Where do we stand on new Covid-19 cases?

Where do we stand on new Covid-19 cases?

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Based on widespread news reports, Covid-19 is surging or spiking or exploding in new cases in the U.S. That is certainly the portrayal presented by the news and many politicians. But the official data present a different picture.

This chart comes from the CDC itself.

Source: Cases in the U.S. | CDC

From the chart we can see that new daily cases in the U.S.may have plateaued and begun to decline. The next week or two will confirm or not confirm this trend.

Deaths have diminished since spring. The spikes are when some jurisdictions revised past data and added many deaths to their total all on one day. The number of deaths on a given day is not the actual number of deaths in the prior 24 hours – it is a count of the deaths that were reported to the authority in the past 24 hours. The actual death may have occurred days to weeks earlier. It is normal for these reporting delays to occur.

Source

You may be surprised that new cases in FL have declined by almost 8% during the past 14 days, by almost 18% in Texas during the past 14 days, and Arizona down by almost 15%. In fact, all peaked in the past 2-3 weeks. Hospitalizations lag new cases by typically 1 to 2 weeks, and deaths lag new cases by about 1-4 weeks.

My best guess, for reasons I will not get into here[1], is that these “hot spots” will cool down, just like NY, MA, NJ, MI and IL have done. FL, TX, AZ and likely CA next, will follow the same trajectories, cool off and remain mostly settled. The “hot spots” will migrate to some new locations until they too peter out. By fall, the disease will have followed the typical viral outbreak pattern and things will be far more settled across most of the country; of course, the disease will still be with us but literally it will no longer be the focus of our daily attention. Regardless of who is elected in November, attention giving to Covid-19 will be greatly diminished.

If you watch the media very carefully, you’ll note that their reporting subtly changes from the daily new case counts to a focus on hospitalizations, and then the daily body count. The latter too are lagging indicators and are expected to peak after the new cases peak.

California’s new cases are up by 3.57% during the past two weeks, which may be less than you might expect considering the scary news reports.

I have been collecting tons of data on the epidemic since March of 2020 and have created dozens of charts regarding the outbreak in my state that are available online. I have consistently spotted patterns up to 4-5 weeks before the patterns and trends were publicized by the media. For example, I saw that my state peaked in late March/early April (depends on which metric is used) for the initial round. This was not publicly identified until a full month later. Similarly, I spotted a dramatic drop in deaths per new cases, and hospitalizations per new cases that was not acknowledged by our state’s public health department until about 2 months later.

I suspect there are two issues here. One is that the media is not filled with numbers people – they think their daily body count reporting is valuable – but its useless. The only thing that is important is the trend – but almost no news media in my state covers the trend, only the daily new cases and new dead body count.

The second is that most do not do their own analysis. Instead, the wait for the some “official” release and those tend to come weeks to months after the fact. Consequently, the news reports are typically a month or more behind reality.

That’s why I track the data releases directly – so I can get a near real time picture of what is happening.

Your take away from this is that what you see in the news is not necessarily reflective of current reality.

 

[1] I have no expertise in anything health related. I am an idiot. These comments are for entertainment purposes only. I have more observations than I am willing to share publicly. But based on the data, and based on reading dozens of published papers, I think things are progressing as expected. But, again, I am idiot, and non professionals are not permitted to have thoughts on health topics so my thoughts remain mostly secret.

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