The First Ward Coronavirus Report – Still good!

The First Ward Coronavirus Report – Still good!

Though it wasn’t as bad as his last overnight visit, our grandcat Teddy – along with our younger son – is back for an extend stay, and the scurrilous cat unilaterally decided he was nocturnal last night, which apparently requires regular bouts of yowling that can be heard at least two blocks away!

Facts Not Fear 3

So, because I’m a bit sleep deprived, instead of our regularly scheduled First Ward programming, and because the press is right back at their pandemic panic porn best, let’s do a quick coronavirus update! And we’ll start with the most recent numbers:

Date   Cases   % Increase  N Cases   N Tested Prevalence Deaths N Deaths

6/11 130,603            0.5             766         22,325       1 in 29.1     6,185        90

6/12 131,198            0.4             595         24,774       1 in 41.6     6,260        75

6/13 131,871            0.5             673         21,844       1 in 32.4     6,289        29

6/14 132,543            0.5             672         22,004       1 in 32.7     6,308        19

6/15 133,016            0.3             473         18,663       1 in 39.4     6,326        18

6/16 133,689            0.5             673         18,729       1 in 27.8     6,398        72

6/17 134,185            0.3             496         29,987       1 in 60.4     6,485        87

6/18 134,778            0.4             593         25,504       1 in 43        6,537        52

6/19 135,470            0.5             692         27,171       1 in 39.2     6,580        43

6/20 136,104            0.4             634         25,965       1 in 50        6,625        45

6/21 136,742            0.4             638         23,816       1 in 37.3     6,647        22

6/22 137,224            0.3             482         18,219       1 in 37.7     6,671        24

6/23 137,825            0.4             601         20,507       1 in 34.1     6,707        36

6/24 138,540            0.5            715         29,331       1 in 41        6,770        63

6/25 139,434            0.6             894         31,686       1 in 35.4     6,811        41

I’m sure you can see there’s absolutely no evidence of even the mildest Illinois post-protest COVID-19 spike, and the rock bottom daily case numbers indicate just the opposite. Clearly, it’s virtually impossible to catch this thing outdoors, which begs the question, why are we cancelling all manner of morale boosting outdoor summer events?

1. Mortality rate

The Illinois mortality rate inched up from 4.6 to 4.8 percent, but that’s the result of those insistent and inexplicable nursing home deaths combined with our rapidly decreasing daily case numbers. When you consider over half of Illinois coronavirus casualties have occurred in long-term care facilities, the mortality rate has become quite meaningless.

2. New daily case percentage increase

I know I’ve said it before, but bouncing between .3 and .6 percent really is as good as it gets! Until we fully develop herd immunity or an effective vaccine, this pandemic ain’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon. But please note that, at the onset of the plague, it took just 24 hours for cases to double and now the same process takes over 45 days!

3. New daily cases

We haven’t’ had a four-figure new case day since June 5th, and that’s despite Illinois’ unrelenting testing effort. That trend would indicate that, for the next few months, we’ll simply see a 600 daily new case average.

4. Prevalence

Of course, the astonishing prevalence continues to be the best news. It recently retreated as far as 1 in 60.4, settling in at around 1 in 40. It’s truly hard to believe that, less than two months ago, it took five tests get a positive result, but now it takes a whopping 40!

Again! The only possible answer for that is a rapidly growing herd immunity.

5. Daily Deaths

The third-best news is we haven’t seen a three-figure coronavirus death day since June 4th!  And when you combine that stat with the swiftly ICU bed and ventilator numbers, that stat should continue to get better.

6. ICU beds and ventilators

Which brings us to our second-best news as both indicators continue to hit new lows. COVID-19 occupied ICU beds crashed from a March 28 1,290 high to just 389 Wednesday, while ventilator usage similarly dropped from 789 to just 216 on Thursday. Those are massive 70 and 72 percent declines respectively!

 

General COVID-19 thoughts:

1. Coronavirus Spikes

Other than they’re the three most populous states and there’s bound to be a rebound effect after the numbers hit rock bottom, I have no specific answer for the spikes we’re seeing in California, Texas and Florida. But the news the papers refuse to report is, though COVID-19 hospitalizations are up in those states, just like it is with Illinois, deaths are way down.

