Global COVID-19 Iceberg With Most Cases Undetected and Unmanaged

Most of the world has 10-100 times less per capita COVID-19 testing than the USA. The USA has probably only detected about 10-20% of its total COVID-19 cases.

South Africa has the fifth most cases in the world. 90% of Africa has virtually no testing for COVID-19. It is impossible that South Africa has rampant COVID-19 and the rest of Africa does not.

The BBC has found that the number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is nearly triple what Iran’s government claims. Iranian government records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.

Only complete border and travel quarantines would have any hope of containment. This was attempted in China in the early weeks of the pandemic. Complete lockdowns have not been done in Africa or in many large population regions in Asia and South America.

The BBC has found that the number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is nearly triple what Iran’s government claims. Iranian government records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.

COVID-19 is Obviously Rampant but Ignored in Many Developing Countries

There are many other locations that are likely hiding the true number of cases.

Many African countries have refused to have a regular population census for decades. They are clearly choosing to not test or are unable to test for COVID-19.

South Africa has over 500,000 cases and 8000 confirmed deaths. South Africa has a population of 58 million people. We know that South Africa did not detect all cases of coronavirus in its population. South Africa has 3.5 times less testing per 1 million people than the USA has. Africa has 22 times the population of South Africa. If the rate of COVID-19 in the rest of Africa was the same as South Africa then there would be 11 million cases and 176,000 COVID-19 deaths. This level could be even worse because there is no medical system to treat serious cases.

There are 161,000 global deaths in an average day in a year. There would normally be about 60 million deaths in a year. 1.2 million more deaths in a year is a 2% increase.

Africa mainly has a demographically younger population. This means the death rate (even no medical help for those who get seriously sick) would be about 0.5 to 1.2% of the population. This would mean 6-14 million people over the course of about 2-3 years.

SOURCES- World in Data, BBC, Worldometers
Written by Brian Wang,

45 thoughts on “Global COVID-19 Iceberg With Most Cases Undetected and Unmanaged”

  1. It is a critical mass problem. You have to have enough Plutonium to get a chain reaction going for the bomb to blow. Yes, you do have extended families which is a risk but it is a smaller risk than all your grannies in one location. The scenario is that a family member brings it in, the family catches it. Hopefully, they stay home and that is the end of it. In a nursing home, one granny gets it and they all get it. The nurse or nurses aide gets it and carries it to her other job which is another nursing home, And what you have is a chain reaction.

  2. Case fatality rate of roughly 0.25% including asymptomatic cases. Or perhaps less. This is what the world has choked its economy to death over?

    Nursing home residents beware! You thought you would live forever, but now you find that you are vulnerable to a virus from WIV. Wear your masks!!!

  3. I would guess (just a guess) that natural resources are not going to be affected that much.
    1.. Natural resources (timber, mining, farming) tend to be industries with young work forces. So the actual casualty rate will be very low.
    2.. Natural resource extraction is often done by multinational companies with lots of experience in going into a country that has some sort of crisis and getting everything moving again. Hiring more workers, replacing the few key personnel, putting cash into pockets to make any restrictive laws give way.
    3.. A shipment of timber or cobalt ore or something is not going to be infectious. So restrictive laws CAN be dropped without any resulting cv19 spikes that would result in pushback.
    4.. Such industries are often performed outdoors, which is the safest place.

  4. Alternative explanation: I live and work in an upper middle class area, in a city and nation that has not been badly hit by Covid19, and looking at the average statistics over a completely different country will not give a good guide to my personal experience.

  5. Yes, back in the dark ages people would have made up insane theories like it was caused by mobile phone radiation as part of a plan to implant tracking devices in all the dark skinned people.
    Thank goodness people are more educated these days.

  6. Flu deaths are counted as Covid deaths as of a few months ago. If a patient has ANY symptoms similar to Covid, they get counted as a Covid death. You could die from a heart attack, have Covid in your system with ZERO symptoms, and you died from Covid according to CDC. The #’s are just wrong. Fewer have died from Covid than is being reported in the US. I don’t know about Europe.

  7. My state is taking 12-24 hours to get tests back. We are in the top 10 for tests/million population. I thought the CDC just authorized pool testing. I think up to 5 samples can be tested at once now. If any one person has Covid in the pool, the whole pool is tested individually. That will ramp up testing if all tests get done this way.

  8. I couldn’t care less how many people have COVID19, It’s about how many people have died from it.

    The CDC has the covid19 IFR at 0.26% (noting seasonal flu is about 0.1%). So at worst it is 2.6 times as bad as seasonal flu. However this IFR has been calculated using antibody tests. Newer studies have shown at least as many people as have tested positive for covid19 antibodies have Tcell defense. This effectively halves the covid19 IFR down to 0.13% or inline with the seasonal flu.

  9. Absolutely agree. Just saw the updated Dept of Defense stats on U.S. servicemembers who have tested positive for COVID. Over 28,000 now. Only 4 deaths. More service members have died from motorcycle accidents this year, than COVID. If you are physically fit, your odds from dying from COVID are extremely low.

  10. It’s all relative. Compared to life 500 years ago, there are very few problems today (developing countries excepted of course). No matter how well people have it, some are never satisfied. Most are happy with the state of their life. Others will always find a reason to complain, dramatize everything, make mountains out of mole hills, etc. All in all COVID -19 is not a very dangerous disease compared to others. Look at the U.S. annual mortality stats. About 2.8 million people die in this country every year. Cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes are the main killers. Deaths from those far dwarf COVID. Take a look at the Center For Disease Control stats. Additionally, look at the DoD COVID 19 stats. 28,000 tested positive. 4 deaths.

