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Holiday Data Chaos!

The new case data was all over the place during the holidays, with some states not reporting for days at a time. It’s just now settling down, and we won’t really know where we stand for another few days. Nonetheless, it has been 12 days since my last report, so I wanted to provide an update before next week.

We’ve now administered over 9 million doses of the vaccine in the United States as of today. I continue to believe that we’ll see some striking reductions in active cases at about 80 million vaccines, and that we’ll start to see the effects as early as mid-February. I’ve pinned my 2021 predictions at the bottom of this report.

Here is where we stand with known active cases. We can see a significant decline over the holidays, and a surge after, reminiscent of Thanksgiving. I expect it to follow the same pattern, with declines over the next week.

Below is the national daily death count. The brown line is my projection or peak deaths. This projection is based on 2.75 deaths per 1,000 known active cases with a 21 day lag. This data point has been very stable, but we’ve seen a small decline for the past 6 weeks, which is good. I may have overshot on peak deaths, but not by much.

Individual States

Here is Arizona, a fairly strong decline since the localized peak on December 14, then another surge since the end of the year. This is a typical pattern of many states (as you’ll see below). The ones increasing before Christmas are increasing again, and the states that were falling before Christmas are stable or falling.

SC has seen a strong increase since the beginning of 2021, but now showing early signs of decreasing.

Here is Florida – showing a 2021 spike, and now starting to attenuate. Still quite stable in Miami.

California is still looking better than in December and based on the magnitude of the peak on December 22nd, I expect declines soon.

Georgia is increasing fast, and still at only 0.46% of the population, so I expect further increases here.

Texas data is still messy, so I have no forecasts here. Texas added over 100,000 cases on a single day (Dec 11), which comprised new “probable” cases going back in history. They provided a new time series going back to November 1st only, so they show a huge spike on November 1st (completely unrealistic).

Both VA and NC have increased since the end of the year. VA stands at 0.4%, and NC at 0.6%. I expect NC to decline first.

Washington data is worse than Texas. It has been quite erratic. Here is a quote from The COVID Tracking Project providing you with an idea of their data difficulties.

On December 18th, Washington revised down their total test numbers from 3,432,892 to 2,765,404. This might relate to the current note on the dashboard, stating: “Today’s total case counts may include up to 1,000 duplicates. Negative test results data from November 21, 2020 through today are incomplete, as are positive test results from December 16, 2020, thus testing and case numbers should be interpreted with caution. The Epidemiologic Curves tab is the most accurate representation of COVID activity and is updated daily as new cases are identified and duplicates are resolved.” We are continuing to report the total tests figure from Washington’s dashboard and will continue to investigate and adjust this figure if necessary.

On December 16, 2020, Washington added all Probable cases reported since June, 2020 to their data for December 16, 2020.

On December 11, 2020, Washington Deaths decreased from 3016 to 2850 with no explanation.

On December 5, 2020, Washington announced that up to 90 of the deaths reported “yesterday” were incorrectly classified and were not due to COVID-19.

Here are NY and NJ – NY continues rapid growth, with NJ growing more slowly.

Here is Massachusetts. Rapid post-thanksgiving growth, then gradual decline for 3 weeks, and a post-holiday spike. MA is still at a relatively low 0.46%, so I don’t think their troubles are over.

…And here is Michigan, with a dramatic December decline, and a relatively smaller increase in January to date. The high water mark on December 3rd was just a hair over 0.58%, so I think that was the top.

Here is PA with a nice 2 week decline, then a smaller increase in January.

Here is Colorado – with less than ½ the COVID they had in late November.

Here is Illinois, similar to Colorado – dramatic recovery for 6 weeks, and relatively smaller increase in January.

Here is Wisconsin, same pattern.

Here is Alabama, with strong growth in January, and now at 0.61%. This “should be” near the top.

And Tennessee… The peak on December 21st was at 0.91%, so don’t expect further growth.

Here is Ohio – big declines since mid-December, then a smaller climb in January.

Here is Indiana, following our now familiar pattern.

And finally, here is South Dakota, with about one quarter of the COVID they had in November.

So that’s it for today. Until the holiday data settles down, take all this with a grain of salt. We’ll know a great deal more next week.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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COVID Archives

Two Months Left, Then the End of COVID

Happy last day of the year – I’ll do the full rundown on the numbers below, but first here are my thoughts on what we’ll see next year. Let’s start with what we know now that we didn’t last March – I’d say there are two major revelations.

  • COVID is far less deadly than most people thought last spring. I did my first mortality calculations in April, where I calculated a blended mortality rate of about 0.5%, but I was nearly alone in this thinking. By summer, nearly everyone agreed with my numbers, and now it’s common knowledge that the overall mortality rate is a bit below 0.5%, and the mortality rate for those under age 60 is flu-like.
  • COVID is far more prevalent than anyone thought at the beginning. Because testing throughout the spring was focused on those displaying symptoms, a vast number of mild or asymptomatic cases were missed. Studies from antibody testing, autopsies, and non-related blood tests showed a prevalence to reported ratio of anywhere from 10 to 50. I do believe that the prevalence to reported ratio has steadily fallen, and I estimate it’s in the 3x range now (based on triangulating from mortality data).

This early view, that of a deadly disease with few cases, led to containment strategies – tracing and lockdowns. But we now know we’ve been battling a far more widespread, but far less deadly disease. Containment strategies have not been effective. In fact, my working theory for months now is that the disease reaches a saturation point in any given population, and then declines, irrespective of containment measures. Early on I estimated this saturation point was known active cases equal to 1/3 to ½ of one percent of the population, but now I think it’s more like ½ to 2/3 of one percent, primarily as a result of the falling prevalence to reported ratio. I believe the reason for the population ceiling is that’s when the disease begins to become resource constrained (herd immunity). For more on this, see my discussion below from August 2, 2020.

So what does this mean for 2020? Of course, the biggest news is the vaccine rollout. My math tells me that we will need far less vaccine deployment to contain COVID than most of the experts are claiming. I think somewhere less than 100 million inoculated will do it. For more, see my December 9th discussion below. However, any additional inoculated people slows down COVID transmission. To see real declines, we don’t have to reach herd immunity – we just need the transmission rate (Rt) below 1.0. Every person who gains immunity, either through contracting COVID, or through inoculation, slows down the transmission rate. As a result, I predict that we’ll see COVID in rapid decline in 2 months’ time, by the end of February, and life will more or less return to normal by spring 2021. After springtime, we’ll still see breakouts in certain communities based on vaccine acceptance, but it will be even more geographically localized than it is now, and these clusters will burn out quickly.