2. Cancelling outdoor events and youth sports

The Bundesliga just finished their 2020 regular season and the English Premier League has resumed theirs, but neither soccer association has reported one new coronavirus case as a result. That means there’s no reason not to go back to those amazing River’s Edge concerts and restart youth sports. If you don’t want to participate then don’t!

3. New Illinois school resumption rules

Just when you start to think our Governor’s IQ can’t possibly slip any further, it does just that.:

  • I predict a rash of retirements as second grade teachers everywhere run screaming from their schools after just two hours of trying to get their students to stop fiddling with their masks.
  • The CDC has been abundantly clear that you can’t catch COVID-19 from a surface, but students won’t be allowed to share toys.
  • The same agency finally admitted the critical contagion factor is how long someone’s been subject to the virus INDOORS! So, a time when classes should be held outside, there’s no more recess.
  • Temperature checks? Really? By the time you have a temperature you’ve probably already infected half of your classmates. Can you say “pointless?” I knew you

4. The curve is already flatter than a Donald Trump combover

Before the economic havoc-wreaking shutdowns became a partisan hot potato, the entire point of social distancing was to “flatten the curve” such that we didn’t overwhelm our health care system. In the words of a President whose suddenly lookin’ so much better these days, “mission accomplished!”

But with deaths, ICU beds, and ventilator usage all at new lows, Pritzker just declared he’s ready to pull the shelter-in-place trigger again at the slightest pandemic provocation! Why?

I suppose the bright side there is, if he dares attempt to reinstall that bovine manure, the Governor will long for the days of our previous social unrest.

5. We’re still not protecting the vulnerable

Utterly immune to the rising chorus who correctly contend we can open the country while protecting our senior citizens, not only do those bleepin’ Democratic governors refuse to make that eminently obvious move, but they refuse to hold nursing homes accountable for a criminally reckless number of deaths.

And the CDC U.S. COVID-19 age group deaths trend is blithering clear. As of June 17:

Age Group      Deaths

1 to 24            151

25 to 34             699

35 to 44          1,780

45 to 54          4,976

55 to 64        12,307

65+               83,426

I’m sure even an off-meds ADHD sugar-buzzed sixth grader can see the obvious pattern! Our senior citizens account for more than four times all the other coronavirus casualties combined! To put that in perspective, 3,446 Americans under 50 died of the 2017-18 flu, which reasonably approximates the same age group’s current 4,630 COVID-19 deaths.

I’ll say it again! Particularly when you consider the vast number of asymptomatic cases, for reasonably healthy folks under 65, the coronavirus is far milder than the average annual influenza. But regardless of the irrecoverable economic damage a disastrous second shutdown would inevitably entail, our patently pandering politicians are still willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I voted for Dan Walker, Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn, and J. B. Pritzker, but I will never vote for another Illinois Democratic governor again.

Before we part ways till Monday, who’s willing to take Teddy for the weekend so I can get some bleepin’ sleep?

Stay Safe!

8 thoughts on “The First Ward Coronavirus Report – Still good!

  1. I’m not volunteering to take Teddy but at the risk of being accused of being a pandemic porn purveyor I’ll pose some thoughts for all to consider.

    They come under the headline of the Fat Lady Ain’t Sung Yet.

    First, the nationwide curve is not flat and topologically speaking, the president’s hair is as flat as a moebius strip is flat. Please don’t take my attempt at nerd humor as a distraction…the nationwide curve is nowhere near flat and has been trending up (new cases per day) since June 16.

    If the flatness refers to Illinois, maybe … maybe not. But in Illinois the number of new cases in the last week has gone from 482 per day to 894 yesterday…the highest in the table First Ward posts above. Nationally flat? Nope. The last three days show new national maximums for the country as a whole. There’s a picture on https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html which shows anything but flatness. Yesterday saw 41,113 new cases. Yes…that could be the result of testing…more about that later.

