There Is No ‘Casedemic’

Why the rise in COVID-19 cases is very worrying

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd
6 min readNov 6, 2020

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Pictured: We’re all in this together, and other reassuring slogans. Source: Pexels

As cases of COVID-19 skyrocket across Europe and the United States, a new myth has emerged to add to our ever-increasing list of coronavirus-related nonsense. The idea is that the current massive epidemic in Europe and elsewhere is not an issue, because this is a ‘casedemic’ — an increase in cases without any concomitant increase in sickness or deaths.

Basically, it’s another way of saying that the pandemic is over, from people who’ve been saying that it was over every month since March.

Pictured: Not over yet, unfortunately. Source: Pexels

Thing is, this new piece of disinformation is simply factually inaccurate, and is driven by a simple misunderstanding: that the second wave of COVID-19 was dramatically different to the first. In fact, the two waves are much more alike than you’d imagine, because the disease probably hasn’t changed enormously in the last 6 months or so no matter how much we wish that it has.

In other words, while the number of cases that are appearing positive now seems far higher than at the start of the year, in fact what we know is that we missed a huge proportion of cases back in March and actually it’s more than likely that the current wave looks very similar to the first.

This may seem obvious, but let me explain.

True Cases

My epidemiology mentor, a professor of many years, has a great saying: “remember the denominator”. The denominator of your proportion is the most important part of the equation. Without knowing how the denominator has or will change, we don’t really know anything about the numbers themselves.

Maths is fun! Source: Pexels

So, what is the denominator here? Well, what we know about coronavirus numbers is usually based on confirmed cases — these are people who have had a test (almost always RT-PCR tests) that has come back positive for COVID-19 and been confirmed by their country of residence as having the disease.

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