Friday, April 17, 2020

Coronavirus dashboard for April 17: two opposing trends in States for the way forward

 - by New Deal democrat

Here is the update through yesterday (April 16). As usual, significant new items are in italics.

Seven Midwestern States just announced a new consortium for plans to gradually ease restrictions based on a “test, trace, and isolate” regimen. Massachusetts is hiring 1,000 tracers. Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum, Trumpist governors in two States that never shut down announced that they want to “open up,” even though one of them just had its worst day yet. Meanwhile, tests of the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew added to the evidence that the true number of coronavirus infections is probably closer to the high end, perhaps 5x, of tested numbers.

In Washington, Trump announced a “three phase” plan to gradually open up the economy, which is said to be less stringent than CDC guidelines:

States must first meet a "gating" criterion that includes a "downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period" or a "downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of tests)," as well as hospital preparedness. 
Under the first phase of the three-phase plan, restaurants, movie theaters and large sporting venues would be appropriate to reopen under certain conditions, while schools, day care centers and bars would noto reopen.
The guidelines do not suggest any reopening dates.
Here are yesterday’s numbers.

Number and rate of increase of Reported Infections (from Johns Hopkins via
  • Number: up +31,761 to 671,425 (vs. 35,219 peak on April 10)

  • ***Rate of increase: day/day: 5% (vs. 5% for the past week, and 5% on April 15)

The number of new infections has declined from a recorded peak last week. The increase in the past three days is concerning, but hopefully is just temporary noise.
Number of deaths and infections and rate of increase of testing (from COVID Tracking Project)
  • ***Number of deaths: Total 30,296, increase of +2,136 day/day (vs. 2,492 daily high on April 15)

  • Rate: increase of 8% day/day vs. average of 9% in past week
  • Number of tests: 158,309, down -2,826 day/day (vs. 163,769 peak on April 9)
  • Ratio of positive tests to total: 5.2:1 (vs. 5.8:1 peak on March 28)
US States and population in total lockdown, business lockdown, and partial restrictions - no changes in past 24 hours 
Below are the States that have not gone to lockdown orders:
  • 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%
*some local areas under lockdowns
^restrictions on or quarantine of travelers from out of State
US States and population with “test, trace, and quarantine” programs
  • East Coast consortium: 7 States: CT, DE, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, RI (53.7 million)
  • West Coast consortium: 3 States: CA, OR, WA (31.3 million)
  • Midwest consortium: 7 States: IL, IN, KY, MI, MN, OH, WI (57.0 million)
  • Mid-Atlantic consortium*: 3 Jurisdictions: DC, MD, VA (15.2 million)
*informal cooperation
Total population covered by consortiums: 157.2 million)
Summary for April 16

Here’s how we stand (meaningful new developments in italics): 
  • About 95% of the total US population remains under total lockdown.
  • In States with no lockdowns, a meat-packing plant in South Dakota has emerged as the new national hotspot. Trumpist governors in Wyoming and North Dakota are speaking of easing restrictions further by May 1, even though the latter has just had its worst day for new infections yet.
  • The number of daily new infections appears to have plateaued in the past week, and is slightly lower. The trend in deaths is unclear. I am looking for a decline of roughly 15%/week in new infections if the peak has indeed been reached, so long as the lockdowns stay in place.
  • The number of daily tests has improved a little bit to about 160,000. We likely are continuing to miss a large percent of new infections. My personal suspicion is that the . Testing of the nearly 4,000 sailors on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt indicated that 60% of the 600+ infected were asymptomatic. This makes me think the actual number of total infections in the US is about 5x the official number, or roughly 3.5 million at present.
  • The Trump Administration has taken no steps - and realistically will never take steps -towards a nationwide “test, trace, and quarantine” plan that will be needed to lift lockdowns, or to assist States to do so, and is using a haphazard, secret, and likely corrupt method of distributing vital medical equipment. The “guidelines” it announced yesterday are not concrete, and are less stringent than the CDC’s.
  • In the absence of federal action, 20 States with almost half the US population  are either coordinating in making purchases of the necessary equipment, and/or to develop their own “test, trace, and quarantine” plan, but specifics in how to accomplish that have not emerged.
  • Some private companies are developing technologies or equipment to be used in a “test, trace, and quarantine” regimen. Abbott Labs has premiered a test which it says can be administered 1,000,000x/day.