1,040 thoughts on “Covid-19 Updates”

  1. One problem in assessing the progression of the pandemic by looking at the number of “confirmed cases”, which most reports concentrate on, is that the number of cases confirmed obviously depends upon the number of diagnostic tests run, and the rate and breadth of testing varies, both over time within a given territory and from reporting region to region.  For example, now that hospitals in some areas have resumed elective surgery, patients admitted for such procedures are routinely tested for the virus, which will detect more asymptomatic or non-severe cases which would have been undetected previously in the absence of screening.

    Our World in Data compiles a chart, “Per capita: test for COVID-19 vs. Confirmed cases”, which provides a way to disentangle some of this correlation.

    COVID-19: tests vs. confirmed cases, 2020-06-27

    On this chart, the X axis shows total confirmed cases per million people, while the Y axis represents total tests per million people.  As the epidemic progresses in a territory and tests are run, the curve will progress to the right as the disease spreads, then depart upward with little progression to the right as it abates.  In countries such as Australia and New Zealand, where the disease has largely been eradicated, the line will go almost vertical.  What you don’t want to see is a line close to horizontal, although if the number of tests is low, the confidence in the number of cases is also low.

    Seen at this scale, the U.S. is an outlier, with little change in the slope of the curve of cases per test.  But watch what happens when we crank in a few more countries.

    COVID-19: tests vs. confirmed cases, 2020-06-27

    There are places in worse shape than the U.S. by this metric.

    Click on the link or images for a daily-updated interactive chart which lets you select countries and mouse-over curves for details.

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  2. 10 Cents:

    John Walker:
    The “riot wave”:

    CNN

    Reality™

    Riot wave: COVID-19 in riot areas

    Why is Reality™ so racist?

    FWIW, in New York City the contact tracers have been explicitly told not to ask if the person attended a protest. Can’t have a protest spike if you don’t ask about protests.

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  3. John Walker,  thanks for good data presentation.

    Here is a summary of the local scene in Memphis.  We have rising Virus.  Tennessee started relaxing in stages in early May.  However, Memphis started rising such that the Mayor re-imposed some rules and made a new decree about mask-wearing in public earlier this week.

    New active positive cases per week was running at 1600 per week at the beginning of June and is now at 2557 for the week just past.

    There have been 118,000 Wuhan Virus tests in Shelby County, with positive results being 7.5 percent.  This past week, tests were reported at an average of 1283 per day.   157 new Virus cases were reported yesterday.

    We have had 178 deaths attributed to the Virus.   One was the friend of my office manager, and one was a friend of a member of my congregation.   So far, nobody I personally knew.

     

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  4. danok1:

    10 Cents:

    John Walker:
    The “riot wave”:

    CNN

    Reality™

    Riot wave: COVID-19 in riot areas

    Why is Reality™ so racist?

    FWIW, in New York City the contact tracers have been explicitly told not to ask if the person attended a protest. Can’t have a protest spike if you don’t ask about protests.

    Truth is blind! (Well, something is blind anyway.)

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  5. Active cases in Japan have risen from under 700 to about 800. People are concerned. The testing here has been about 30 times lower than in the States.

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  6. JTOmland:

    Haakon Dahl:
    JTomland, do you have numbers to share, or a link to a source?  Sounds like you’re looking at good data.  Pardon me if I missed it — been dipping in and

    The csv file is what I download.   It includes data by state for deaths, hospitalizations, positives, negatives, total tests and each of these as a daily change.  It is from the same site John linked in comment 996

    If you or anyone just wants to see a specific graph let me know and I will post.

    One thing I noticed this morning with this data set is that not all states report increases.  I was looking at Texas and the increase in hospitalizations was zero.   I didn’t have time to investigate in detail, but one may need to validate the data depending on the specific item you are investigating.

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  7. It’s been a while since I posted a “Year of the Jackpot” chart.  With all of this “stimulus” spending in response to COVID-19, you might ask, “Yes, but where is the money coming from, and where is it going?”