We have already seen known active cases decline since mid-December. Here is the active case graph. Since mid-December, we’ve shed about a quarter million known active cases. Of the 22 states that I track, only one is still increasing – New York.

Let’s look at the peak numbers for the various states. All of the states from PA left have shown definitive peaks in November or December. Of the states to the right of PA, 5 states have peaked within the past week, so I don’t trust it’s over yet there. These are NC, SC, TX, GA, and VA. New York is still increasing, and NJ, FL, MA, and WA have peaked earlier. The brown line is the average of the high water marks, equal to 0.58%. My conclusion is that the states on the left have the worst behind them, and the states on the right may yet see more growth. Of course, in another 4 weeks we’ll start to see the effects of the vaccine rollout, but January could still be difficult for the states on the right side of the chart.

Below is the national daily death count. The brown line is my projection or peak deaths. This projection is based on 2.75 deaths per 1,000 known active cases with a 21-day lag. This data point has been very stable, but December has been slightly lower than the previous 4 months. As a result, my projection “might” be a little high, but we won’ know until about January 7th, when we’re confident the holiday backlog of death reporting catches up. In any event, I’m expecting daily deaths peak about January 7th or 8th, then begin declining. The current IHME model (updated December 23rd) is very close, projecting peak deaths on January 11th at about 4,000 per day, vs. my projection of about 4,100.

Individual States

Here is Arizona, a fairly strong decline since the peak on December 14.

SC has more than doubled since the beginning of December. It’s showing signs of leveling off, but still a bit low to have confidence in the peak.

Here is Florida – never reaching July levels, and now down since the 23rd. This could be just irregular reporting during the holiday – we’ll know by the end of next week. This will be true for several states that show declines in the past week, but not before.

California is also showing declines since December 22nd. We’ll have more confidence in this next week, but the peak is high enough to expect it will hold.

Georgia shows a peak on December 25th which could be solely due to holiday data reporting. The peak is also lower than average.

Texas data is a mess, so I can’t reliably interpret anything here. Texas added over 100,000 cases on a single day (Dec 11), which comprised new “probable” cases going back in history. They provided a new time series going back to November 1st only, so they show a huge spike on November 1st (completely unrealistic). As a result, I have no idea what is going on here.

Both VA and NC have declined lately, but no conclusions until next week when the reporting stabilizes.

Washington data is worse than Texas. They have seen a dramatic drop in 2 weeks, but here is the disclaimer (from the COVID Tracking Project):

On December 18th, Washington revised down their total test numbers from 3,432,892 to 2,765,404. This might relate to the current note on the dashboard, stating: “Today’s total case counts may include up to 1,000 duplicates. Negative test results data from November 21, 2020, through today are incomplete, as are positive test results from December 16, 2020, thus testing and case numbers should be interpreted with caution. The Epidemiologic Curves tab is the most accurate representation of COVID activity and is updated daily as new cases are identified and duplicates are resolved.” We are continuing to report the total tests to figure from Washington’s dashboard and will continue to investigate and adjust this figure if necessary.

On December 16, 2020, Washington added all Probable cases reported since June, 2020 to their data for December 16, 2020.

On December 11, 2020, Washington Deaths decreased from 3016 to 2850 with no explanation.

On December 5, 2020, Washington announced that up to 90 of the deaths reported “yesterday” were incorrectly classified and were not due to COVID-19.

Here are NY and NJ – NY continues growth, although slower than early December, while NJ is now in decline for 3 weeks.

Here is Massachusetts. Rapid post-thanksgiving growth, then gradual decline for 3 weeks.

…And here is Michigan, with a dramatic December decline. The high water mark was just a hair over 0.58%, so I think that was the top.

Here is PA with a nice 2 week decline.

Here is Colorado – with just about 1/3 the COVID they had in late November.

Here is Illinois, similar to Colorado – dramatic recovery over the past 6 weeks.

Here is Wisconsin, same pattern.

Here is Alabama, declining for a week, but we won’t know how to interpret this until next week sometime.

And Tennessee… Rapid decline beginning December 21st, and at a high level, so I think this is real.

Here is Ohio – big declines since mid-December.

Here is Indiana, declining since early December.

And finally, here is South Dakota, with about one-quarter of the COVID they had in November.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again next week sometime.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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COVID Archives

Peak deaths at 4100 per Day

The surge in cases after the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us in most places now. Most of the states I track are flat or in decline — the ones increasing are NY, CA, FL, SC, GA, and AL. States that flat are WA, NC, MA, TX, AZ, and TN. States that are in decline are NJ, VA, MI, PA, CO, IL, WI, OH, SD, and IN. The data for both WA and TX are a complete mess, so caveats there (more below).

I model that known active cases are now about 1.49 million, or 0.45% of the population. California is the big story lately. In the past 7 days, 1 out of every 5 new cases was from CA. California known active cases sit at 0.70% of the population, so I do expect it to level off any time now.

Below is the active case graph, where you can see the slowdown beginning on December 9th. I expect a continued slowing until early January when we observe the holiday fallout. I have no evidence for this, but do believe the Christmas surge will be less than Thanksgiving, as a driver of Thanksgiving results was the return home of college students – however, nearly all of them stayed home after Thanksgiving, so we won’t repeat this event. We’ll see.

Here is the national daily death count. Increasing as expected with wave 3. The brown line is my projection of daily deaths. My model is tracking pretty well with actual data. I’m expecting daily deaths to peak on January 7th at about 4,100 deaths per day. The IHME model again increased their projection with their December 17th revision, and is now more in line with mine – they are projecting peak daily deaths on January 6th at 3,778 deaths per day. That’s very close.

Here are the daily deaths per 1,000 active cases with the 21 day lag. We’re hoping to see this decline, but so far it’s still quite stable, which gives me confidence in my daily death projections.

Individual States

Here is Arizona, a fairly sharp drop in the past 5 days. That peak on Dec 14th is over 0.7% of the population, so it’s about time.

SC has more than doubled since the beginning of December. It’s now at 0.42% of the population, so could still have more to go.

Here is Florida – increasing steadily since the beginning of October, but not yet at the July peak levels. Miami is growing more slowly than the rest of the state, but I’d estimate that about 50% of the population in Miami has had COVID (9.8% confirmed rate multiplied by a prevalence factor of 5), so heard immunity is very close.

California has experienced a very fast growth rate since the beginning of the month. They are now at 0.70% of the population, so I do expect a reversal here at any time.

Georgia had quite a post-holiday surge, but is still only at 0.31% of the population, so we could yet see more growth.