    Let’s hope that the reflection on the shape of the Illinois curve is not an invitation to carelessness. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are either considering or have instituted mandatory quarantine for visitors from certain states. How’s that going to work? And even if it does, I heard of no such plan in Illinois. Newly infected people will come here. Some will be spreaders. Some will visit vulnerable people. Some will be careless.

    Ah…but the number of people who are symptomatic is way down. Yes. As Typhoid Mary showed, that’s not a blessing…not even a “mixed blessing” because she was an asymptomatic spreader.

    Let’s take the middle of the spread-rate…i. e. .4% new cases per day. That means a doubling…assuming we keep the discipline of masks and social distancing…in 180 days. That means a quarter of a million new cases in Illinois just in time for Thanksgiving. But that’s just Illinois where “opening up” has been cautious and the outliers having parties in Chicago seem to have calmed down.

    Just yesterday, the CDC estimated that the rate of Asymptomatic to Symptomatic (called the A/S rate) in the USA is 10:1. The nationwide rate, if it continues, will result in 8 times the number of cases reaching some 150 million Americans by Thanksgiving. Maybe Illinois will not be part of that…maybe it will.

    Pandemic porn? I think not. That comes from the CDC which may be wrong but is not allowed to be a panic pandemic porn purveyor.

    Let’s take this further. Case fatality is now about 6% and the very good news is that it is declining fast. Very fast! At least it was declining fast. The NY Times data I linked to showed a monotonic decrease in deaths until 2 days ago. Given that it takes about 3-4 weeks from onset of symptoms to death, as former HHS executive Robert Amler pointed out, given the recent large spikes in cases nationwide we have no business believing that the *number* of deaths will decline. Yes, the death *rate* will decline since more and more of the newly sick are younger and less at risk.

    The run on ICU beds in Texas and Phoenix is an early harbinger of trouble. It can’t simply be dismissed as inexplicable. The average age of those infected has declined and morbidity rates have indeed declined. But some still get very, very sick and they require significant hospital resources.

    Don’t like Governor Pritzker? Okay. Now look at Governor Abbott in Texas and see what he’s doing. Yes there’s a lot that doesn’t make sense in the Illinois Plan. Maybe that will get corrected or maybe we’ll be convinced that they make sense. But so far, according to NY Times data, Illinois is one of only eleven states where the daily number of new cases is declining. Let’s see what De Santis, Hutchinson and Ducey do in the long run.

    Here’s where the pornography gets much too disturbing to watch. I’m talking about the nation now…not just Illinois. Let’s say the death rate drops from the current case fatality rate of 5%~6% to a wonderful 0.6%. Whew…wouldn’t that be cool? NO!!! If the doubling rate stays at what it is now and we have 150 million infected Americans then we will also have 1 million dead Americans. Think .6 case fatality is too high even though today’s rate is 5%? Okay…take .3% case fatality. That means 500,000 more dead Americans.

    We cannot allow this to happen.

    Wear a mask outside and in groups. Maintain your distance. Base behavior on facts. Use critical thinking when listening to what may be misinformation.

    1. Sajemo,

      You can actually write – a rare compliment from me – but then you dash my new intelligent reader hypothesis by choosing to miss the main point of the column.

      1. In these reports, unless otherwise stipulated, I’m always talking about Illinois only.

      2. That means your nationwide argument is immaterial to this column.

      3. Your argument about the doubling 180 days may be mathematically correct, but it utterly ignores the fact that the vast majority of people recover and they recover quickly. So it’s not like the numbers keeping building with no relief as you just insinuated.

      4. I covered the asymptomatic issue when virtually no one else was talking about it. Unless we all get tested on a regular basis, something that ain’t about to happen, those folks change nothing other than hopefully bringing herd immunity closer to reality. So, what’s the point on mentioning them?

      5. Your argument about ICU beds in Houston and Phoenix is very misleading because every last article I’ve read on the recent spikes in those cities cites “hospitalizations” which is quite a different number. Apparently they don’t have the recent ICU bed information or they’re too lazy to look it up.

      6. You say “use critical thinking” but then you fail to do so! You act as if we don’t know exactly who’s dying from this disease when I served it up to you on a silver platter. How many times to I have to say open the country up, but protect the most vulnerable – those over 65 with underlying conditions. Your math assumes we’re just gonna throw caution into the wind and hand our senior citizens out to dry which is clearly not the case.

