Friday, April 3, 2020

Coronavirus dashboard for April 2: voluntary social distancing failed

 - by New Deal democrat

Here is the update through yesterday (April 2) 

Almost 95% of the US population is now under lockdown.  It appears that measures to date have lowered the rate of exponential growth of new infections, but the voluntary social distancing that was in effect until the first Statewide lockdowns started 2 weeks ago have failed to end that growth. 

But testing in the past 6 days has plateaued (not good) and is not keeping pace at all with the growth in new infections. We will not be able to transition from the Sledgehammer of lockdowns to the scalpel of aggressive testing and quarantines until this changes. Deaths continue to climb at a steady exponential rate consistent with infections 2 weeks ago.

To transition to a South Korea style program, we also need to be able to trace infections and quarantine those newly infected. For that we need millions of thermometers, masks, and other equipment. There is no indication at all that this is happening, particularly at the Federal level.

The four most important metrics are starred (***) below. 

Number and rate of increase of Reported Infections (from Johns Hopkins via
  • Number: up +28,879 to 245,601 (vs. +27,089 on April 1)
  • ***Rate of increase: day/day: 13% (vs. 34.6% baseline, 16% for the past week, and 14% on April 1)
The exponential rate of growth has begun to slow. The important caveat is that, since testing has fallen further behind, some of the rate of growth may be hidden.
Ben Engebreth is started tracking coronvirus infection and testing numbers for each state, with graphs, here.
Number of deaths and infections and rate of increase of testing (from COVID Tracking Project)
  • ***Number of deaths: Total 5,784, up +1,084 day/day
  • Rate: increase of 23% day/day vs. average of 25% in past week
  • Number of tests: 117,698, up +16,709  vs. 100,989 on April 1 day/day
  • Rate: increase of +17% vs. number of tests previous day
Comparison of rates of increase in documented infections vs. testing  
  • Infections +13% vs. Tests +17% day/day
Result: The rate of testing has been failing to improve (until today) and remains far, far below what is needed, which is probably now at least 250,000/day. Note this target number is also increasing exponentially as we try to chase the number of exponentially increasing infections.

Ratio of tests to positives for infection (from COVID Tracking Project)
  • Number: 117,698 new tests vs. 28,239 new diagnosed infections 
  • ***Ratio: 4.2:1
In South Korea, where aggressive testing has led to a near-total disappearance of new cases, the inflection point where the number of new daily cases plateaued was reached when the ratio of tests to new cases found reached 15:1. Any ratio less than that suggests that not enough testing is being done. Yesterday’s ratio of 4.2:1 continues to show that testing is falling further and further behind the level of new infections.
US States and population in total lockdown, business lockdown, and partial restrictions
  • ***Total lockdown: 35 States (NV, PA, & TN joined in last 24 hours), 309.4 million, 93.2%
  • ***Business lockdown: 3 States (KY, MA, SC*) 16.6 million, 5.0%
  • Partial restrictions on business (bars, restaurants): 6 States (AL, IA, MO*, ND, UT*, WY) 18.8 million, 5.7%
  • School closure only: 2 States (AR, SD) 3.9 million, 1.2%
  • No mandatory restrictions: 1 State (NE) 1.9 million, 0.6%
*some local areas under lockdowns

Following Trump’s reversal on Easter Sunday openings, almost all of the holdout States in Dixie have implemented lockdowns. Almost 95% of the US population is now under stay at home orders.
Summary for April 3
  • Almost 95% of the total US population is under total lockdown. 
  • While “Social distancing” and lockdowns appear to have lowered the growth rate of new infections, they have failed as a method to halt the virus’s spread
  • Travelers from States that resisted lockdowns until this week have probably re-seeded new outbreaks in those that went to lockdowns early.
  • The number of daily tests has stalled at about 100,000 (yesterday’s high water mark was still less than 120,000)
  •  So long as the virus keeps spreading at an exponential rate, even a lower one, we are falling further and further behind, I.e., we are failing to catch more new infections. The longer this continues, the longer it will be until total lockdowns can be lifted - because we don’t have the wherewithal to go to a “South Korea” style regimen of pervasive testing and quarantines.
  • The Trump Administration is continuing and will continue to fail. It is up to the States to band together to fill the void.