Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Coronavirus dashboard for April 7: lockdowns appear to be working

 - by New Deal democrat

Here is the update through yesterday (April 6) 

I’ve changed the format, moving the “just the facts, ma’am” data to the top, and comments to the end.

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

Number and rate of increase of Reported Infections (from Johns Hopkins via arcgis.com)
  • Number: up +30,516 to 368,449 (vs. +25,688 on April 4)

  • ***Rate of increase: day/day: 9% (vs. 12% for the past week, and 8% on April 4)

The exponential growth rate began to fall from 35% on March 24. It now looks like in the past week or so it is in a new, decelerating trend, declining by about -1%/day. Voluntary social distancing was clearly not enough, but the State lockdowns appear to be working.
Ben Engebreth is tracking coronvirus infection and testing numbers for each State, with graphs, here. Also, there is an awesome interactive tool to measure infections and other data for various countries and US States at 91-divoc.com.
Number of deaths and infections and rate of increase of testing (from COVID Tracking Project)
  • ***Number of deaths: Total 10,680, up +1,182 day/day
  • Rate: increase of 12% day/day vs. average of 16% in past week
  • Number of tests: 155,063, up +16,838  vs. 138,225 on April 5 day/day
  • Rate: increase +12% vs. number of tests previous day
  • Tests pending result: 17,292 vs. 17,307 on April 5 day/day
Comparison of rates of increase in documented infections vs. testing  
  • Infections +9% vs. Tests +12% day/day
Result: The rate of testing is catching up a little bit to the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, it remains far below what is needed, which is probably now at least 250,000/day. Note this target number increases as the number of new infections increases.

Ratio of tests to positives for infection (from COVID Tracking Project)
  • Number: 155,063 new tests vs. 29,023 new diagnosed infections 
  • ***Ratio: 5.3:1 

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 5.3:1 is still far behind.
US States and population in total lockdown, business lockdown, and partial restrictions
  • ***Total lockdown: (SC joined yesterday - not shown on map below) 43 States, 306.7 million, 92.4%
  • ***Business lockdown: 2 States (KY, MA) 14.4 million, 4.3%
  • Partial restrictions on business (bars, restaurants): 5 States (IA, ND, NE, UT*, WY^) 9.7 million, 2.9%
  • School closure only: 2 States (AR^, SD*) 3.9 million, 1.2%
  • No mandatory restrictions: NONE
*some local areas under lockdowns
^restrictions on or quarantine of travelers from out of State

US States with “test, trace, and quarantine” programs
  • Under development: 1 State: MA

Summary for April 7
Almost every public health authority who has weighed in has advocated the “Sledgehammer, then Scalpel” approach of a temporary total lockdown, during which time, as the infection rate of growth hopefully moves to flat, the production and distribution of necessary medical equipment is surged. Once enough is in place, a regimen of “test, trace, and quarantine” can be put in place as the lockdown is lifted.

Here’s how we stand: 

  • South Carolina finally went to Statewide lockdown yesterday.
  • Almost 95% of the total US population is under total lockdown.
  • Mandatory lockdowns, first implemented on Statewide bases 18 days ago, appear to be paying off, as the daily rate of increase in new cases has steadily declining and is now in single digits. The peak in new daily infections might only be about 10 days away.
  • The number of daily tests has continued to improve, but is still far short of of what is necessary.
  • The Trump Administration has still not mandated a nationwide lockdown.
  • The Trump Administration has taken no meaningful steps to mandate mass production of necessary medical equipment.
  • The Trump Administration has taken no steps towards a nationwide “test, trace, and quarantine” plan that will be needed to lift lockdowns, or to assist States to do so.
  • Massachusetts has begun to develop its own “test, trace, and quarantine” plan. Hopefully this will be adopted by other States quickly.
  • California’s governor has announced a plan for the States to coordinate in making purchases of the necessary equipment.
  • Until States or the federal government implement a regimen of “test, trace, and quarantine,” lockdowns cannot be lifted.