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Games with Models, 5/4/20 Data

Rhode Island’s daily reports on COVID-19 are settling into a pattern over the past few days. The number of total cases is growing more slowly each day, and hospitalizations are generally down, while deaths continue to increase at a more or less steady pace.

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Contrary to the Impression We May Have, Survival Rate of COVID-19 in United States is Over 94%

This is to offer an important data point about COVID-19 that doesn’t get much attention. The United States has, to date, experienced 1,092,815 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19.  64,283 of those cases, or 5.88%, have resulted in death.  To be clear, 5.88% of people who got the disease have died from it, not 5.88% of the US population as a whole.  (If you want that figure, divide by 328,200,000.)

This is not the picture that you are getting from the mainstream media.  They largely mean well but if you notice, when reporting on this subject, the MSM crafts headlines that invariably include the words “COVID-19″ and “death” and content that is comprised of the number of new cases and new deaths. Most people only pay attention to the news with half an eye or ear. So they understandably may have gotten the impression that the death rate from COVID-19 is sky high.

So let’s repeat this figure because it is important.  Of the 1,092,815 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the United States, 64,283 deaths have resulted.  That means that over 94% of people who got the disease have survived it.

And 94% is almost certainly on the low side because the figure of 1,092,815 only includes medically defined “confirmed and probable” cases. People can have the disease or get it and recover from it without ever knowing or being tested. As they were not counted, those are not included in that denominator of 1,092,815. Anti-body test surveys unanimously point to COVID-19 being far more infectious and, therefore, far less deadly than originally feared. Accordingly, that case fatality rate of 5.88% will almost certainly drop.

Next for our consideration is the very serious implications of this data point with regard to our government’s choice of course (not to mention that the original goal of the chosen course was accomplished weeks ago). Those will be laid out here a little later this morning.

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More Information about Ineffectuality of Shutdown: Over 75% of RI COVID Deaths Are Occurring in Nursing Homes

WPRI Channel 12’s Eli Sherman and Walt Buteau reported on April 17 that 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Rhode Island have occurred in nursing homes. (All deaths from a pandemic are awful but somehow a nursing home setting is especially horrifying both because of the vulnerability of the residents and the perception, normally correct, that nursing homes are safe places.)

This disturbing pattern continues with the most recent COVID mortalities announced by the state yesterday: 10 of 13 were nursing home residents.

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Games with Models, April 21 Data

The emerging question when it comes to the daily data releases for COVID-19 in Rhode Island continues to be:  which metric should we be watching?  Today, the number of cases continued to outstrip my prediction as did, tragically, the number deaths.  However, the number of hospitalizations, which is the focus of my model, went down one from yesterday and was, therefore, substantially lower than my prediction.

The reason the model I developed shows what looks like an upward correction and the predicted decline spreading out has to do with the number of cases.  The rate of growth is slowing, but not as quickly as it had been, which means there are more “active” cases than expected, and that’s the foundation of my hospitalization predictions.  (By the way, here’s the original post of this series, with my methodology.)

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The three key metrics now look as follows:

  • Cases:
    • Projection for 4/21: 5,311
    • Actual for 4/21:  5,500
    • Projection for 4/22: 5,731
  • Hospitalizations:
    • Projection for 4/21: 296
    • Actual for 4/21: 271
    • Projection for 4/22: 302
  • Deaths:
    • Projection for 4/21: 162
    • Actual for 4/21: 171
    • Projection for 4/22: 178

The level of power Governor Raimondo is claiming for herself is huge, and it is noticeable in subtle ways.  For example, in an article on GoLocal about how she’s had her hair done even as Rhode Islanders are prevented from doing the same, the governor tells “hairdressers, barbers, gig economy workers” to file for unemployment “until I can find a way to get you open safely.”

Notice that it’s all up to her.  She is going to find a way.  She is going to tell you when you can work again.  If she is going to do that, she should give Rhode Islanders detailed information and data about how she is making decisions so we can judge for ourselves whether what she is concluding is reasonable or ridiculous.