  11. Same here. I don’t know of anyone personally who died from it NOR contracted it. And if there are 4.8 million “cases” in the USA, then there’s about a 1.5% chance of anyone getting it already. And that’s on average. Plus most of the people I know are in “hotspot” states so that makes the probability go up.

    I know hundreds of people, and many of them are over 60 so…

  12. I would say your statement is patently false, unless you literally don’t know anyone at all.

    The odds that you don’t know anyone that’s had problems with drugs or alcohol, or has lost their job during COVID is astronomical.

    Fun facts:
    Nearly half of all C-19 deaths in the US took place in long term care facilities.

    The % of the US pop that lives in LTCF is 0.6%. 

    70% of COVID deaths in OH are LTC
    77% in MN
    69% in PA

    The COVID threat to the general population is extremely exaggerated.

  13. Yeah. Toronto – in Monday pm. results on-line negative Tuesday pm. Geez that 10-inch q-tip is uncomfortable (yay socialized healthcare).

  14. Hard Call. What Developed countries have with nursing homes and old people that are vulnerable may be less important than Developing countries who have big families that all live together – with grannies and kids and cousins all together in the same unit, even same room. I guess it depends if their grannies are stronger than our grannies.

  15. China has totalitarian regime, which usually are more effective at controlling population. China can do real-time monitoring of position and activity of citizens and punish disobedience in many ways. China has internal migration controls which can keep the virus from spreading. Totalitarianism is bad, but very useful in a pandemic.

  16. Actually a few days. I got my throat swab taken late Tuesday afternoon & got the negative result Friday morning. This was in Calgary in June.

  17. I agree, just look at what we are doing here to suppress the news and you have to figure China is doing the same but better.

  18. It is going to affect the Developing countries far less that the Develop countries because a far larger portion of the population in Developing countries are young and a far lower percentage of seniors are in nursing homes.

  19. Many of my relatives work in the healthcare field in NYC and Florida. A few have already been infected. None of them have died. When you are on the battlefield the war is real.
    I know of a few people who have died. My pastor spent months in the ICU, barely survived.

    If you don’t know anyone infected or anyone who has died then consider yourself lucky. We have about another 9 months to go before V-day (Vaccine). The virus spreads like a fire in that it is looking for new grounds to burn.

  20. You forgot to mention that most of the population is young and they don’t have nursing homes so the odds are they will do a better job of surviving than most First World Countries.

  21. The testing we are doing now isn’t working. It takes at least a week to get the results back. We need to go with a rapid strip test that you can buy at the drug store. It isn’t super accurate but if you have symptoms it will work. We should also OK the selling of the antibody test strips.

  22. I know this article is about Africa, but I do get tired of the news covering for China. With such a large population in densely populated areas it is highly likely China has close to the largest number of Covid-19 cases. I do not trust for one minute the data coming out of that country and their history proves they are willing to create whatever narrative makes them look good!

  23. Spain has also double casualties than what goverment statistics say:
    “Confused? Many people and news outlets have been too. Although authorities have argued that the new data collection system provides a better picture of the pandemic, Spanish news media have reported “incomprehensible figures” and the “thousands of casualties that suddenly disappeared from the series.””

  24. People in Africa have far more to worry about than Covid. Stop wringing your hands over it. Many of these poor people faced dying from the impact of government corruption, tribalism, other disease, or starvation long before Covid showed up. Testing does nothing to help them. Other poor countries have similar issues. Covid is just one more thing they could die from; add it to the list.

  25. Then you are more free in a country that doesn’t recognize inalienable rights than ours where they are guaranteed by law.

  26. Be aware that the word “locked down” has hugely different meanings from place to place.
    I’m still going to my office every day. Went to dinner at a friend’s house last night. Compete in sporting events.
    But restaurants have seating limits and the premier “encourages” people to wear a mask in crowds. Large parties are banned. Crowded pubs get closed. Sports stadiums are limited to a small fraction of capacity.

  27. I’ve hit all of those of those except the AIDS one, and covid. That you guys down under locked down over a couple hundred deaths is both funny and sad at the same time.

  28. I don’t know anyone with AIDS, anyone who’s ever suffered police brutality, anyone hurt by a criminal, anyone who’s had a drug problem, any alcoholics, any one who’s lost their job this year, anyone who’s had any property damaged in a riot, anyone hurt or killed in any wars.

    The world is going just fine, with no major problems at all.

  29. If it’s so rampant and so dangerous, why don’t I know anyone who’s died from it, been hospitalized for it, or tested positive for it? And, it’s the same with everyone I know. I’m in Michigan, less than 50 miles from Detroit or Flint, the supposed hot spots here. This is a joke. A very unfunny one.

  30. Well. If anything is going to set back Millenium-type goals, rich-country interventions/ support, needed development/ trade, immigration/ international-education/internship, etc., this is going to be it for developing countries. It will be interesting to see what critical minerals, supply-line breakages, and unavailable products will become more and more noticeable – tropical fruits/ plants/ medicines, cobalt-i think, several types of wood… witness the start of more countries trying to ‘do it all’ rather than trade? i guess globalization will be re-defined going forward…

  31. China is indeed the best example – of cases not being reported while others have managed to curtail the epidemic by continuously accelerating the speed and quantity of contact tracing, testing and proper quarantining and reaching new hot spots when they are detected, without full lock down.

  32. This was inevitable since the moment this effin’ virus turned out to be airborne.

    An airborne highly contagious disease with a non negligible IFR has been the nightmare scenario for epidemiologists for decades. Now we are seeing it in action.

    There was no stopping it. Only try to mitigate it and try to survive until a vaccine or remedy is found.

    Most people of the world will face this pandemic the same way most humans across history have: living across it, either you survive it or you die from it but life won’t stop.

    The biggest difference is that we will have a chance of a vaccine in a few months.

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