Texas data is a mess, so I can’t reliably interpret anything here. Texas added over 100,000 cases on a single day (Dec 11), which comprised new “probable” cases going back in history. They provided a new time series going back to November 1st only, so they show a huge spike on November 1st (completely unrealistic). As a result, I have no idea what is going on here. All I want for Christmas is a little data discipline.

Both VA and NC have not fared well post-holiday, but look much better over the past week.

Washington data is worse than Texas. Here is commentary from the COVID Tracking Project – a modeler’s nightmare:

On December 18th, Washington revised down their total test numbers from 3,432,892 to 2,765,404. This might relate to the current note on the dashboard, stating: “Today’s total case counts may include up to 1,000 duplicates. Negative test results data from November 21, 2020, through today are incomplete, as are positive test results from December 16, 2020, thus testing and case numbers should be interpreted with caution. The Epidemiologic Curves tab is the most accurate representation of COVID activity and is updated daily as new cases are identified and duplicates are resolved.” We are continuing to report the total tests figure from Washington’s dashboard and will continue to investigate and adjust this figure if necessary.

On December 16, 2020, Washington added all Probable cases reported since June 2020 to their data for December 16, 2020.

On December 11, 2020, Washington Deaths decreased from 3016 to 2850 with no explanation.

On December 5, 2020, Washington announced that up to 90 of the deaths reported “yesterday” were incorrectly classified and were not due to COVID-19.

Here are NY and NJ – NY continues growth, although slower than early December, while NJ is now in decline for 9 days.

Here is Massachusetts. Rapid post-thanksgiving growth, then flat for the past 10 days.

…And here is Michigan, with a rapid December decline. The high water mark was just a hair over 0.58%, so I think that was the top.

PA has seen rapid post-holiday growth, but slower and flatter for the past 11 days.

Here is Colorado – impressive decline over the past month.

Here is Illinois, similar to Colorado — down significantly over the past 5 weeks.

Here is Wisconsin, same pattern.

Here is Alabama, rapid post-holiday growth, then slowing just a bit over the past 2 weeks.

And Tennessee… Rapid decline over a couple of days. We’ll see if this continues.

Here is Ohio – significant post-holiday bump, then right back down again.

Here is Indiana, up after Thanksgiving, and then back down.

And finally, here is South Dakota, down over 60% from the peak.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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COVID Archives

When Will This Be Over?

So now that we’re on the cusp of a vaccine for COVID, this is the question everyone is asking. As you know if you’ve been reading my reports since March, I primarily report on known active cases, which I derive by modeling new cases and recovery rates. I do speculate from time to time on the “why” as well as the “what” from a mathematical viewpoint. A common theme of these reports is the observation that most geographical areas seem to hit a prevalence ceiling, where known active cases reach a limit (usually between 1/3 and ½ of one percent of the population, then recede. We’ve seen this in wave 1 (the Northeastern states), and again in wave 2 (the sunbelt states), and during the current wave 3 with a number of the midwestern and western states. I have hypothesized that this behavior occurs because a significant percentage of the population (varies by area) has some resistance to the disease. There have been a number of articles to back this up, finding an innate resistance to COVID from T-Cell cross-reactivity. In other words, if you’ve had other corona viruses (most notably the common cold), you may have some level of COVID resistance. Researchers vary on the percentage of people with innate resistance, but numbers range from 20 to 50% of the population (see my discussion from August 2nd near the end of this report).

If this is true (I think it is, as it explains the ceiling phenomenon), then herd immunity may be closer than many think. Let’s look at some numbers. There are about 330 million people in the United States. Sometime today, we crossed 15 million known cases domestically. Way back in the spring and early summer, antibody studies revealed a total prevalence to reported ratio of about 10 to 1. I can’t believe that this ratio is as high today with testing running nearly 2 million per day, so I’m going to ballpark the current number at ½ that, or 5 to 1. With that assumption, roughly 75 million Americans have or have had COVID. If we add to that the number of people with innate resistance (I’ll use the mid-range number of 35%) that’s another 116 million people, for a total of 191 million people with some level of immunity. That is about 58% of the population. The current run rate of new cases is about 1.4 million a week. If this continues for the next month (It could attenuate somewhat after the Thanksgiving bump), that’s another 5.6 million cases, which when hit with the prevalence multiplier is another 28 million people with immunity. So with that, we’d expect a total of about 219 million people with some level of resistance to the disease by early January. That brings us to 66% of the population, very close to herd immunity, if not already there.

Now, on to the vaccines. A lot will depend on the public policy in the various states as to who receives vaccinations first. If you vaccinate congregate living residents first, I think you’ll have the greatest impact on deaths, but not the greatest impact on cases, since this demographic is a high proportion of deaths, but a much smaller proportion of new cases. If you wanted to decrease the new case count the fastest, vaccinating young people would be most effective. In any event, let’s assume that vaccinations are uniformly distributed amongst those that already have COVID resistance and those that do not. It makes sense to me that those that have had COVID would not be vaccinated until the tail end, but I have no idea whether that will happen. So for every 100 people vaccinated, 66 will already have some immunity, and 34 will be those susceptible to COVID. With that in mind, it would only take 87 million vaccinated Americans to reach 75% resistance, which, depending on who you read, is in the ballpark of herd immunity. Now I’ve made a lot of assumptions here, and this is admittedly speculative, but in the absence of better data, I think this is a reasonable analysis.

In this nascent stage, the rollout numbers for vaccinations are all over the map, but it looks like we could reach herd immunity by the end of February. I’ll continue to report during this phase, as it will be interesting to see when meaningful decline takes place.

Now, on to the numbers…

We had quite a surge of cases after the Thanksgiving holiday, bigger than I expected. It’s already leveling, so hopefully it’s confined to the holiday fallout. It didn’t happen everywhere – of the states I track, the ones increasing rapidly are NY, CA, NC, VA, SC, MA, AZ, and OH. I model that known active cases are now about 1.43 million, or 0.43% of the population.

Here is the national daily death count. Increasing as expected with wave 3. The brown line is my projection of daily deaths, based on 2.75 deaths per 1,000 known active cases and a 21 day lag. I’m expecting daily deaths to crest at the end of December at more than 3,900 deaths per day. The IHME model increased their projection as of December 3rd, and is now projecting peak daily deaths on January 13th at 2,967 deaths per day. I’m still expecting an earlier, but higher peak.

Here are the daily deaths per 1,000 active cases with the 21 day lag. We’re hoping to see this decline, but so far it’s still quite stable, which gives me confidence in my daily death projections.

Daily reported test results are now in the 1.75 million per day range. The U.S. has now reported over 209 million tests.

