easter weekend, “Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now circulating in every part of Wales. The single most important action we can all take in fighting Coronavirus is to stay at home”.
The github repository with the data files and python notebook is here.