Coping Sunday

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Today is the day I try as much as possible to stay away from even the limited news sources I follow. Figure if anything really big or important happens, I’ll know. I’ll probably take my book outside and do a little reading and enjoy the summer weather.

Couple of random notes to get started. We get a local magazine – mostly for the restaurant listings. Attached in this month’s copy was another magazine discussing tourist attractions in the southern part of my state. Given that they had calendars showing things from the spring, I’m guessing this was all cued up and ready to go right before the ‘rona shutdown. Probably figured that they paid for it so might as well send it out and get something out of it.

One apple orchard nearby was advertising for seasonal help in the fall. (I’m on their email list so I got the notice). This place becomes crowded every Saturday with apples, pumpkins and other fall themed things. We go there at least once because they also have a grill with local things. Why mention this? Well if they are hiring, then they are at least trying to plan for the fall. At least it hasn’t been cancelled outright like lots of other things. But we’ll see if it happens or what changes they have to make.

Now I get to bore you with numbers. If I were in school and there was the typical “what did you do over your summer vacation”, I’d have a lot to talk about.

Clearly, this isn’t over and things can reverse but there is good news out there. The number of new positive cases last week (per my source) was the lowest since the week of June 28th. More evidence that the explosion in the Sun Belt states has slowed.

Some time ago, I started trying to predict the number of new cases by state. I’ve been projecting a week forward based on the 10 day average and current number of cases. If the number of new cases is dropping, then the prediction is going to be high. If the number of new cases is increasing, then the prediction is going to be low.

The data from yesterday which were predicted on August 1, show 11 states where my prediction was too low and 39 where it was too high. To be fair, in most cases, the differences are small. But this trend has held for a couple of days so it just confirms other data.

Right now, things are really climbing only in Hawaii. On August 1, the projection was that they would have 2596 cases on the 8th. In reality, they had 3115 cases so the prediction was off by almost 17%. The next worse in that direction was Washington which has 61587 new cases vs a prediction of 60863. So Hawaii was really the only big miss suggesting that other places are really more stable rather than increasing.

I’ve got another measure I look at which is the number of days it would take for the current number of cases to double. When the number of cases is going through the exponential phase, you can see doubling in just a few days. As the case count increases and/or the number of new cases per day stabilizes or declines, the doubling time increases.

Hawaii right now has a doubling time of 23 days and it has been getting shorter over the week as their case count increases. The next state after is Montana with a doubling time of 40 days. After that is Alaska at 47 days and Idaho and Oklahoma at 51 days. This is just to give you an idea of how much Hawaii stands out.

Back on August 1, we had five states (Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Missouri and Oklahoma) with doubling times less than 40 days. And there were seven (Idaho, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Nevada, Florida and Kentucky) with doubling times less than 50 days. In other words, lots of places are moving in the right direction.

We still have far too many new cases. I’m not about to suggest things are over. This was just a good week in terms of slowing the growth rate.

And, with that, I’ll stop boring you with numbers and go enjoy the rest of the day.

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