Individual States

Here is Arizona, continuing to increase rapidly, but leveling off today (just one day, though). At 0.56% of the population, this is higher than I thought it would go.

SC has seen quite the post-holiday surge. It’s now at 0.36% of the population.

Here is Florida – a bit of a post-holiday increase, then flat.

California looks scary – growing very fast for 9 days. They are now at 0.44% of the population.

Georgia had quite a post-holiday surge, but is still only at 0.28% of the population. A bit of a drop today, however.

Texas experienced growth after the holiday, but now declining again. The peak a few days ago was at 0.31%.

Both VA and NC have not fared well post-holiday. VA is at 0.29%, and NC is at 0.37%.

NC daily deaths are now increasing, as expected. I’m projecting a peak daily death count of just over 100 in the first week of January.

Washington has been roughly flat for 2 weeks. The peak on November 30th was at 0.28%, still a bit low.

Here are NY and NJ – NY continues rapid growth, while we see slower growth in NJ.

Here is Massachusetts. Rapid growth since November 30. Now at 0.36%.

…And here is Michigan, gradually declining over the past 2 ½ weeks. The high water mark was just a hair over 0.58%, so I think that was the top.

PA has seen rapid post-holiday growth, but flat for today. They are at 0.55% of the population, so I believe this should be the peak.

Here is Colorado – Down significantly until the holiday, then flat.

Here is Illinois, similar to Colorado — down significantly until the holiday weekend, then flat.

Here is Wisconsin, same pattern.

Here is Alabama, rapid post-holiday growth, then slowing over the past few days.

And Tennessee… Rapid decline over the second half of November, and now up again.

Here is Ohio – significant post-holiday bump.

Here is Indiana, up after Thanksgiving, but now flat to declining.

And finally, here is South Dakota, way down from the top and continuing to decline.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again on Monday or Tuesday.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

Categories
COVID Archives

Is COVID Stable, Increasing, or Decreasing in your State?

Nationally, wave 3 crested on November 25th. Since then, modeled active cases have declined by about 78,000, or 6.4%. However, testing reports did decline over the Thanksgiving weekend, so I suspect we have one more day of catchup, so these numbers could see an increase tomorrow, before getting back on track by Friday. On top of this, we’ll know next week if we have a “wavelet” from the Thanksgiving holiday. We have not seen surges from other holiday weekends (July 4, Labor Day), so I don’t expect much change.

Of the states that I track, 5 states are still increasing (NY, AZ, TN, MA, and AL), 10 states are stable (NJ, CA, NC, FL, SC, TX, OH, GA, MI, and PA), and 7 states are in decline (CO, IL, WI, IN, SD, WA, and VA).

Here is the picture of modeled known active cases nationally. You can see the peak on November 25. I model 1.13 million known active cases. I expect this to increase modestly tomorrow as the reporting catches up.

Here is the national daily death count. Increasing as expected with wave 3. The brown line is my projection of daily deaths, based on 2.75 deaths per 1,000 known active cases and a 21 day lag. I’m expecting daily deaths to crest around December 16th at about 3,300 daily deaths. The IHME model projects a daily death peak on January 8th, at 2,562 daily deaths (we were above that today), but they haven’t updated their projection since November 19. I’m expecting an earlier, but higher peak.

Here are the daily deaths per 1,000 active cases with the 21 day lag. We’re hoping to see this decline, but so far it’s been stable for months. I started this graph just after wave 2, so we can look at it a little more closely.

We continue to see a steady march upward in daily test reports, with a flattening over the holiday. I expect this will pop back up tomorrow. We saw record testing just before the holiday, I suspect from a rash of asymptomatic testing prior to Thanksgiving travel. I think we’ll see a bump in testing post-holiday travel as well.

Individual States

Here is Arizona, continuing to increase rapidly. AZ surpassed its wave 2 peak, and is now at 0.41% of the population. I don’t expect this state to get above about 34,000 active cases.

SC has been flat for a week, and still below its wave 2 peak.

Here is Florida – flat for 12 days now.

Same with California – a five day halt in rapid growth. The peak is low, so I’m afraid there is more growth to come here.

Georgia has been flat for nearly 2 weeks now.

Texas arrested its growth about 6 days ago. The peak on November 26th was at 0.28% of the population. This number has proven a little low for a peak, so I’m expecting a bit more growth here.

VA has seen a 3 day decline, and NC has been flat for 10 days.

Here is the daily death report for NC, with no real movement in trend for nearly 4 months. NC did report a record death day today, however.

A big drop in Washington over the past 3 days. Still less than 0.20% of the population, so I don’t think this decline will hold, but I hope it does.

Here are NY and NJ – NY continues rapid growth, while we see a welcome stability in NJ.

Here is Massachusetts. Roughly flat for two weeks now. Let’s hope this is the top.

…And here is Michigan, down from the peak and now flat. The high water mark was just a hair over 0.5%, so I think this is the top.

PA has seen the rapid growth disappear. The peak on November 28th was at 0.37% of the population, so I think this is the peak.

Here is Colorado – Down significantly from their peak 11 days ago.

Here is Illinois, down significantly from 15 days ago.

Here is Wisconsin, down remarkably from the November 19th peak.

Here is Alabama, continuing to increase, now at 0.36% of the population. Based on this, I expect it to turn around shortly.

And Tennessee… Rapid decline over the second half of November, and now up again. This one should reach the top soon as well.

I believe Ohio has seen the top, based on the magnitude of the peak.

Here is Indiana, peaking 12 days ago.

And finally, here is South Dakota, down over 40% from the top.

 

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again on Monday or Tuesday.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

Categories
COVID Archives

Wave 3 is cresting now…

The COVID Tracking Project data is coming on line later at night than it used to be, so that throws me off my schedule a bit – unless this changes, I’ll continue to write my report a little earlier, based on the previous day’s data.

Nationally, wave 3 is cresting now. Of the states that I track (now 22 states plus Sweden), 9 states are still increasing (NY, CA, NC, VA, GA, PA, TX, AZ, and OH), NJ is increasing moderately, and 12 states are level or declining (WA, FL, MA, SC, MI, CO, IL, AL, WI, TN, SD, and IN). As promised, I’ve added South Dakota to mix, which by the way crested and is now declining rapidly (see discussion below). I’ve included a full report on all the tracked states today.

Here is the picture of modeled known active cases nationally. You can see the inflection point, and it looks like the top of wave 3 is forming. I model 1.18 million known active cases, which is about 0.36% of the population. There are still areas of the country that have not reached peak saturation, but there are not many population centers left that haven’t reached the vicinity of critical mass.

