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Cases rising fast in problem states, but things are different this time…

It’s only been one day, so this will be an abbreviated report.

You’ve all seen the record new case counts in the news. It’s primarily happening in a handful of states, but the spike in new cases is not accompanied by an increase in fatalities. I’ve been saying for the past few reports that this is likely because:

  • We’re testing people who are less ill as the testing protocol widens
  • The scope of testing is still expanding generally
  • We’re testing a younger demographic, and younger people are a larger percentage of those newly infected (their mortality rate is close to nil, so very few show up in the fatality stats)
  • Double counting of cases is increasing, including antigen and antibody tests, as well as PCR tests – we know that AZ, CA, TX, and SC double count cases

We’re starting to see more and more media reports that the new cases are skewing younger, and of course we know that younger people have much better outcomes after contracting the disease. Here are a couple of good articles today:

https://reason.com/2020/06/24/as-covid-19-infections-rise-patients-are-getting-younger/?utm_medium=email

https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-surge-in-south-and-west-looks-different-from-norths-11593203105

This goes a long way to explain why we’re not seeing a surge in deaths to match the increasing cases. We’ve seen a rise in known active cases for 15 days now, so it’s still a bit early, but we’d see at least some effect by now if the rise in cases were consistent with historical cases. I don’t think they are. I’ve been preaching for many weeks that the right policy prescription is to protect the vulnerable (the elderly and the infirm), and let the younger population return to normal. I believe that this is what is happening all on its own nationally. Those that need to be cautious are, and those that don’t need to be are returning to normal routines.

I’m working Saturday and Sunday night, and out of town Monday through Wednesday, so I’ll report again next Thursday.

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 24)
  • Total Test Results reported today: 602,947 (very high)
  • Total Pending tests reported today: 2,201 (extremely low)
  • National reported case Growth Rate today: 1.84% (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 – I’m modeling about 245,000 known active cases. Well over half of the active cases I’m modeling come from the 5 problem states. Again, this number is high (I don’t know by how much), as many states routinely double count cases.

Here are the new reported cases nationally. A new record today, and increasing for 10 days now – well over half of all new cases are in 5 states.

Here are the daily death reports. Daily deaths are not rising commensurate with new cases. We’re seeing quite a divergence between active cases and deaths.

On to the states. I’m just going to hit the 5 troubling states today, and return to a full report next week.

Arizona looks a bit better over the past 3 days, with a markedly lower growth rate — hoping for this improvement to continue. I need to point out every day that 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.

South Carolina is still increasing, but the numbers aren’t large. However, since there is just a minor slowdown, I’ll continue to report on it. 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.

The Florida growth rate is increasing again, after a 4-day slowdown. The growth rate here is now over 7% — very troubling. However, we’re lately seeing declining daily deaths in Florida, so it’s fitting the pattern of younger new cases.

We now see two days of slowdown California – we’ll know more by next week, but this is hopeful. As always, I need to report that California is one of the states that double counts cases.

Texas still shows no signs of slowing down. Texas also reports positive tests as cases, so is doing some level of double counting, but not enough to explain this growth. Here again, we’re seeing no increase in daily fatalities.

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 you feel necessary.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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