    FRED: U.S. M2 Money Stock, 1980-11-03 to 2020-06-15

    This is the U.S. M2 Money Stock (or money supply) for the period from November 1980 when the metric was inaugurated until July 15th, 2020.  This is a measure of physical currency and coins in circulation (M0) plus demand deposits and checking accounts (M1) plus savings accounts, money market funds, and small denomination certificates of deposit (M2).  M2 was introduced in 1980 due to the previously closely followed M1 becoming less relevant due to the innovation of money market funds against which checks could be written.

    What we see in M2 is a phase transition starting in early March 2020 after four decades of more or less exponential growth.  This is the result of massive money printing (expansion of its balance sheet—another fine “Year of the Jackpot” chart, by the way) by the Federal Reserve, creating money out of thin air by buying newly printed government bonds and, more recently, corporate bonds, with that money flowing into the money supply.  Between the start of March 2020 and June 15th, M2 has grown by more than US$ 2.7 trillion.

    Under the monetarist theory which has, to some extent, informed Federal Reserve policy since the 1970s, increases in the money supply are eventually reflected in asset prices which, when they rise, is called “inflation”.  There is a lag between the injection of money and rising prices, and all prices do not rise in lockstep.  Typically, financial assets are the first to be bid up, followed by rises in manufactured goods and raw materials, and finally in wages, as workers demand more pay to cope with rising prices.  With commercial activity severely depressed by pandemic lockdowns and massive unemployment, the velocity of money has been low, and this suppresses the effects of the increase in money supply.  But one place velocity has not been low is the frothy stock market, especially the frenzied speculation exemplified by “Davey Day Trader” about which I wrote yesterday.

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  8. With the rate of infections turning up in some regions such as the U.S., and this being attributed to various causes such as loosening of lockdowns and recent mass demonstrations and riots, there is also evidence that the pathogen itself has changed, and that a new variant which is more infectious that that observed in the first months of the pandemic, has become dominant, at least in the U.S. and Europe.

    A paper, posted on 2020-06-12 at the non-peer-reviewed preprint server bioRχiv by eight researchers from the Scripps Research Institute, “The D614G mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein reduces S1 shedding and increases infectivity” identifies a single residue mutation (replacement of aspartic acid with glycine at residue 614 of the spike protein) strengthens the unusual two-part spike protein in SARS-CoV-2 which the virus uses to enter and infect cells by binding to the cell’s ACE2 receptor.  In the first-observed version of the virus, with aspartic acid at residue 614, many of the spikes on the virion surface were broken and inactive.  Replacement of this residue with glycine makes the spike more flexible and less fragile, with the result that between four and five times as many spikes are active and able to cause infection.  The research paper (available here in full text [PDF]) reports that retroviruses equipped with the D614G mutation were more efficient in infecting cells expressing ACE2 than the original variant.

    Further, examining samples of SARS-CoV-2 submitted to the GenBank database, they found that no sequences deposited in February had the D614G mutation, while by March it appeared in 26% of samples, rising to 65% in April and 70% in May.  This is what would be expected if this variant is more infectious, as selection pressure would cause it to predominate in the population.

    A press release from Scripps Research, “Mutated coronavirus shows significant boost in infectivity”, notes “It is still unknown whether this small mutation affects the severity of symptoms of infected people, or increases mortality, the scientists say. While ICU data from New York and elsewhere reports a preponderance of the new D614G variant, much more data, ideally under controlled studies, are needed, [author Hyeryun] Choe says.”  The full paper notes that the mutation does not appear to affect neutralisation of the virus by convalescent plasma, indicating that treatment will remain effective for the mutation.

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  10. John Walker:
    Yes, but where is the money coming from, and where is it going?”

    The way I interpret this is that the Fed is injecting money directly into the markets buying corporate bonds,  gov bonds and maybe even stocks.  The sellers are parking the money from the sales into cash or cash like accounts.  Or am I wrong?