Here is the national daily death count. Increasing as expected with wave 3. The brown line is my projection of daily deaths, based on 2.75 deaths per 1,000 known active cases and a 21 day lag. I’m going to leave this projection on the graph without change (except that I’ll keep projecting 21 days out, extending the projection by one day each day) to see how the algorithm fares. I’m expecting daily deaths to crest around December 13th at about 3,200 daily deaths. The IHME model projects a daily death peak on January 8th, at 2,562 daily deaths. I’m expecting an earlier, but higher peak.

Here are the daily deaths per 1,000 active cases with the 21-day lag. We’re hoping to see this decline, but so far it’s been stable for months.

We continue to see a steady march upward in daily test reports. It’s been over a month since we’ve see a sub-million day. We set a new record on November 21st with over 2 million reports.

Individual States

Here is Arizona, continuing to increase rapidly. AZ is about to surpass its wave 2 peak, which was about 0.37% of the population. I don’t expect this state to get above about 34,000 active cases.

SC has been slowing declining over the past 4 days. Let’s hope this continues.

Here is Florida – Just a couple of day halt in the growth, so I put it in the flat category, but it’s just a few days, so we’ll see if this continues.

Same with California – a several day halt in the growth – that peak is just 0.2% of the population, so I’m afraid there is more growth to come here.

Georgia is still growing — Georgia hit a high of 0.25% of the population back in July. Again, more growth to come I believe.

Texas has been growing rapidly since mid-October. It sits now at 0.25% of the population. This number has proven a little low for a peak, so I’m expecting a bit more growth here.

VA and NC tend to mirror each other, and this is certainly proving true now. NC sits at 0.24% and VA at 0.19%. If the pattern holds, there will be more growth in both these states, but especially VA.

Here is the daily death report for NC, with no real movement for nearly 4 months. I do think we’ll see increases over the next 3 weeks.

Now some better news. A big drop in Washington over the past week. Still less than 0.20% of the population, so I don’t think this decline will hold, but I hope it does.

Here are NY and NJ – NY continues rapid growth, while we see some attenuation in NJ.

Here is Massachusetts. Flat for a week now. Let’s hope this is the top.

…And here is Michigan, slowing, and then turning around. The high water mark was just a hair over 0.5%, so I think this is the top.

PA is still ascending rapidly. They are at 0.35% of the population, so I think we’ll see the top over the next two weeks.

Here is Colorado — The beginnings of a nice turnaround here.

Here is Illinois. Declining for 10 days now. I like what I see here, and the peak was high enough to stick.

Here is Wisconsin. After making so many headlines, they look much better now.

Here is Alabama. Their data has been quite discontinuous, but looking better lately. Some of the new cases reported on November 14th were historical, which skews the graph.

And Tennessee… Rapid decline over the past week. The peak was at 0.46%, so I think this is it.

Ohio is still growing fast, but at 0.49%, I have to think the top is very near.

Here is Indiana. Improvement over the past 4 days, which I expect to continue.

And finally, here is South Dakota. A rapid ascent, and an equally rapid descent over the past 9 days. Many articles in the news about SD “out of control”. Now it looks like the worst is over here.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again just after the holiday, and as promised, I’ll revisit Sweden.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

Categories
COVID Archives

My first daily death projection

Back in April I never thought I’d be writing about COVID in November, but here we are. Nationally, new cases are setting records, but many of the wave 3 “hot spot” states are leveling or in actual decline. There is a lot happening with the numbers right now, so I’m going to report a bit more often, probably twice a week over the next few months. I think it’s important to analyze the high watermarks in the wave 3 states as they peak and decline, and it won’t be long before we start to see the effect of vaccinations on the numbers. I’m also going to write later this week about South Dakota (spoiler – it’s in decline), and an update on Sweden (also in decline).

Let’s start today’s discussion with a look at peak active cases by the state as a percentage of the population. I have long written about my theory that COVID peaks at a low % of the population (I’ve said between ¼ and ½ of a percent) and then declines. This has been borne out by observing wave 1 in April and wave 2 in July. For just a bit of background, here is the introduction from my report on August 6, 2020, a bit over 3 months ago.

I’ve talked a lot over the past weeks about how COVID known active cases tend to peak in the range of 0.25% to 0.50% of the population in a given area, then decline. For the longest time, it has puzzled me. However, I’ve been seeing more and more theories about full or partial immunity in a large swath of the population. Although I know little about medicine, this is quite congruent with the data, so I tend to believe it has some validity. Here is an article published today on CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, postulating that as much as 50% of the population carries some level of built-in resistance to COVID: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html

This may be the missing piece of the puzzle. I’m seeing a ceiling in known active cases of, let’s say 1/3 of one percent. Now bear with me for a little arithmetic — When a location reaches this threshold, roughly 5 times the active case count has confirmed positive, so that means something over 1.5% of the population has been confirmed to have had COVID. However, we know that the actual prevalence of the disease is a large multiple of known cases. There is quite a range here based on the various antibody studies, but the average consensus seems to be about 10x. Assuming that, when a locality reaches the ceiling, perhaps 15% of the population has had COVID in total. If we add this 15% to 50% of the population that has some level of innate immunity, we have 65%, which is right in the range of herd immunity.

Let’s see how it looks today. Here are the 18 states I track with their peak known active cases as a percent of the population:

The horizontal line is the 0.50% of the population mark, where I’ve hypothesized that the COVID population ceiling exists. However, we have several states above this level. Of these, the first four on the left (WI, CO, IL, IN), have recently slowed, leveled, and 3 of them have begun their decline. Of the remaining states, most have had their high watermark in the past, but may still be growing or not (see details below). The only states that set new high water marks yesterday are OH, PA, TX, MI, VA, CA, and NJ. Of these, MI and NJ are now slowing.

So we’re still seeing known active cases turn around at a fairly low level of the population, although a bit higher than I first theorized. I believe this is because we are now “discovering” a higher percentage of actual COVID cases than we were in wave 1 and wave 2. You might remember that reported cases represent a fraction of the total prevalence of COVID. Random testing studies from April to August point to a prevalence to a reported ratio in the 10 – 20 range. I used two of these studies back in late April to make my initial calculations of mortality rates, which, by the way, still seem to be valid. (See my mortality rate discussion at the bottom of this report from April 28th). The problem for those of us mathematical modelers is that we haven’t seen any robust domestic random test studies since August. Many experts are still using the factor of 10 as rule of thumb for prevalence to reported case ratio, but could this still be reasonable? Back during wave 2 in July, we had a reasonable idea that a factor of 10 was in the ballpark. That means that my hypothesized ceiling of known active cases at 0.50% would translate to about 5.0% of “true” active cases. However, we now have a cumulative total of about 12 million reported cases. Are we to believe that this implies that over 120,000,000 Americans have or have had COVID? That would be 1 out of every 3 people. I don’t think so. I have to believe that the prevalence to reported ratio is lower now, due to ubiquitous testing. Take a look at the daily reported test numbers.

