To get an idea of when the lockdown in Italy (and the rest of the world) might end, it might be worth considering the following.
The problem is that so many patients need intensive care that the hospitals get overwhelmed and have to prioritize.
As a result, many old people (and young) that otherwise could have been saved, dies.
Reports from Italy, states that in many places people over 60 will not get the help they need.
This is one reason for the enormous death rates – currently 17.5% in the worst affected area – Lombardy.
The situation in Italy differs from province to province.
In Lombardy there are now 26,189 active cases.
This is far more than the system can handle.
Estimates are that Lombardy can have around 10,000 active cases to be able to treat them all.
So, when will the lockdown end?
Needless to say, the active cases need to come down to a level the hospitals can cope with.
If 10,000 is the number of cases they can cope with, we need to see the number of active cases some distance below that, before loosening the lockdown.
The number of active cases in Lombardy still goes the wrong way. Even if only 313 was added last night, it is still the wrong direction.
This need to be turned so the number of active cases start to go down.
Maybe the lockdown has to be even tighter to turn the curve downwards.
However, going down is not enough to end the lockdown.
The cases need to come down to a level that the hospitals can cope with.
If we could stop the upward trend today and lower the number of cases with 300 cases per day, it would take 54 days to get it down from 26,189 to 10,000 – meaning that if we want to save as many lives as possible, this lockdown is nowhere near to end.
Then is the question of how the number of cases reacts when loosening the lockdown, so it should be done slowly, to be able to tightened it again if or when it starts to go to wrong way again.
Even if Lombardy could be close to the point where the curve starts to go down, other parts of Italy is not so close.
In Lombardy the increase last night of 313 cases, is an increase of 1.2%
Note that the increase in cases are much higher. Lombardy had an increase in cases of 1455 = 3.2%
However, 791 got well and 351 died ☹ meaning that the number of active cases increased with 1455 minus 791 minus 351 = 313
Many other places in Italy are not at a point where the curve of active cases is even close to go down.
Last night they had an increase as follows:
- Emilia Romagna 2.7%
- Veneto 3.3%
- Piemonte 3.8%
- Toscana 1.2%
- Marche 2.1%
- Liguria 3.2%
- Lazio 4.5%
- Campania 9.9%
- Trento 4.5%
- Puglia 4.6%
- Friuli V.G. 2.3%
- Sicilia 3.6%
- Abruzzo 4.0%
- Bolzano 4.2%
- Umbria 4.0%
- Sardegna 3.6%
- Calabria 5.6%
- Valle d’Aosta 0.7%
- Basilicata 6.0%
- Molise 8.3%
But these numbers are even worse than they look.
To do the math – let’s think that you have 100 beds in a hospital with 100 patients.
8 get well and 2 die, so you now have 90 beds. Problem is that you get 20 new patients, so now you have 110 patients for your 100 beds = 10 that you cannot give the help they need.
Continuing like this, day by day, using the Lombardy’s numbers, after a while you have 262 patients for your 100 beds, meaning that many dies that otherwise could be saved, and the death rate is much higher than when you had only 100 patients.
And of course, every small increase to 264 or 265 patients, just makes it worse.
Now with a 1.2% increase in Lombardy, they hopefully are quite close to getting to the point where the curve goes downwards.
However, too many people die, – death rate is a terrible 17.5%.
If the death rate was lower, so that less people died, then the increase in patients would be much higher than 1.2%
As such the 1.2% rate is artificially low.
When the number of cases goes down, so when Lombardy after a while is down to 15,000 patients – and the system is less overloaded, then less people should die.
That is a good thing.
And as less people die, as they can get proper care, then the number of new infections have to fall even more to decrease the number of patients.
This makes it harder to get the number of patients down when we come to the point where they can get proper care, meaning that the decrease in patients will go slower when it approaches the point hospitals can cope with.
This could mean that the lockdown has to last even longer.
The lockdown can vary by province, and it will also vary how well it is respected.
As such we don’t know if the lockdown will get the curve to turn downwards in the provinces above at all or if the lockdown has to be tightened to get it to turn downwards.
It seems clear that provinces like Campania with an increase of 9.9% and Lazio with an increase of 4.5% are not even close to the point where the curve goes downwards.
To be able to end the lockdown in these provinces we first need to see the curve go downwards and the wait until the number of active cases the provinces can cope with are reached.
God alone knows when this will happen and how long time the lockdown needs to stay in place.
Looking at other countries the logic is the same.
If they moved early with a heavy lockdown, when the hospitals still could cope, the lockdown could be much shorter as when the curve goes downwards, they might hopefully still be below the level where the hospitals cannot cope any longer.
However, countries that have let the infection accelerate in the population, might find themselves far above the level where the hospitals can cope, when they finally see the curve starting to go downwards.
Let’s hope that as many as possible learn from Italy and introduce lookdowns while the hospitals still can cope, so we can save as many people as possible.