COVID Archives

COVID analytical update – Thursday, June 11

So the WHO statement that asymptomatic carriers don’t propagate COVID had the expected effect. The WHO qualified this within hours. They didn’t reverse it, but said they don’t really know. I’ve seen this movie before. Back when I was a young actuary during the AIDS epidemic, we witnessed the WHO actively suppressing research that didn’t fit their narrative that it was “everyone’s disease”. In this case, I suspect there is some truth to the initial statement. As I understand it, they developed this opinion from contact tracing from positive, but asymptomatic, carriers. Seeing very little incidence of asymptomatic transmission led to the conclusion. It wasn’t peer reviewed research, and perhaps not very scientific, but I’m inclined to believe the kernel of the statement, since it explains the data to a degree. We’re not seeing a clear pattern of societal restriction and growth rate, so the idea that asymptomatic infections don’t propagate – or propagate less – makes a great deal of sense.

By the way, here’s the latest on lockdown vs. propagation in the state of Wisconsin. As you know, the state supreme court overruled the stay at home order, so we have an uncharacteristically sudden release of restrictions. Here is the relevant quote from the abstract: ”we find no evidence that the repeal of the state SIPO impacted social distancing, COVID-19 cases, or COVID-19-related mortality during the fortnight following enactment”. The first part of this sentence is the relevant one to me, that about no impact on social distancing. I’ve been theorizing this all along, that people behave as they will, regardless of authority. They are not saying that social distancing has no impact on COVID propagation – they are saying that lockdowns have little effect on social distancing.

You can read the study here:

My personal observations in being out and about now cause me to conclude that people, by and large, have a high degree of trust with friends and family, and are more cautious with strangers. Being a musician, and now back at work, I get a lot of chances to observe behavior. I’ve seen time and time again couples in restaurants greeting friends with hugs and air kisses, but making sure they are 6 feet from the next table. Of course, this makes little mathematical sense, but it’s ingrained human behavior.

I’ve been puzzled about why some states are seeing growth, and the majority are seeing steady improvement. I have a theory that I’m testing now – that COVID reaches a certain critical mass in terms of active cases as a percent of the population, and then declines. I’ll show some results of this study in a few days, but it’s looking good.

You’ve seen in the news that Arizona is the new high growth state. I’ve added it to my analysis beginning today. I’ve been tracking 15 states, representing about 2/3 of the national population. Of these, 11 states are past their peak, and 4 are still increasing. I’ll begin concentrating on the states that are growing, and try and make sense of that for you. That means we’ll pay special attention to Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and South Carolina, although I model that North Carolina will peak very shortly.

I’m working the next few nights, but will report again on Monday.

As always, feel free to send me your questions about my assumptions, methodology, or modeling in general.

  • Likely date of active case peak (Chalke modeling): April 10
  • Likely date of peak deaths (IHME): April 14 (last revision on June 10)
  • Total Test Results reported today: 420,248 (high)
  • Total Pending tests reported today: 2,978 (extremely low)
  • National reported case Growth Rate today: 1.03% (low)

Shane Chalke Interviews


Groom Ventures has agreed to host a website that will archive my daily reports, and supplement with other commentary. John Groom worked at one of my companies back in the day, and is an excellent writer. The website is: For those of you that post my daily report on Facebook, let me suggest you link to this site, as the direct Facebook posts don’t seem to copy the graphs.

Daily Analysis

Here is the national picture of active cases – Very slow decline – as you know, it’s a mixture of steadily declining states, and a few still increasing.

Here are the new reported cases nationally. The trend is still solid, but the overall decline is slow.

Here are the daily death reports. Daily deaths continue to fall steadily. We’ve been at or below 1,000 daily deaths for 2 weeks now. You might remember that all we heard a month ago was that we’d be up to 3,000 deaths a day by June. Thankfully, it’s not happening. Daily deaths are falling more quickly than active cases, partially as a result of widespread testing. We’re finding more positives that are less sick.

On to the states. Virginia is looking much better lately, now down 43% from the peak. I’m projecting that North Carolina reaches peak active cases in the next day or two. If my current theory is correct, both states will peak at a similar percentage of their respective populations. Virginia peaked at about 0.10% of the population, and NC is currently at 0.07%.

I’m adding back South Carolina, as it has now grown steadily for about 3 weeks. Known active cases now stand at about 0.06% of the population. IHME now has daily deaths peaking near the end of July, at about 17 per day.

Washington has been slowly rising for almost 2 weeks. Their peak was very low, at about 0.04% of the population. IHME shows daily deaths peaked on April 7th. I’m modeling known active cases currently at 0.028% of the population.

Florida has risen since May 28th. I’ve read a lot of theories about what’s going on in Florida. We now know that’s it’s not growing in Miami as fast as in other areas of the state. IHME projects daily deaths in Florida flat for the foreseeable future, at about 30 per day. I think Florida still has a way to go, as current known actives are only 0.04% of the population. The average peak has been at 0.11% of the population (more on this in a few days).

Both NY and NJ are in the end game. NY is now down 91% from their peak – I model only about 5,800 cases remaining, representing 0.03% of the population. NJ is down 87% with less than 3,300 known active cases remaining, representing 0.037% of the population.

I believe California should be cresting now. IHME has moved up their peak daily death projection to June 17th, so I don’t expect any big increases here on out.

Not much to say about Massachusetts – it’s down 86% down from the peak, and is in the end game. Massachusetts began opening up on May 18th, and is still looking good. I model known active cases currently at 0.027% of the population.

Georgia looks to be stationary over the past 6 weeks. I’m modeling a noticeable decline beginning about June 14.

…And here is Michigan. 73% below their peak.

Continued, almost straight line, decline in Pennsylvania. PA is now down 71% from the peak. Known active cases are now 0.026% of the population.

Texas is showing signs of leveling off, but I’m not prepared to declare the peak yet. IHME now projects peak deaths after August 1st! I’m not sure what their drivers are, but when we see a definitive peak here, then peak deaths are usually a couple of weeks away. This one will be very interesting to watch over the next week or so.

And finally, here is Colorado. Colorado is one of the states that has had aberrations in their data. I’m modeling that they are 66% below peak, but I’ve shied away from any conclusions in this state due to the data irregularities. I’ll probably remove them from the daily analysis and bring them back if I see anything notable. Remaining cases are about 0.025% of the population.

So that’s it for today. The numbers are very small as a percentage of the population. Unless you’re in a high density area, your chances of contracting COVID are very small. However, even though the probability is very small, that doesn’t help if you’re the one catching it. Everyone please continue to be as cautious as feel necessary, especially in Florida and Arizona.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

One reply on “COVID analytical update – Thursday, June 11”

[…] Does the state of Wisconsin have the only judges who remember that the US has certain guaranteed freedoms, like freedom of movement and assembly? Or are they just the only ones who have figured out that lockdowns don’t actually work? Here is what they said in overturning the state’s stay at home orders: "We find no evidence that the repeal of the state SIPO impacted social distancing, COVID-19 cases, or COVID-19-related mortality during the fortnight following enactment". Read the full analysis from our actuary here […]

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