Back in July, we were reporting daily test results in the 750,000 range. However, yesterday we set a new record of just under 2 million reported tests. I do believe that any given new COVID case is more likely to be “known” than it was in July. If this is true, then we’d expect to see higher percentages of the population at peak than we saw in wave 2. In any event, the states on the left side of my high watermark graph are all turning around, so I think the general behavior still holds.

My first daily death projection

I’ve often shown you this calculation, which is daily deaths in the U.S. per 1,000 modeled active cases.

Here we see continued declines in this metric for the past 9 weeks. From this we can conclude that the disease is far less deadly than it was in wave 1 back in April. But can we conclude that wave 3 is less deadly than wave 2? Not necessarily. We know that, with some lag time, cases predict hospitalizations, and hospitalizations predict deaths. Although it has not been true for wave 1, during wave 2 we learned that deaths lag cases by about 3 weeks. Now look what happens when we calculate daily deaths per 1,000 modeled active cases, but with a 21-day lag:

Now that’s remarkable. The metric is very stable since wave 2, averaging about 2.75 deaths per day per 1,000 modeled known active cases. As of yesterday, I model 1,167,945 known active cases. From that, I project about 3,200 cases per day 21 days from now. Interestingly, the latest IHME model update is projecting 2,200 daily deaths by December 12, about 2/3 of my projection. I hope to be wrong.

Well, I think that’s a lot for today. I’ll report all the various stats in my next report in a few days, but for now, I’ll just show the progress in the 4 wave 3 hotspot states in some state of improvement.

Wisconsin

It was just recently that Wisconsin was the most troublesome are of the country. After rapid growth, the state began leveling a bit over a week ago.

Colorado

Here the slowdown is only a few days old, but Colorado is now at 0.70% of the population, so I’m inclined to believe the slowing will continue.

Illinois

Illinois has been in decline for 8 days now, and at 0.69% of the population, it makes sense.

Indiana

Indiana began slowing 8 days ago and saw it’s first actual decline yesterday. Indiana is at about 0.66% of the population.

Well, that’s all for today. In my next report, I’ll go through the complete slate of stats, as well as a report on Sweden.

Cheers.

Shane Chalke, FSA

Categories
COVID Archives

Cases increase rapidly, deaths do not

Cases continue to increase at quite a pace, but not evenly distributed across the U.S. As I mentioned in my last report, the first wave in April was centered in the Northeast, while the second wave in July was all about the sunbelt. This third wave is centered in the Midwest, but more dispersed than wave 1 and 2. Of the states I’m tracking, I’d say that WA, NY, NJ, CA, MA, MI, TX, PA, CO, IL, WI, OH, TN, and IN are increasing rapidly. VA, FL, AZ, are increasing at a slower pace, and NC, SC, GA, and AL have been relatively flat. Here is what the new daily reported case count looks like. Over the past week, new cases are a good 50% over what they were during wave 2.

Let’s look at the known active case curve. We’re now at about 789,000 active cases, well over the wave 2 peak of 468,000. If Wave 3 behaves like 1 and 2, I suspect it will peak soon, and then begin the march downward.

Part of the rise in daily cases is driven by the rise in asymptomatic testing. We’re now in the 1.4 million per day range. band. When wave 3 began, we were testing about 800,000 per day. So testing has increased 75% since that time, but new cases have tripled. I believe that increased testing explains less than 40% of the increase in cases.

As predicted, we’re seeing an increase in daily deaths, but as with wave 2, a very small increase in daily deaths in comparison to the increase in active cases.

Here is a closer look at daily deaths over the past 5 weeks. You can see the upward trend, but it’s quite mild in comparison to the very rapid increase in cases.

A more effective measure of mortality is the daily deaths per active case. We’re seeing a steady fall in death rate since mid-September. I believe this is caused partly by improved medical results, but primarily by demographics. Those infected are skewing younger, and the young have a negligible effect on mortality. I do expect an increase in this metric as well, primarily because deaths lag cases by 2-3 weeks. So we’ll see deaths continue to rise even when cases begin falling again which pushes this metric up. We don’t see it yet, however, which is a small silver lining.

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.

Individual States

Here is Arizona. They changed their reporting protocol on September 17 to add the results of antigen testing. Part of the upward drift since then is a result of this definitional change. Arizona continues with a fraction of the COVID they had in July.

SC has been relatively flat for over 2 months, with a slow drift upwards over the past 2 weeks. 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 – down dramatically from the top, and drifting upwards for over a month now. I find it interesting that Miami is relatively flat – they were a big driver of Florida results during wave 2.

California active cases have doubled over the past 3 weeks, although the numbers are still small for a state with 40 million people. CA peaked at a low 0.17% of the population, so we won’t be surprised if this continues to increase. As always, I need to report that California is one of the states that counts tests rather than people, so there is some overcounting here.

Georgia is still doing pretty well in comparison to most other states. Georgia hit a high of 0.25% of the population. Note here again, the case numbers are exaggerated. Georgia counts each positive test as a case (according to The COVID Tracking Project).

In my last report I said that “Texas is rising again, and peaked at 0.235% of the population (a little low), so it wouldn’t surprise me if we some more growth here.” Well, it’s happening now. Texas has more than doubled their known active cases in less than a month. Note that Texas also reports positive tests as cases, so is doing some level of double counting (per The COVID Tracking Project).

Now this is interesting. NC has flattened out over the past week (good news), while VA continues to grow. That bump in NC numbers at the end of September is NC reporting an additional 4,563 “probable” cases on September 25th.

Here is the daily death report for NC, reporting a record for daily deaths on November 3rd, but otherwise flat for over 3 months now.

Washington has had so many reporting protocol changes it’s difficult to interpret this graph, but even through all the data fog I’d say it’s increasing rapidly. Still at a small 0.116% of the population, so I think there is more to come.

Here are NY and NJ – Significant percentage increases in both NY and NJ. NY is well under their April numbers, but NJ is now at about 60% of their peak.

Here is Massachusetts. Growing rapidly, and now at about 75% of the April peak.

…And here is Michigan, clearly growing fast. They sit now at 0.339% of the population, so I expect a turnaround here soon.

