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Concerned about California, but everything else better…

The acceleration of cases, which began around June 10th, is now leveling off, and this new peak has arrived with far fewer fatalities than the initial active case peak of April 12. Of the 15 states that I track, only California and Colorado are growing.

Here is the peak active case count to date for the states I monitor:

All states on this chart are in decline or plateau other than CA and CO. I still believe the states on the right side will still see some growth, as they peaked so far below the average. Florida, which set a record for known active cases at 0.38% of the population, looks like it peaked on July 17th, and is already down 11% since then. Arizona, the most serious hotspot of early July, peaked on July 6, and is now down an amazing 32% since the peak. California is the most serious state that I track now, but I think it could have more to run, as the current active case count is only 0.18% of the population.

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): July 24
  • Likely date of peak deaths (IHME): April 16 (last revision on July 22)
  • Total Test Results reported today: 774,193 (very high)
  • Total Pending tests reported today: 3,179 (extremely low)
  • National reported case Growth Rate today: 1.80% (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 468,000 known active cases. We’ve seen a definitive slowing over the past 6 days. I don’t know if this plateau is going to form a peak – I think it depends on what happens in California.

Here are the new reported cases nationally – You can see the trajectory slowing over the past 2 weeks. I believe what scares people the most is the “not knowing” – when you see new records being set every day it’s frightening. We’re past that now with a growth rate solidly below 2% — this is nothing like April.

As I’ve been predicting, we’re seeing a gradual rise in the daily death count. The rise in deaths is small in proportion to the rise in cases. We’ve seen the new daily death count go from about 600 to 1,000, while the daily new case count rose from about 20,000 to 70,000. Many on the news have talked about the lengthy time between case growth and death count, so I examined a few states that are well past peak to see how that worked out.

New York hit peak active cases on April 10th, the same day they hit peak daily deaths. Massachusetts peaked with active cases on April 25th, and peak daily deaths happened on day later on April 26th. Pennsylvania had the longest lag time – peak cases on April 11, and peak daily deaths on May 1, almost 3 weeks later. I’m thinking that IF we are cresting with active cases now, then we’ll see peak daily deaths in 10-15 days, somewhere between August 3 and August 8. The latest IHME model is projecting a new crest in daily deaths on August 13th, at just under 1,000, and far less than the peak on April 16, where we were seeing over 2,300 deaths per day. There are a number of reasons for this (see discussion at the very bottom of this report). Primary, though, is societal behavior. Seniors and those with health problems are exhibiting social distancing, quarantine, and other precautionary measures, while the disease spreads among a younger demographic, with a much lower mortality rate. We know that the mortality rate for pre-retirees without serious pre-existing conditions is very near zero.

On to the states.

Arizona is starting to look a lot like NY or MA, with a rapid decline from the peak. This state is down an amazing 32% from the peak just 16 days ago.

Here is SC, now 6 days past peak. SC Peaked at 0.26% of the population, so I suspect this peak will hold. Note that South Carolina double counts cases, as they treat each positive test as a new case (per The COVID Tracking Project).

Here is Florida – my wife says I’m cocky for pointing out that I predicted this last week. For that, I apologize, but we should all breathe a sigh of relief looking at this graph. It may not be over, but it sure is propagating at a snail’s pace compared to late June.

California slows down and speeds up from day to day. California today sits at 0.18% of the population, so I’m afraid it has more to come. I think CA will approach 100,000 known active cases before it turns. As always, I need to report that California is one of the states that counts tests rather than people.

Georgia has been slowing for over 2 weeks, and is now flat for 4 days. Is this the top for Georgia? I don’t know. Georgia only hit a high of 0.23% of the population, so could have more growth to come. Here again, the case numbers are exaggerated. Georgia counts each positive test as a case (according to The COVID Tracking Project).

Texas has seen almost zero growth for 5 days now. If Texas is peaking, it’s only at 0.23% of the population, so my confidence that we’ve seen the top here is not very high. Texas also reports positive tests as cases, so is doing some level of double counting.

NC is looking pretty good for over a week now, but if this is the peak, it’s at a very low level (0.14%). We’re scheduled to remain in Phase 2 until August 7th, but I’m thinking the case and death numbers are such that we’ll move to Phase 3 then. IHME is projecting peak daily deaths in NC in the first few days of August. It’s interesting how NC and VA now move together.

Here is the daily death report for NC. I’m detecting a slight upward bias lately, but the data is erratic, so it’s hard to tell so far. This is a good case study, as NC has had active cases increasing monotonically for over 3 months, but little change in the daily death count. NC extended Phase 2 until August 7th. I think we’ll actually go to Phase 3 this time if this pattern persists.

Washington could have peaked, but I’m skeptical, as the high water mark you see here is at just 0.087% of the population.

Nothing to say about NY and NJ – the picture says it all.

Massachusetts has exhibited a slight upward drift for a week now, but it’s very slight. We need to watch this. For some reason, MA didn’t report today by the 4:00pm data collection deadline.

…And here is Michigan. Looking beautiful until June 10th, then beginning a steady upward drift. Michigan peaked at a low percentage of population (0.089%), so may continue to grow if my theory is correct. It is just one of several states that peaked early and low, and doesn’t seem to be done with COVID yet. Nonetheless, we see a decline over the past two days, which is welcome news.

PA looks like Michigan, so the same comments apply. Like MI, PA has slowed for a few days now.

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. Colorado peaked at a very small percentage, so could peak again as well.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again next Tuesday, or possibly Saturday if something interesting happens.

The numbers are still 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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