Sunday, April 12, 2020

Abbreviated Coronavirus dashboard for April 12: fundamentally, still flying blind

 - by New Deal democrat

Here is the update through yesterday (April 11) 

This is an abbreviated version, covering just the essentials.

Number and rate of increase of Reported Infections (from Johns Hopkins via
  • Number: up +28,391 to 530,006 (vs. 35,219 prior peak on April 10)

  • ***Rate of increase: day/day: 6% (vs. 8% for the past week, and 8% on April 9)

Yesterday marked the lowest number of new infections in 6 days, and the smallest % increase since early March. Note the source graph I am using does not come from the usual source, which developed a glitch.
Number of deaths and infections and rate of increase of testing (from COVID Tracking Project)
  • ***Number of deaths: Total 20,355, up +1,867 day/day

  • Rate: increase of 10% day/day vs. average of 14% in past week
  • Number of tests: 153,514 down -9,255 day/day, new daily high for non-“pending” tests
  • Ratio of positive tests to total: 4.6:1


While it is pretty clear that the lockdown in place for 95% of the US population is having its desired effect, what is *NOT* clear is whether the plateau is real, or just reflects the stalling of daily testing at roughly 140,000. For the past 5 days, the number of new cases has increased or decreased depending on whether the number of total tests has increased or decreased. In fact one day ago the number of new cases INcreased even though the number of tests decreased. 

In other words, fundamentally we are still flying blind. My suspicion is that the actual number of total infections in the US has been between 2x to 5x the 530,000 “official” count above.

Needless to say, any attempt to “open up” the lockdowns with testing so far behind - aside from creating a Constitutional crisis, assuming the States would refuse to follow a federal “order” - would be yet another disaster, as we could expect the disease to rapidly re-accelerate towards its former rate of 35% growth in new infections daily.

A slight glimmer of light is that Dr. Fauci gave an interview yesterday in which he suggested that a test for seroconversion - I.e., resistance to the disease via antibodies subsequent to infection - might be widely available in a few weeks. If I were forced to go to a “plan B” it would involve opening up the economy to those who have seroconverted and do not reside with those who have not seroconverted.