The First Ward Cornavirus Report – Two steps forward and one step back!

Though please don’t panic people because the bulk of the coronavirus news is still good! Of course, my star students would never run around like headless chickens because we all know that focusing on one errant number is pure statistical folly.

But before we continue class, please let me make it perfectly clear that, should any of you ferret out an arithmetic error, please let me know just as a reader did yesterday. My faulty subtraction did, indeed, lead to a 20-case undercount on April 10.

Thankfully, when we’re talking 1,200 new COVID-19 cases a day, a 1.6 percent error doesn’t have much ongoing impact. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be a little more careful going forward.

Facts Not Fear

I’m also eternally grateful for any reader who catches a not-nearly-rare-enough grammatical or spelling error. Editing your own stuff is already a challenge and writing in a conversational style makes that prospect even more difficult.

However! (There’s always a “however,” right?) I will no longer engage in any debate regarding my statistical acumen or the associated application of seventh-grade math. And that’s particularly true when the only “evidence” a dissenter manages to provide is their flapping gums.

Some of ya’ll have really gotta learn that you aren’t right simply because you think you are!

Though those sky-is-really-green folks are a vast minority, and they can be mildly amusing at times, it is beyond aggravating to repeatedly explain exactly how we’re taking a lack of testing into account only to have a reader claim that, because there isn’t enough testing, my theories are about as worthless as an episode of ‘Tiger King.’

So, before you post a comment, please remember my most cherished ambition is to live long enough to see my Facebook blocked list surpass the associated number of friends.

Moving! On!

The “errant number” we previously touched on is the Illinois mortality rate which, after falling two consecutive days, unrepentantly leapt to a new 3.7 percent high. CNN did report this death toll “bump” was a nationwide phenomenon, but I am starting to wonder if I got a little too giddy about that two-day decline.

Put more simply, I’ll be waiting for today’s 2:30 numbers with particularly bated breath.

So, let’s hit that table!

Date   Cases   % Increase N Cases  N Tested  Prevalence    Deaths 

3/18     288

3/19     422               46.5           134                           1 in 14

3/20     585               37              163                           1 in 12

3/21     753               29              296                           1 in 7

3/22     1,049            39              896                           1 in 2

3/23     1,285            28              236                           1 in 8

3/24     1,535            22.5           250                           1 in 8

3/25     1,855            21.5           320                           1 in 6

3/26     2,538            37              683                           1 in 6

3/27     3,026            19              488                           1 in 8

3/28     3,491            15.4           465                           1 in 8

3/29     4,596            31.6        1,105                           1 in 4               65

3/30     5,056            10              460           2,684       1 in 6               72

3/31     5,994            18.5           938           4,779       1 in 5               90

4/1       6,980            16.5           986           5,159       1 in 5             141

4/2       7,695            10.2           715           3,272       1 in 4.6          157

4/3       8,904            15.7        1,209           4,392       1 in 3.6          210

4/4     10,357            16           1,456           5,533       1 in 4             243

4/5     11,256            8.6             899           5,402       1 in 6             274

4/6     12,262            9             1,006           3,959       1 in 4             307

4/7     13,549            10.5        1,287           5,790       1 in 4.5          380

4/8     15,078            11.3        1,529           6,334       1 in 4             462

4/9     16,422            9             1,344           5,791       1 in 4.3          528

4/10   17,887            8.7          1,445           6,670       1 in 4.6          596

4/11   19,180            7.2          1,293           5,252       1 in 4.1          677

4/12   20,852            8.7          1,672           7,956       1 in 4.75        720

4/13   22,025            5.6          1,173           5,033       1 in 4.3          794

4/14   23,247            5.5          1,222           4,848       1 in 4             868

The total number of Illinoisans tested now comes to 110,616, the prevalence’s range remains narrow, our mortality rate hit 3.7 percent, and it looks like we’re gonna be stuck in that seventh-place state ranking position for the foreseeable future.

But before we discuss our three-day testing decline, please understand that when your medical professional friend tells you they’re turning people away, that’s simply anecdotal “evidence” that’s worth exactly what you paid for it – nothing!

We know there’s no standardized coronavirus test, there’s no standardized testing methodology, and whether someone gets tested or not, is highly dependent upon the facility. But after ramping up those efforts for the better part of a month, it’s fascinating to see the testing number slip for three straight days.

Is it the result of a lack of available tests or, now that were looking at the disease’s downside, are fewer folks are asking to be tested? I’d like to think it’s the latter, but let’s give it a few more data points before making that call.

Again! Per our opening sentence, all is not lost, Dear Reader! We did beat the April 13 record low new 24-hour case percent increase with a new record low 5.5 percent yesterday. Again, as the numbers have clearly indicated, we’re at the peak of the COVID-19 rollercoaster curve anticipating that downward plunge.

Our five-day moving seems to be saying the same thing:

Date         5-day M Average

4/7                   1,172

4/8                   1,236

4/9                   1,214

4/10                 1,323

4/11                 1,382

4/12                 1,457

4/13                 1,386

4/14                 1,365

Even J. B. said “Illinois is bending the curve” yesterday.

But just like putting away that snow shovel suddenly seems somewhat premature, now is not the time to lapse into a mid-winter complacency. No! In the works of the great Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, “Let’s continue to be careful out there!”

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