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Cases Steady, Deaths Down

I wasn’t going to report until later this week, but my concert tonight was cancelled (weather) so here goes.

New cases nationally have been flat for 4 days now, attributable to slowing growth rates in CA, TX, and AZ. On the other hand, GA is accelerating, so I’ve added that state to my watch list. Just about all the action is in AZ, CA, FL, GA, SC, and TX. Over 62% of new cases reported today come from these 6 states. I think AZ, CA, and TX will stabilize first, based on recent trends. The biggest remaining problems are in FL, GA, and SC.

Of course, the good news is that daily deaths continue on a downward slope. Today we reported 273 deaths nationally, the lowest number in over 3 months. I keep looking for growth in daily deaths, but it’s not happening yet. I’ll repeat my thesis here, that the increase in cases is not causing a commensurate increase in fatalities is because:

  • We’re testing people who are less ill as the testing protocol widens, so the survival rate is higher
  • The scope of testing is still expanding generally, so the increase in cases is not representative of a like increase in prevalence
  • Younger people are a larger percentage of those newly infected, and 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

I do expect a mild increase in daily deaths but small in proportion to the increased case count. This week will be critical to test this hypothesis, as we’re now over 2 weeks into this current wave. Ill report again on Thursday, and we’ll know by then.

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: 539,333 (very high)
  • Total Pending tests reported today: 2,198 (extremely low)
  • National reported case Growth Rate today: 1.69% (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 272,000 known active cases. 60% of the active cases I’m modeling come from the 6 states on my watch list. Again, this number is high (I don’t know by how much), as many states routinely double count cases (I sound like a broken record, but this is important).

Here is the rest of the country without the 6 watch list states – a much better picture, but still increasing.

Here are the new reported cases nationally. Perhaps a meaningful slowdown, perhaps just the weekend.

Here are the daily death reports. Deaths are running a small fraction of what the experts predicted for June. Why doesn’t this make news?

On to the states. Both NC and VA look equally stable. It’s really interesting that both states flattened at about the same time.

Ironically, NC decided to remain in Phase 2 for another 3 weeks, but what I see is stable active cases, and flat or slowly declining deaths. Hospitalizations are stable over the past few days as well.

Arizona looks a bit better over the past 5 days, with a somewhat slowing growth rate. I’m guessing AZ will turn out like NJ with respect to cases per capita, but peak at a fraction of NJ’s deaths. Both new hospitalizations and deaths have been declining over the past 2 weeks. As always, I need to point out 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 (antibody tests run about 10% of total tests in AZ).

Here is SC, still growing, although their small numbers don’t skew any national counts. South Carolina also double counts cases, as they treat each positive test as a new case.

We see a small dip today for Washington. They are at a low level per capita, so if we see them level off or begin declining I’ll likely take them off my report. Hospitalizations and deaths are substantially down from the peak as well. For now, we’ll keep watching.

Florida has a fast growth rate, in excess of 6% for the past several days. Emergency room visits have nearly tripled since the beginning of June, but there is no increase in daily deaths yet.

Both NY and NJ continue to be great recovery stories. I’ll keep reporting on these two states in case something happens out of pattern. It’s been a very long time since anything surprising has happened here, though.

California has had a slower growth rate for the past 3 days. As always, I need to report that California is one of the states that double counts cases.

Massachusetts has had a slight drift upwards over the past few days. I’m modeling about 1,600 remaining known active cases in the state.

Georgia is accelerating. I don’t like the look of this. Before next report I’ll take a look at the trends in hospitalizations and daily deaths. Here again, the case 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.

…And here is Michigan. Looking beautiful until June 10th, then beginning a slow drift upwards. It looks like the growth rate is attenuating over the past few days. MI has also had a lot of data anomalies, so I look at this graph with a grain of salt.

PA had been drifting up for 7 days, but now possibly slowing. Worth watching, but still low on a per capita basis.

Texas has slowed ever so slightly over the past 3 days. Texas also reports positive tests as cases, so is doing some level of double counting, but not enough to explain this growth.

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. Very small numbers here.

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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