US COVID Update (18-05-2020)

in #covidlast year


Weekend under-reporting as usual

Not really much to say other than it appears to have been a typical weekend with quite a bit of under-reporting overall, but still a distinct downward trend in new deaths for the US and in new cases (except for the usual suspects and now VA -- VA is reporting biggish jumps in new cases because it lumps together both virus and anti-body tests. That is bad data reporting.).

But I'm looking at the early reporting states' data for today (yesterday's actual data) where the non-reported data from the weekend should be showing up, and I'm not seeing a lot of added cases or deaths so far.

In pretty much all but the NYC area and now Chicago (Detroit would seem to be well past the worst), the epidemic is sputtering out as all such eventually do.

"What about a second wave"?

Well, locking down in order to "bend the curve" pretty much totally guaranteed that there will indeed be a second wave. All it did (and that's not necessarily a bad thing) was to shift infections and the resulting deaths to later in the year. We'll get hit, but we should be better prepared and hopefully know more. We should also crank up the economy as much as we can until then so we can better withstand the second wave, however bad it might be. (If I had to guess right now, I'd say nit as bad as what we've been through.)

We should begin now, right now, to better protect the vulnerable. And that means not just the elderly. In fact, the data seems to show that the elderly who have no comorbidities have no more risk than adults aged 30+. It's just that they are much more likely to have not just one but multiple comorbidities. So, we should scrutinize very carefully what those are. Juvenile onset diabetes and/or BMI obesity certainly should be watched. Immune problems. Heart and/or lung problems. Low Vitamin D. (For my older friends (like me) have your blood tested for Vitamin D (it costs about $60 but is worth it) and begin taking 2000 IU per day. (Cost of a 6 month supply is about $7-10.) Kidney or liver problems. We can protect these more vulnerable folk much more effectively and easily than we can lock 200,000,000 people in their homes. If we do this we can handle any type of second wave better.


The Monday comparison to Sunday showed a 2500 jump in new cases, driven both by a doubling of tests reported and an increase of <150 new deaths. The entirety of that increase can be attributed to an increase of 150+ from the Philadelphia area of PA. And of course some of both increases are from lagging data reporting from Saturday and Sunday.

For the 7 day MA deaths are still decreasing slowly and have been under 10,000/week for 6 days now. That is including the inclusion of all those ""suspected" but unconfirmed COVID deaths. In fact, if we were to use on confirmed COVID+ cases as COVID deaths (even the ones where people died having shown no COVID symptoms until after death) our MA would be less than 1000 per day. We'll never really know how many COVID deaths there really were under any rational definition. And that's both sad and scientifically wrong. We should have done a better job of defining what a COVID death is and then reporting them.

All the data essentially shows that the epidemic in terms of infections probably peaked on April 8 or so, and the deaths on April 15 or so. You can access some interesting state-by-state charts here. While I refuse to vouch for the data, the curves on the charts appear to be reasonable. Among the more interesting findings (or perhaps "showings") is that in VA despite what the governor keeps saying, the near total shutdown of the state by April 1, there has been no real change in it's curve. Is that because the shutdown slowed the spread before it got started, or because it wasn't that bad to start with? VA has not done noticeably better than states to its immediate south.

Meanwhile "Irish democracy" is becoming more frequent. That is, many people are ignoring "orders" and turning up at whatever is open, 'legally' or not. Too many for limited police to do much about. Not hard to find news on that. Even Gov wHitler has relented a bit and 'partially opened MI pretty much north of Midland. The people up there (including the UP) seem to be treating it as total opening and going about business as before.

We will almost certainly never have the needed true discussion about COVID and either what to do in the future or what we have or should have learned. It became political football way before that discussion was possible. But remember that models are no way to drive policy. They are not Reality. They are someone's "best guesses" based on a lot of assumptions that aren't verifiable until much later. I do think that in this case past performance is" a reasonable prediction of future performance. All the models that "failed" can be shown to have also failed in the past. Keep that in mind.

Meanwhile, go outside, get some sunshine (when it is there -- we've been gloomy here for most of 10 days), take Vitamin D, be careful.