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  11. A group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETHZ—Einstein’s old school) has been developing software to estimate the the effective reproduction number (Rₑ) of an epidemic from reported daily numbers of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths.  The software has been recently updated to infer infection dates using a deconvolution step which allows more timely detection of changes in Rₑ.  The program is called “R Shiny” and source code is maintained on and available from GitHub.  Recent results are disturbing.  You’ll recall that back in comment #975 on 2020-06-26 I said regarding that day’s results for Switzerland “There’s a hint of a bump in the last week’s cases.”  Well, here’s what things look like today according to the COVID-19 Rₑ project.

    COVID Re project, Switzerland, 2020-06-29

    Click the chart to display an interactive data explorer with information on the methodology and interpretation of the results, access to data for other regions, and background on the project, researchers, and data sources.  The assessment of the results is as follows:

    The effective reproductive number Re in early March was 2–3.5, which is in the range of reproductive numbers reported for other places. The Re fell below the critical value of 1 in mid March. Re has increased continuously since mid April. Since the second week of June, Re is again significantly above one.

    Broadening the focus to other European countries, here is what we see.

    COVID-19 Re project: Europe, 2020-06-29

    As of the most recent available data, only Belgium and the Netherlands have Rₑ values less than 1; in all other plotted countries, an exponential increase in the number of cases appears to be underway, with most of the Rₑ curves crossing the value of 1 in late May to early June and continuing (with the exception of the two now below 1 plus Spain) to rise, implying not just exponential growth in cases but an accelerating rate of growth.

    If this analysis is correct, the implications are profoundly vexing: we may be headed back into a second wave comparable to March–April, with all the societal and economic consequences of that initial period.  What I take away from this is that if you’d wished you’d done a better job of “prepping” before the first outbreak, now, when things are open and the lockdown is to some extent relaxed, might be an excellent time to take precautions for what might happen in the coming months.

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  12. RE: 990 (rather than waste electrons, bandwidth, processing -whatever is involved by quoting an info-packed comment) – I took your advice, John, and made a trip to Sam’s Club to dot my I’s and cross my T’s of my 20 years history of prepping. There is still no hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes. I continue to have a sufficient amount for several months, but would not mind having more. Bought a 3-pk of Clorox bleach gallon jugs (one per customer), from which sanitizing may be fairly easily done – diluted – with paper towels or rags. Got about 20 lb of pasta, 16 lb lean beef roasts for the freezer, canned fruits/vegetables (already have many cans of many types of beans). Five dozen fresh eggs (powdered eggs coming from Amazon tomorrow along with two pounds of yeast for bread baking), more powdered milk, more butter for the freezer (already 20 lb). Five cases of Pelegrino bottled water – I only buy it on sale, when it is less than half the price of good club soda, which is usually about $1.70 a bottle.

    I live in Allegheny County, home of Pittsburgh, one of the oldest populations of counties in the US. In the past week, we have had a spike with the highest number of cases each day, by far, than we had in March. It will soon be apparent whether mortality of this mutated strain, purportedly very contagious, has remained the same or is better or worse. As I am again working my two medical jobs, I am more scared now than I was before, when both jobs were shut down.

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  13. civil westman:
    Bought a 3-pk of Clorox bleach gallon jugs

    Excellent recommendation!  I just added some eau de Javel to my LeShop.ch order.  In extremis, you can use a few drops to render water from dodgy sources safe to drink, and it is an excellent (diluted appropriately) disinfectant for almost anything.

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  14. John Walker:

    civil westman:
    Bought a 3-pk of Clorox bleach gallon jugs

    Excellent recommendation!  I just added some eau de Javel to my LeShop.ch order.  In extremis, you can use a few drops to render water from dodgy sources safe to drink, and it is an excellent (diluted appropriately) disinfectant for almost anything.