PA is also growing, as expected. They are still at only .174% of the population, so I believe there is more to come.

Here is Colorado, at a new peak. A little slowing in the past few days, and they are now at 0.36% of the population, so I think this will turn soon as well.

Here is our first look at Illinois. The very definition of the word “spike”. Now at 0.53% of the population, I think they’re close to the ceiling.

Here is Wisconsin. They now hold the record for population peak. No sign of slowdown yet, but I believe this state will hit the ceiling very soon.

Here is Alabama. Fairly flat until the end of October, then a spike (I don’t know why yet), and then fairly flat.

And Tennessee… growing fast, and now at 0.34% of the population. Should be near the top soon.

Ohio is also growing fast, and sits at 0.28% of the population, so I’m sadly expecting a bit more growth here.

And finally, here is Indiana. They stand at 0.435% of the population. I expect a slowing here soon.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again in a week or so (longer if absolutely nothing changes, shorter if we see developments).

–Shane Chalke, FSA

Categories
COVID Archives

Does More Cases Mean More Deaths?

On Saturday over 83,000 new cases were reported in the U.S. That’s a new record, more than 6,000 cases higher than the previous peak on July 17. Here is the daily new case count:

Where is this happening, and what does it mean? Let’s start by looking at geography. There were 13 states that each had more than 2,000 new cases. These 13 states made up 57% of all new cases. Here they are:

Texas and California are at the top, then Illinois and Wisconsin. Since these states are where the current volume is, I’ve added the 6 states here that I didn’t follow to my model starting today (IL, WI, AL, TN, OH, IN). Of course, the more important thing to look at is the active case curve, which I show for 21 states below. Texas and California are our 2 highest population states, so even if case counts were evenly distributed, these two states would show the highest new cases. However, the media reports new cases (and occasionally daily deaths when they are high), so I’m leading with this.

Of more interest to me is the high water mark for each state with respect to known active cases. Again and again, we’ve seen the pattern where a geographical area reaches a certain threshold as a percentage of the population, and then declines rapidly. This threshold is in the range of 1/3 of one percent. Let’s look at the high water marks for the 21 states I’m following now:

The brown horizontal bar is set at the 1/3 of one percent threshold. Many of these states have already reached definitive peaks, and some are setting high water marks now. It is the states on the right side of this chart that worry me. Wisconsin surprises me with a new population percentage record at 0.51%, and at this level I fully expect it will begin its decline shortly. With state to state mobility at very low levels, we are a collection of individual state patterns. In April we saw the Northeastern states with the most volume, then in July the sunbelt, and now the middle of the country. I’ll keep modeling these 21 states to see where each stands on the curve.

In other news, the folks at IHME updated their model on October 22nd, and again decreased their daily death projection. The October 15th revision projected 2,149 daily deaths by year end, and the October 22nd revision now projects 2,042. They’ve had a long string of downward revisions, so not sure what to make of this. The surveys on mask use that they model from show current mask use at 68%, which is an all-time high in the U.S. I believe that mask use is a key independent variable in their model.

Let’s look at the known active case curve. We’re now at about 465,000 active cases, just a hair less than the Wave 2 peak of 468,000. If Wave 3 behaves like 1 and 2, I suspect it will peak in the next couple of weeks, and then begin the march downward.

Part of the rise in daily cases is driven by the rise in asymptomatic testing. We’re now solidly in the 1 to 1.2 million per day band. Just 3 weeks ago testing was in the 800K to 1 million range. As I said in my last report, the increase in testing would explain about a 10,000 per day increase in reported cases, but that’s only a part of the increase we’ve seen lately.

As predicted, we’re seeing the first signs of an increase in daily deaths. We had our first 4 figure daily death report for the month of October on Thursday. I expect we’ll see a 3 week swell in the daily death rate, then begin the slow march downward again.

A more effective measure of mortality is the daily deaths per active case. I expect an increase in this metric as well, primarily because deaths lag cases by 2-3 weeks. So we’ll see deaths continue to rise even when cases begin falling again which pushes this metric up.

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.

Individual States

Here is Arizona. They changed their reporting protocol on September 17 to add the results of antigen testing. Part of the upward drift since then is a result of this definitional change. Arizona continues with a fraction of the COVID they had in July.

 

SC has been relatively flat for over 2 months. 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 – down dramatically from the top, and drifting upwards for 12 days now. Note that Miami is no longer the key driver of the state’s results.

California has increased over the last 5 days. CA peaked at a low 0.17% of the population, so we won’t be surprised if this continues to increase. As always, I need to report that California is one of the states that counts tests rather than people, so there is some overcounting here.

Georgia is still doing pretty well. Relatively stable for the past 3 weeks. Georgia hit a high of 0.25% of the population. Note here again, the case numbers are exaggerated. Georgia counts each positive test as a case (according to The COVID Tracking Project).

Texas reported nearly 22,000 historical cases around September 23rd, and that caused the big bump at the end of the September. Texas is rising again, and peaked at 0.235% of the population (a little low), so it wouldn’t surprise me if we some more growth here. Note that Texas also reports positive tests as cases, so is doing some level of double counting (per The COVID Tracking Project).

NC and VA have tended to track each other, but NC reported an additional 4,563 “probable” cases on September 25th, and subsequent to that is growing faster than Virginia. NC has started to flatten out over the past week, but only ever hit 0.137% of the population, which worries me.

Here is the daily death report for NC, flat for 3 months now.

Washington has had so many reporting protocol changes it’s difficult to interpret this graph, but even through all the data fog I’d say it’s clearly increasing. Washington peaked at only 0.073% of the population, so I think there is more to come.

Here are NY and NJ – Significant percentage increases in both NY and NJ, albeit from small numbers. New York has leveled off over the past 17 days, while NJ continues to grow.

Here is Massachusetts. Like NY, they have a significant percentage increase in active cases, but again, on top of a small base. Growth is slow here, but has accelerated over the past 3 days.

…And here is Michigan, clearly growing fast. They sit now at 0.145% of the population, still nowhere near the ceiling.

PA is also growing, as expected. The peak was very low (0.091% of the population), so I believe there is more to come.

And finally, here is Colorado, at a new peak. It’s still only 0.143% of the population, so more to come I’m afraid.

Here is our first look at Illinois. The very definition of the word “spike”. Still at only 0.23% of the population, but getting closer to the ceiling.

Here is Wisconsin. Again, growing very fast, and already at 0.51% of the population. I believe this state will hit the ceiling very soon.

Here is Alabama. Fairly flat until yesterday. I’m guessing this is a data anomaly, but haven’t researched it yet. Every time we’ve seen one of these one day dramatic increases, it’s been a historical data dump or a case redefinition.

