The First Ward Cornavirus Report – May 3, 2020

Again, if I had to apply a more descriptive title to this piece it would be “Back on track” even though I’m not sure we were ever truly off track!

An erudite reader noted our last two out-of-whack prevalence days were likely the result of the State’s sudden focus on testing nursing home residents. If that was the case, and the increased senior facility press coverage would indicate it is, it would certainly account for that strange shift back to 1 in 4.5.

Facts Not Fear

So, here are all the new numbers:

Date   Cases   % Increase  N Cases    N Tested  Prevalence  Deaths 

4/15   24,593            5.7          1,346           6,313       1 in 4.7          948

4/16   25,733            4.8          1,180           5,660       1 in 4.8       1,072

4/17   27,575            7.1          1,842           7,574       1 in 4.1       1,134

4/18   29,160            5.7          1,585           7,241       1 in 4.5       1,259

4/19   30,357            4.1          1,197           5,914       1 in 5          1,290

4/20   31,508            3.8          1,151           5,040       1 in 4.4       1,349

4/21   33,059            4.7          1,551           6,639       1 in 4.3       1,468

4/22   35,108            6.1          2,049           9,350       1 in 4.6       1,565

4/23   36,934            5.2          1,826           8,969       1 in 4.9       1,688

4/24   39,658            7.3          2,724         16,315       1 in 6          1,795

4/25   41,777            5.3          2,119         11,985       1 in 5.6       1,874

4/26   43,903            5.0          2,126         12,975       1 in 6.1       1,933

4/27   45,833            4.4          1,930         13,096       1 in 6.75     1,983

4/28   48,102            4.9          2,269         14,561       1 in 6.4       2,125

4/29   50,355            4.6          2,253         14,478       1 in 6.4       2,215

4/30   52,918            4.8          2,563         13,200       1 in 5.2       2,355

5/1     56,055            5.6          3,137         14,821       1 in 4.7       2,457

5/2     58,505            4.3          2,450         15,208       1 in 6.2       2,559

299,896 Illinoisan have been tested and Illinois is still in fourth place in the state rankings.

As a good friend reminded me, when it comes to the testing process, we’re not talking about tests that occurred that day – we’re talking about the test results that came in that day. Depending upon where you’re tested, you might get the results right away or it could take as long as four days.

Bill Gates recently lamented that having to wait four days for results while you infect your friends and family isn’t a very helpful proposition. But, despite any lag time, our numbers still work because time is always a statistician’s friend, as in any testing anomalies will work themselves out over time.

With that stipulation entered into the record, we’re back to the kind of disconnects we like to see! Our second-best test result day brought us our third-highest new case day pushing the prevalence back to 1 in 6.2. That means it took more tests to get fewer positive results.

It would also appear that, for those with reported coronavirus cases, the Illinois mortality rate truly rests somewhere between 4.3 and 4.4 percent. But if we’re really starting to test mild to asymptomatic virus sufferers, that number should start to retreat.

The next best disconnect news is, considering the average 10 to 12 day time frame for a severe COVID-19 case to move to the ICU, our former record April 23 new case day, so far, has not lead to a commensurate increase in ICU bed usage:

Date   ICU Beds     %+     Ventilators      %+

4/23       1,225                         709

4/24       1,244        1.5            763               7.6

4/25       1,267        1.8            772               1.1

4/26       1,249       -1.4            763              -1.1

4/27       1,245       -0.3            778               1.9

4/28       1,290        0.3            777              -0.1

4/30       1,289       -0.8            785               1.0

5/1         1,263       -2.0            777              -1.0

5/2         1,250       -1.0            789               1.5

In fact, the number of Illinois COVID-19 occupied beds actually dropped by 1 percent, instead. And while that 13-bed decline doesn’t seem like much, anytime a statistic expected to rise, decreases, it’s an exceptionally good sign.

Ventilator use did go up, but that tells us more about the severity of the hospitalized cases than anything about the pandemic.

It was also encouraging to see our daily new case increase percentage drop back to 4.1 percent. That means that, even in the face of some record case days, the spread of the disease continues to decelerate. The fact that Chicago’s shutting down the McCormick Place overflow facility certainly supports that theory.

So, the statistical lesson here is, it doesn’t pay to panic over just one or two potential outlier days. I know the newspapers’ doom-and-gloom drumbeat headlines make it a lot more difficult to stay sane, but you can always take solace in the fact that the numbers never lie.

Lastly, getting back to my roving reporter days, my wife and I drove through the St. Charles’s Lowe’s parking lot around 1 p.m. yesterday, and let me tell you, social distancing, particularly in the garden area, was almost as impossible as sneaking dawn past a rooster. And only two-thirds of the happy shoppers were wearing masks, too!

Furthermore, if you believe Apple Data, then shelter-in-place actually ended about three weeks ago! But Governor Pritzker, taking a page from the Malcolm Crowe playbook (Look it up!), refuses to see it’s already dead. It will be interesting to see if there’s a coronavirus spike in five to seven days, but since no one’s playing along anymore, it’s time to reopen businesses and get back to work!

Stay safe!

 

5 thoughts on “The First Ward Cornavirus Report – May 3, 2020

  1. As always, your just the numbers reporting helps filter out the media’s doom and gloom! Thank you.

  2. We tend to believe what we see and not what is force fed to us by the media. Thank you for your sane and down to earth reporting.

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