Proposed Changes to the Daily COVID-19 Updates – Would Like Your Opinions
#1) I think I’m boxing myself in more than I need to, committing to a 10 county update every Sunday. Here are the various updates I’m juggling:
- regular daily update
- 10 county update
- 7 country update
- 13 city update
- 5 state update
Each update has its own set of charts, and if I combine them with the regular daily update charts, it’s too much. So the non-daily update would include just P.1 of the regular daily update (the page with all the tables), and then the charts pertaining to that update.
#2) Instead of setting a certain day for updates like the county update, I plan to run them every other or every 3rd day, depending on how energetic I feel. So the schedule might look something like this:
- Day 1: Daily update
- Day 2: 10 county update
- Day 3 & 4: Daily update
- Day 5: 13 city update
- Day 6: Daily update
- Day 7: 7 country update
- Day 8 & 9: Daily update
- Day 10: 5 state update
#3) This morning, I read this article from the NY times:
I knew Texas was already doing this. But now it appears that the CDC is giving every state the go-ahead to report testing like this. In my opinion, this renders testing statistics, along with case positivity rates, all but useless. In fact, I think it would be misleading of me to report them. It was bad enough when no distinction was being made between unique individuals and test results, but now the testing number is nothing more than a mish-mash of disparate numbers.
My plan is to eliminate testing stats from all State reporting, with the exception of California, and if I find out CA is mixing test results like that, I would eliminate them from CA reporting as well.
I know, it’s a bit presumptuous of me to put these plans in a separate post, as if everyone cares one way or another. But I’ve received dozens of messages from people telling me that they read these reports religiously, and some read them to the exclusion of other sources (not a good practice, by the way!). So I felt compelled to ask your opinion on these changes before putting them into effect. Also, if there are any other changes/improvements you’d like to see, please let me know.
OK, YOUR TURN. . . .
TEN COUNTY UPDATE
- Last week, LA County had red in a lot of the columns; no change this week. They’re averaging 1,000 new cases a day, compared to Orange at 136 and San Diego at 120. On a normalized basis, though, San Diego is #5 in daily new cases. LA is also averaging 42 deaths a day, compared to 5 in San Diego. LA has double the number of deaths we would expect if fatalities were in line with LA’s percentage of CA’s population.
- Riverside visually is the second hotspot, and San Diego is kind of third. Doubling days in SD are at 37, so things are not growing out of control. Note that Alameda, Orange, and Ventura are all in the danger zone for case doubling days.
- Scan the mini-charts for daily new cases, and there aren’t many with a clear downward trend. Sacramento, San Francisco, Riverside, and Santa Clara are the only ones. San Diego, LA and Kern are still at a plateau. Alameda, Orange, and Ventura are clearly rising.
The Big Charts
1) Cumulative Cases: all the counties are marching more or less in unison, except for San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara -the first counties to really feel the outbreak.
2) Daily New Cases per 1M: LA looks pretty scary compared to every other county. San Diego, the dotted red line, was clearly trending upward, but lately is plateauing. Kern, the home of the infamous doctor duo, is suddenly rising upward. I can’t help but wondering if this has something to do with the large number of farm workers in Kern, many of whom have relatives in Mexico, where there is virtually no testing and the hospitals are getting overwhelmed.
3) Cumulative Fatalities per 1M: Kern sticks out there as well, with low overall numbers, but the sharpest trend upward.
4) Daily Fatalities: You can see here what a large portion of the CA total is represented by LA. CA is at an average of 78 deaths a day; LA is at 42, which is 53% of the total. SD has been on a plateau of 5 to 7 deaths a day for over a month.
5) Case Fatality Rate: LA is running at 5.5% compared to SF’s 1.9%. I suspect that when all is said and done, the CFR for every county will be much closer to SF’s.
6) Testing: All the counties that report testing results publicly are expanding testing significantly – about 500% in one month. In daily testing, all five are between 1,000 and 2,000 per 1M people. The Tests per Week chart shows just how much of an increase there has been.
7) Hospitalizations: Fortunately, LA’s trend there is starting to go down, from an average of around 250 per 1M people at the end of April, to around 210 today. San Diego’s trend line, however, is starting to rise. There are some indications that hospitals in Chula Vista are starting to get overwhelmed and are sending patients to north SD.
THE LOCAL DASHBOARD & MINI-CHARTS
- Though the absolute number is small, cases are steadily rising in Encinitas and Carlsbad. Something to do with the protests? I don’t know.
- Fatality reporting for SD county is a bit strange. For days, nothing. Then, on 5/20, 20 deaths. Then nothing for a day, then 9, then nothing. I suspect the cumulative number is valid, but the daily numbers need to be averaged out.
- It looks like Trump will be out golfing as we hit 100,000 fatalities in the U.S. The daily average has dropped from almost 2,000 a day to 1,300 now, but that’s still 10,000 souls every 7 days.
- Though most of the news is bad, there is some good there – the mini-charts show a clear upward trend in case doubling days for SD city, SD county, CA, USA, and the world. That means the spread of the pandemic is slowing down. How long will that last? That’s the big question. We’ll have to keep a close eye on the data to answer that one.
Stay well, everyone!
Comments from Readers & My Responses
The following are some of the comments from readers on Reddit and other social media platforms where I regularly post. Reader comments are in italics and color. My responses are in plain text. If there is more than one commenter without a response, they are separated by different colors.
The fact based community in San Diego cannot thank you enough for the work you are putting in on this!
Thanks very much. I started doing this because I got so sick of reading posts on nextdoor from people who had no idea what the facts were.