Our first look at Tennessee… growing fast, and now at 0.26% of the population. Should be near the top soon.

Ohio is also growing fast, and sits at just 0.13% of the population, so I’m sadly expecting more growth here.

And finally, here is Indiana. Once again, growing fast, and still not terribly close to the ceiling. They stand at just 0.215% of the population.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again in a week or so (longer if absolutely nothing changes, shorter if we see developments).

–Shane Chalke, FSA

Categories
COVID Archives

Is this the 3rd wave?

Well, the 3rd Wave is all the news. Nationally, active cases are definitively increasing. I model that we’ve added 52,000 known active cases since my last report one week ago. Here are new daily cases. Steady increases for about 3 weeks. We’re not at July peak levels yet, but we’re not far off.

Here is the graph of known active cases. We’re sitting at just a hair over 400,000 cases nationally. We peaked in July at 468,000. You can see the first wave which peaked in April, the second wave which peaked in July, and the steady line up defining the third wave.

So the big question is: Will this be a repeat of July, not as bad, or something worse. Remember that the 1st wave was the deadliest, albeit with less than ½ the active cases of wave 2. So far, this 3rd wave looks a bit different. Look at the slope of the curve in wave 2 verses wave 3 below:

Cumulative case growth rates were in the 2% range during Wave 2, and about 0.75% during the current wave. Wave 3 is happening slower than Wave 2 (at least so far).

I’ve talked at length about the “population ceiling”, where active cases reach a hard ceiling in the range of 0.25% to 0.4% of the population, then begin a decided decline. I mention this again, because the three Waves have been in different geographical areas. The first Wave was predominantly in the Northeast, the second Wave was in the Sun Belt, and the third Wave is dominated by the Midwest. Of the 15 states that I track, here is the high water mark as a percentage of the population for each one as of yesterday (the horizonal bar is the average of the 15 states). Note that we have quite a few states that never reached the population ceiling.

Of the 15 states, the ones that I would refer to as “spiking” (you can see all the individual state graphs below and form your own opinion) are Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Look where they lie on this chart:

I’ve repeatedly pointed out the various states that peaked at a low percentage of the population, and speculated that there would be more to come. I do think that this is, at least in part, what is happening now. I believe that the Wave 3 states will grow until they, as well, hit the population ceiling.

Of course, part of the rise is the ubiquitous campus testing, and a bit of it is always historical cases reported as new. Here is what daily testing looks like. We’re yet again in a new band of testing. We averaged about 800,000 reported tests per day from the middle of July to the middle of September. Now million test days are common, and we’ve seen 2 days of over 1.2 million. That rise of about 25% would explain daily cases increasing from 40,000 to 50,000, but doesn’t explain it all. In the past 12 days we’ve averaged 55,000 cases per day, verses 42,800 in the preceding 12 days. So we’re definitely seeing an increase in the underlying disease, although it’s not uniform as you’ll see from the individual state results below.

The next question is what will happen to mortality… So far, we’re still seeing a gradual decline in daily deaths since about mid-August. You can see the very deadly Wave 1, the less deadly Wave 2, and no effect yet from Wave 3. The decline is slow and subtle, but we haven’t seen a 1,000 death day since September.

If we start the graph on September 1st, the pattern is a bit more obvious:

I maintain that a more effective measure of death rates is the daily deaths per 1,000 cases. Here is what that looks like – high mortality during the first Wave, and much lower during the second Wave. We are still trending downward since the middle of September, but where will it go from here? To the extent that the increase in case volume is predominately among the young, I would think we’ll continue to see a decline, as COVID below age 60 has little impact on daily deaths. However, we do see an upward trend in hospitalizations, and that disturbs me. Hospitalization is a reasonable predictor of mortality, so I’m thinking we’ll see a swell in daily deaths over the next 3 weeks. We observed in Wave 2 that the increase in deaths from about 500 per day to over 1,000 per day happened 1 to 3 weeks after active case peak.

More on the individual states below – here are the daily stats.

  • Modeled known active cases in U.S. 401,030
  • Likely date of active case peak (Chalke modeling): July 23
  • Likely date of peak deaths (IHME): January 17 (last revision on October 15)
  • Total Test Results reported today: 1,200,056 (very high)
  • National reported case Growth Rate today: 0.70% (very 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.

Individual States

Here is Arizona. They changed their reporting protocol on September 17 to add the results of antigen testing. I believe the upward drift since then is a result of this definitional change. Arizona continues with a fraction of the COVID they had in July.

SC has been relatively flat for nearly 2 months. 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 – down dramatically from the top, and fairly flat for 6 weeks. Note that Miami is no longer the key driver of the state’s results.

California has not materially changed in over a month. As always, I need to report that California is one of the states that counts tests rather than people, so there is some overcounting here.

Georgia is still doing pretty well. Relatively stable for the past 3 weeks. Georgia hit a high of 0.25% of the population, so I’d be surprised to see any real increases here. GA is now down 64% from the peak. Note here again, the case numbers are exaggerated. Georgia counts each positive test as a case (according to The COVID Tracking Project).

Texas reported nearly 22,000 historical cases around September 23rd, and this skews the data. Note that Texas also reports positive tests as cases, so is doing some level of double counting (per The COVID Tracking Project).

NC and VA have tended to track each other, but NC reported an additional 4,563 “probable” cases on September 25th, and subsequent to that is growing faster than Virginia. North Carolina hit a new high water mark yesterday, but is still at only 0.137% of the population.

Here is the daily new case count for NC – you can see the anomaly. I should point out that this is not the fault of NC. They simply report the total each day, and the new totals are picked up by the reporting sites and catalogued as new. Nonetheless we’re seeing daily cases at July levels.

Here is the daily death report for NC, flat for 3 months now.

Washington has had so many reporting protocol changes it’s difficult to interpret this graph, but even through all the data fog I’d say it’s spiking. Washington peaked at only 0.073% of the population, so I think there is more to come.

Here are NY and NJ – Significant percentage increases in both NY and NJ, albeit from small numbers. New York has leveled off over the past 2 weeks.

Here is Massachusetts. Like NY, they have a significant percentage increase in active cases, but again, on top of a small base. Growth is slow here.

…And here is Michigan, clearly growing fast. They sit now at 0.127% of the population, still nowhere near the ceiling.

PA is also growing, as expected. The peak was very low (0.091% of the population), so I believe there is more to come.

And finally, here is Colorado, at a new peak. It’s still only 0.117% of the population, so more to come I’m afraid.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again in a week or so (longer if absolutely nothing changes).

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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