    Je ne savais pas qu-il-y-a une apellation d’origine! Fourmidable! (sic)

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  15. Here are data for the U.S. through 2020-07-01 from The COVID Tracking Project.

    COVID status: U.S. 2020-07-01

    Worthy of note: the number of tests has been growing linearly throughout the decline from mid-April through the explosion which started in mid-June.  Thus the new wave of cases cannot be attributed to a comparable rise in testing.  The hospitalisation curve turned up shortly after the new cases curve, as would be expected, but is still far below the peaks of late April and early May.  The number of deaths has not comparably turned up, but recall that deaths are a lagging indicator, as death often occurs two to three weeks after a new case is reported.

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  16. A few pages ago we discussed how distorted the reporting is.  The NewYorkTimes was called out for bad information.  Here is an update:

    …the cat was let out of the bag on June 25th, when New Jersey reclassified 1877 previous deaths as covid-19 deaths, and the NY Times reported them as June 25th deaths.  What the NY Times is tracking is not time of death, but time of determination that death was caused by Covid-19.

    https://www.redstate.com/diary/mugtome-gusts/2020/07/02/the-ny-times-is-misrepresenting-the-death-curve-and-there-are-consequences/

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  17. The “blip” in the new cases in Switzerland that I’ve been mentioning for the last week is beginning to look like a real upward trend.  There were 116 new cases reported yesterday, which is in a range we haven’t seen since late April.

    The Federal Council has issued a directive, “Coronavirus: Masks compulsory on public transport; quarantine for travellers from high-risk regions; lifting of certain entry restrictions from 20 July”, which mandates the wearing of masks on all forms of public transport beginning on 2020-07-06.  Also effective as of that date, will be a ten day quarantine for travellers arriving in Switzerland from a list of countries [PDF, in French] designated by the Federal Office of Public Health as high risk.  The list includes the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Russia, and Sweden.  Arrivals from those countries will have to register with cantonal authorities upon arrival.  Conversely, as of 2020-07-20, the list of 15 countries to which the European Union removed entry restrictions on July 1st will also be allowed entry to Switzerland with the exception of Serbia.  Entry from China will be removed if China removes its own restrictions on entry from Switzerland.

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  18. Florida has almost 180,000 confirmed cases. But the alarming part is that almost a third were diagnosed within the last week. I imagine testing limitations mean there are many undiagnosed. Percent positives are very high and heading higher, the 7 day moving average almost 18 percent.

    Deaths not climbing correspondingly but it is premature to be reassured on that count.

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  19. Not sure if this is the correct place to say this, but … I am so tired of this!  Miami Dade just announced at 9:05 p.m. tonight that we are starting curfews again:  10 p.m. until 6 a.m.  until further notice.   No reason given.

    I want to know why.

    If face masks work why do we need curfews?

    If lock downs work why do we need face masks?

    If social distancing works why do we need face masks?

    If face masks work why do we need social distancing or lockdowns?

    I heard the doctors in China who developed covid-19 were infected via their eyes,  will people silently submit to wearing eye covers next?

    Quick Note:  I will try to find the chart from earlier today, however, I saw a chart someone created which calculated what corona virus numbers would have been if they had in the past tested people at same level they are now testing —  Results?  Current increase we are seeing would be equivalent to nothing more than a small blip.

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  20. TempTime:
     

    Quick Note:  I will try to find the chart from earlier today, however, I saw a chart someone created which calculated what corona virus numbers would have been if they had in the past tested people at same level they are now testing —  Results?  Current increase we are seeing would be equivalent to nothing more than a small blip.

    That doesn’t sound correct if the chart was for Florida. I was looking at the Johns Hopkins website which has clear information on testing numbers and percent positive. Back in May Florida was averaging maybe 15,000 tests/day and consistently under 5 percent positive. Now testing is up to around 50,000 tests per day and 20 percent positive. The additional testing is not creating a false impression of more cases.

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