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Watching AZ, CA, FL, SC, TX

Today we had the highest new reported cases we’ve seen since May 8th, about six weeks ago. Today’s new case count came in at 27,496. These numbers are pushed up almost entirely by 5 states: Arizona, California, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas. 14,318 new cases came from these 5 states alone today, or about 52% of all new cases. These are the states to watch.

Deaths, on the other hand, continue their downward trend, with 695 deaths reported today. Deaths lag cases by about 2 weeks, so either we’ll start to see an upward trend in deaths in another week, or the new cases are less deadly than they were previously, as we’re testing more and more people who are less ill and/or asymptomatic. We’ll know soon. We do know that Arizona, California, Texas, and SC double count cases – by reporting specimen results rather than people tested. Since it’s not possible (theoretically) to double count deaths, this could explain some of the case count/death disparity as well.

I’ll 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 16 (last revision on June 15)
  • Total Test Results reported today: 465,621 (high)
  • Total Pending tests reported today: 1,903 (extremely low)
  • National reported case Growth Rate today: 1.28% (low)

Shane Chalke Interviews

https://www.fredericksburg.com/opinion/editorial-unlock-demographically-not-geographically/article_a62e6e70-dccd-51cf-b7b2-16d77a90fd9c.html

Website

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: www.howmuchrisk.com 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 – It’s been rising now for 8 days, driven almost entirely by AZ, CA, FL, SC, and TX. I’m modeling about 164,000 known active cases left. Over 74,000 of these are in the 5 problem states. Again, this number is high (I don’t know by how much), as many states routinely double count cases.

Here is the same picture showing only the 5 hot spot states. A very different story indeed. I’ll continue to show this graph so long as these 5 states remain an issue.

Here are the new reported cases nationally. Increasing over the past week, and we know where it’s happening.

Here are the daily death reports. This is still looking far better than the experts predicted. If we don’t see a spike by next weekend, we’ll know that either there is more double counting than I thought, or the new cases are less severe than in the past.

On to the states. It’s great to see NC leveling off. If in fact NC peaks here, it will have peaked at a lower per capita rate than Virginia. Remember that the grey line is the average peak for states past peak (w/o NY and NJ).

Not only is Arizona increasing at an elevated growth rate, it is also well above the average peak as a percent of the population. AZ is currently at 0.165% of the population, about the level of the peak in MA, but well below NJ and NY. Arizona’s data is exaggerated, since they count specimens tested rather than people, and it’s not uncommon to get multiple tests if you’re sick – each time you’re tested you’d show up as a new case. Even worse, Arizona counts positive antibody tests as new cases. Therefore, Arizona is not as bad as the data makes it appear, but it’s still bad.

South Carolina is now above the average peak (the blue line), but has slowed down somewhat in the past few days. South Carolina also double counts cases, as they treat each positive test as a new case. Worse still, until June 11th, SC counted positive antibody tests as new cases.

Washington peaked at a surprisingly low 0.03% of the population, so it might not be over yet. It’s been increasing for 9 days, but lately shows signs of leveling off.

Florida has risen since May 28th. It’s now approaching the average peak. There is a lot of vacation activity in Florida just now, which could explain the growth rate (nearly 4%!).

Both NY and NJ are in the end game, with a small percentage of COVID compared to their peaks. NY is now down 92% from their peak – I model only about 4,900 cases remaining. NJ is down 91% with about 2,300 active cases remaining. This is very small for these state’s populations, and especially small given where they’ve been.

California is increasing at a moderate pace compared to Florida and Arizona, but is still far below the average peak. California data is exaggerated by the fact that they report all positive tests as cases. With testing more ubiquitous, some people with the disease are tested multiple times.

So it’s been tedious to continually adjusting for Massachusetts’ method of reporting historical cases. At the beginning of June, MA reported nearly 4,000 historical but newly discovered cases, which skewed the data. Now that we’re 2 weeks past this event, I’m now modeling based on the data as reported. That’s what that bump in cases in early June is all about on the graph. It’s not real. If something like this happens again, I may have to do the work of adjusting for it, but for now, I’m letting it flow through. MA is another state that double counts cases by reporting each positive test as its own case. MA is down 89% from the peak.

Georgia has been in the 4-6K range for 2 months. Here again, the numbers are exaggerated. Georgia counts each positive test as a case. To make matters more distorted, until May 27th GA reported positive antibody tests as new cases. Nonetheless, GA is leveling off lately. GA is a state that peaked well below average as a percent of the population (at 0.06%), so could have more to run. We’ll see.

…And here is Michigan. Drifting upward for the past week. Michigan has had a lot of data anomalies, so I’ll check this out when I have time.

Continued, almost straight line, decline in Pennsylvania. PA is now down 80% from the peak.

Texas is rising at a faster rate lately. Texas is still well under the average peak (shown in blue). Texas is a low-density state, so I expect it to peak below the blue line. Texas also reports positive tests as cases, so is doing some level of double counting. This drives me crazy.

And finally, here is Colorado. Colorado is one of the states that has had aberrations in their data. I still report it, but I’ve shied away from any conclusions in this state due to the data irregularities.

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.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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