Interesting I think you are alluding to the seeming political polarity between nextdoor and reddit. At least in San Diego. I imagine it’s less so in say SF or Portland. Perhaps more so in middle America. I really do struggle to read much of what’s on nextdoor which is unfortunate because it is a good resource for community info.
My theory is that that Brad Parscale, who does Trump’s social media, targets NextDoor as a prime target for bots and trumptrolls (TT’s). The mods at ND try to have it both ways: they preach this line, “Be helpful, not hurtful.” Here’s how that works in practice: the The TT posts something about how all homeless people are pedophiles, druggies, and scum. (I’m not making this up; this happened on the Encinitas ND a few months ago). Then you respond to it, and maybe you step over the line a tiny, tiny bit, and ask the OP why he has so little regard for people down on their luck. The OP then reports you to the mods. The mods, a majority of whom are TT’s, view your post as “mean”. They accuse you of using ND as a soapbox, even though Kristin Gaspar’s followers use it to organize their protests all the time. Then you’re suspended, and if you do it again, kicked off.
I think Parscale knows this. He knows that ND, like Twitter, can be used very effectively, especially in communities where they are in a distinct minority. During the debate on the homeless parking lot in Encinitas, regular people stopped commenting on the issue because they would be routinely attacked. But here’s the interesting part: in a recent city council meeting, the issue came up again for a vote, and the project was extended. Based on the emails they received, 72% of the people approved the project!
When this thing started out, I thought to myself, I’m just sitting here anyway; why should I let ND become just like FB was in 2016? So I started doing this project. And soon enough, I was suspended. Luckily, they had just started private groups, where the TT’s were less likely to butt in. So that’s what I did, and my private group, “COVID-19 Data Only” is 3 times larger than any other group, with 630 members. This wasn’t my doing really; it’s just a reflection of people’s desire to discuss and ask questions about the pandemic without being assaulted by right wing ideologues.
Reddit has good moderation, and also wackos typically get downvoted so badly they disappear under the fold. So it’s a much harder platform to take over. I know there are Nazis and fascists on Reddit; but they pretty much have to stick to their own wacko groups.
Finally, I agree – ND is a great resource if you need a plumber, electrician, etc., or if you’ve never seen a coyote in your life.
The thing I notice most is the team who is constantly trying to remind neighbors that the fighter jets are “the sound of freedom”. Though I see the slanted perspective permeating in any of the more heated topics. As for whackos, I think Im winning the SD sub downvoted post of the week in this very thread. Seems nobody noticed your comment about Trump golfing and my suggestion that it could be a good thing pins me as another TT. Anyways I appreciate your data and perspectives as much as anyone. Thanks for your efforts and your voice.
Sorry you’re getting downvoted so much; I agree with you — we’d be a hell of a lot better off if he just played golf 365 days a year instead of 200.
I think people are really frustrated, and that’s why things get so heated. Hell, I’m frustrated! And I’m one of the lucky ones — retired, living off Social Security, have my own home, etc. I certainly can’t complain. If this were me 40 years ago, when I was a machinist in a factory, I’d be so pissed off I’d be beside myself. I’d be looking at places like Denmark and Germany and thinking, “why in the hell can’t we do that here?”
And no, you’re no TT! First of all, to be a genuine TT, you have to whine about everything. Then you’d have to tell me, “don’t make it political!”
Hey, I appreciate your feedback. And not everyone downvoted you; I didn’t!
It really depends on where you are in the county. Spouse works at a South Bay hospital and their covid unit has been at capacity for weeks. The staff is getting sick and nurses are floating to that unit to make up for all the staff contracting the virus. They’re sending more patients up north because they just don’t have anymore beds for em.
Since we are advised to stay away from large groups and keep things confined to 6 (or is it 10?) people I invited my BIL to our house yesterday.
Only one person. I felt a bit guilty but lemme tell you – having just one guest over was actually extremely awesome. Like i was excited to clean up for one person to come over. I enjoyed company….am i maturing?
You know, if I were still young and had time to make up losses in the stock market, I would short Zoom for about December of this year. I think when we’re done with this pandemic, people will be so sick of Zoom meetings and so appreciative of face-to-face contact, they’ll never want another zoom meeting again. But what do I know?
We are having friends over to our house now. We open the side gate, set up chairs 12 feet away from each other, and don’t offer anything to eat or drink. But it’s great to be able to see friends this way again, and since they’re not going in our house, I think it’s very safe.
Very grateful for this info. Are there any ideas why LA is still doing poorly?
I think there are probably lots and lots of reasons. Some that I can think of off the top of my head, not in order of importance, relevance or anything else:
- Lots of what they call “essential”, but really should be called “expendible” workers — in factories, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.
- relatively high population density – nothing like NYC, but a lot more than say, Encinitas.
- lots of travel to and from Mexico, especially Tijuana, where there is almost no testing, the hospitals are full, and people are dying in their houses.
- What I would call the “Goop factor” – a large number of people who follow woo more than science. They’re not trumpers; they just don’t think the virus will affect them directly, especially if they meditate.
- Trump death cult followers who think it’s macho not to wear a mask and think they’re “warriors” even though most of them are relatively well off white people who can work from home.
- Evidence that the virus got a very early toe-hold in CA, well before anyone took steps to shut things down. The virus was probably spreading in LA since the end of January.
- Many neighborhoods which are “food deserts” and where the population does not have access to decent medical care.
However, with all that, I wouldn’t necessarily say LA is doing “poorly.” They’re on a very stubborn plateau. My son and daughter live there, and they tell me that most people are following social distancing guidelines. But now that things are opening up, we’ll just have to see what happens.
By the way, your question is a great one, and I think this is something the experts will be studying for a long time to come.