Tuesday, April 7, 2020

(Another) COVID19 Update

We're not out of the woods yet.

On the other hand, there is hope. I have been compiling data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health from the first day of regular reporting, March 4th. It was the first of two days which would report no cases. The clouds were still just coming over the horizon then. Today, we had the second highest daily increase in deaths, 240, or 32.5%.

Rest their souls.

It may be darkest before the dawn, and that's what I wanted to share tonight. This is the main graph, which shows the number of total (cumulative) number of cases to date (red), cumulative deaths (orange), and the daily death rate (pink).

Figure credit: Author

The average death rate is 1.10, although today it really spiked a bit. I don't expect that to continue, but it is hard to be certain. What is encouraging is the declining upward curvature of cases. There is an interesting correlation with the graph below, which is the rate of change of new cases--or, day by day, is the number of new cases higher or lower, and how does this compare to the previous day's number?

Figure: Author

For example, March 20th and the 26th weren't so great, with pretty big spikes in new cases. Look at the trendline--the black line--from the beginning of full reports with coronavirus testing, the overall trend is for slower growth.

The first closure order was March 16th, but it was advisory, and limited in scope, and this may account for why, from March 18th to the 23rd it kind of bounced around 27%, then spiked on the 26th. The hard order for the urban counties was on that date, and then the line really starts sinking. Interesting the highest numbers are in urban parts of the state (at 155 cases and 1 death, Dauphin County doesn't quite qualify).

The message: "Social distancing" is working--although I still prefer the far sunnier "healthy distancing."

The learning: I wonder what this would look like if we had tested more aggressively? This we will only be able to speculate about using modeling after the whole thing is over.

Finally, what's this mean for all of us? It means that we're not out of the woods yet!--but there is a light over the hill. Stay strong and let's hope that we get over it soon. (And if any of you feel guilty about making an extra grocery trip just to get out of the house, take heart: we're all just human).


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