Signs of Light

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Right now I’d say it is a very dim light in what is still a fairly dark tunnel but there are some things in my most recent look at the numbers which are interesting.

Just a personal note, I’ve been dealing with a pretty bad sinus headache. Hit me yesterday and hasn’t fully resolved yet. I worked out yesterday which sometimes makes things better but it really made things worse. So I lightened up a little bit today.

I saw a summary of a paper out of Israel where the author came to the conclusion that the virus seems to run the same course no matter how much “social distancing” is involved. But I don’t know that we have enough places that have remained open to really support that. I do see from the graphs I’ve done that there does seem to be a predictable pattern to new cases. You get an extremely fast rise, then it plateaus at a high rate for a period of time and then decreases.

Looking at Europe because that’s where the bulk of the cases are (and these numbers are from the WHO), and the number of new cases is clearly dropping in Italy, Spain and Germany. The last two days have seen a big drop in Italy and Spain and they are back to numbers not seen since mid March. The trend is most promising in Germany with four days of numbers not seen since the ramp up in late March.

There’s too much noise in the data from France to make any sense out of it. The UK is still showing a rise in the number of new cases but they were behind the others in seeing the start of the big rise of new cases. They might be in the plateau part but we’ll have to see.

Won’t go through all the countries but, of the ones with a significant number of total cases, there is a downward trend in Switzerland, Austria and Norway. The cases appear to have peaked in Belgium, the Netherlands and possibly Sweden and Poland. Still seeing upward trends in Russia, Turkey and Ireland, but again, the upward trend got a later start in those places.

There are upward trends in Japan and Singapore and neither place seemed to be a problem a month ago. Australia is almost down to South Korea levels of new cases. The numbers also seem to be trending down in Iran which was really hit hard early. Canada and Brazil might be entering the plateau stage as well.

Even with some countries still going up, the total number of new reported cases in the world today was the lowest it has been since March 31.

In the US, the WHO data suggest we are still at peak but not climbing anymore.

I will say that my projections (which I redid over the weekend) have been off for this week. Now using CDC data, if the same rate of increase held, we should have had 665000 cases and we were at 605390 according to the CDC.

I see the same thing in the state by state totals. Again, I fit models over the weekend and most of them are already way off and off high suggesting that the rate of increase has slowed.

I also look at week over week changes and let me just give the most extreme example. On April 1, Louisiana had 5237 cases. On April 8 (a week later), they had 16284 cases so the number of cases basically tripled in a week. As of today, another week later, they reported 21518 cases. In the really scary exponential models, the time to double is constant. That’s not the case here. Maybe that’s a victory for social distancing. Maybe it is just the way this thing runs.

Anyway, lots of numbers and no fun quotes this time. Sorry about that but I have to talk to someone about all the calculating I’ve been doing. Long way to go still but there is more promise in these numbers then there has been before.

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