A COVID Toe in the Water, Comorbidities, and Games with Models, 6/26/20 Data


As the world of COVID-19 news focuses on increased positive tests in Florida and Texas, here’s an interesting (and telling) result that might slip by unseen:

“COVID toes” might not be a symptom of coronavirus infection, but instead the result of lifestyle changes during lockdown, two small studies published Thursday by JAMA Dermatology found.

You might recall that this presumed symptom of the coronavirus set off waves of fear at the mystery of this new disease.  “What is this, now?,” was the “Oh, the humanity!” cry of the moment.  Of course, investigations are ongoing, but considering that none of the COVID-toe patients in a study tested positive for the virus or its antibodies, researchers are suggesting that it might actually have been a consequence of the lock-down lifestyle:  too much sitting around the house with bare feet.

However this latest proposition turns out, it’s an important reminder (1) not to imagine that every new bit of information necessarily serves the latest narrative and (2) that how we respond to the pandemic will have consequences, too.  That’s especially important as Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo hints that she might abandon her previously announced approach to loosening her restrictions.  Whether or not Rhode Island maintains its progress, she may now be considering the trends in other, distant states to determine how free Rhode Islanders are permitted to be.

In the meantime, back in the world of data, COVID-19 continues to recede in Rhode Island.  The 14-day infection rate dropped below 5% today (meaning 20 people walking around with the disease for two weeks may not infect anybody), and the “active” cases, assuming a 14-day average disease span, dropped well below 800.

Deaths of people who test positive for COVID-19 have now been at fewer than 10 per day for three weeks, averaging four per day over that time.  The number currently reported for yesterday is zero. It’s worth noting, on that front, that the Centers for Disease Control has found that only 7% of COVID-19-listed deaths are actually reported to have died of the disease.

As for hospitalizations, they dropped by a good leap, in Rhode Island, down to 91.  That’s the lowest since April 1.  Given this trend, there is no justification for the governor to continue relinquishing her dictatorial control.



(See here for my original methodology and here for a subsequent modification I made. A thorough explanation of the chart is included in this post.)

Projections versus actuals (date of report).

  • Cases:
    • Projection for 6/26: 16,679
    • Actual for 6/26: 16,661
    • Projection for 6/27: 16,697
    • Projection for 6/29: 16,764
  • Hospitalizations:
    • Projection for 6/26: 98
    • Actual for 6/26: 91
    • Projection for 6/27: 86
    • Projection for 6/29: 85
  • Deaths:
    • Projection for 6/26: 922
    • Actual for 6/26: 927
    • Projection for 6/27: 929
    • Projection for 6/29: 933