      7. Wear a mask in stores and similar locales. You virtually cannot catch the disease outside so social distancing is only important indoors, where it’s generally not possible. And please don’t listen to the “experts” because they changed their minds more often than Donald Trump.

      In the end, you’re simply towing the pandemic panic porn progressive line which is why I’m about to wage a personal electoral war against any Kane County progressive who has the temerity to run.

      Put more simply, by ignoring the fact that we know EXACTLY who this thing kills, your entire argument falls apart.

      But I do appreciate the comment!

      Jeff

      1. Thank you for the compliment.

        And yet, I started my response to you feeling somewhat defensive. You escaped name-calling by a whisker but still referred to many of my comments on the basis of your grading my intelligence. I can answer some of your rebuttal point by point but let’s see if we can avoid tit-for-tat arguments and personal animus. I’m trying real hard to respond based only on the four corners of covid-19 and its effect on Illinois and America. Yes, I know your column is only about Illinois. So yell at me again if you must when I stray (I do).

        Here’s our fundamental disagreement and it can be summed up by looking straight at your column. “[T]he vast majority of people recover and they recover quickly.” I can look deeper into the “quickly” part but the main point is the vast majority who recover. Yes they do! Wonderful!

        It’s the honey trap of looking at numbers divorced from human consequences. Let’s say that 99.5% of Illinoisans who catch covid-19 recover. That would be great because using the chart you post, Illinois has had a pretty consistent recovery rate of a lesser 95%. That is indeed the “vast majority.” That’s pretty seductive and seduction fits neatly into your formulation that teeth gnashing about covid-19 is pandemic porn.

        Okay…. recovery sounds good so far. Since we know that many more people have the coronavirus than are diagnosed it’s even better than a 95% recovery rate. Now follow me here because I’m going to make the statement that this is where things start to sound like Bataan. Just this week the CDC estimated the number of people who harbor the coronavirus is ten times the number diagnosed. Huzzahs and hoorays erupted. What great news! WRONG! It’s a disaster. An unmitigated disaster. It means that we have ten times more asymptomatic spreaders wandering around. Bear with me.

        The chart you post shows an Illinois daily growth rate of .4% (let’s stipulate to .4% even though the daily growth rate was .5% and .6% the last two days). That means the number of new cases will double in 180 days (per the rule of 72).

        Almost finally, let’s use the daily growth rate of .4% with today’s 95% recovery rate using the base of 139,434 infected Illinoisans shown in your chart. Doing so would be totally consistent with your chart. Or, let’s use the .4% daily growth rate with 99.5% recovery but on a base of the more likely 1,394,340 infected Illinoisans. Recovery isn’t pretty in many cases and it leaves some with long term deficits..but let’s stay focused on the death rates. Either way, we will have 13,943 more dead Illinoisans by the end of the year. That’s four 9/11s in Illinois alone by the end of the year. And that’s assuming we can keep the Illinois growth rate at .4% as we open up and as asymptomatic people from other states with much higher growth rates visit their friends and relatives here in Illinois. Any reason to expect the growth rate to slow to less than .4% daily?

        You shout at me because you claim I ignore the fact that we know exactly who’s dying and we can protect them. I hope we can. Yet, the honey trap again…the CDC reports that 20% of the dead cohort is under the age of 65. Source: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Death-Counts-by-Sex-Age-and-S/9bhg-hcku. The growth in cases and the growth in fatalities to date suggest that we are doing poorly protecting anyone.

        There’s another way to look at knowing exactly who’s dying. I won’t quote it here because it’s pretty inflammatory and it might derail the discussion. But please look at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html.

        Finally,
        Thank you once again for the writing compliment. Coming from you I do appreciate it. On the other hand, I would rather be Moses than Aaron: tongue tied and not as eloquent…but the one who helps people abandon the calf.

        Well, now really finally. You write, “But I don [sic] appreciate the comment!” Everyone has typos. But that one is delicious.

      2. You’re welcome! And I fixed the typo shortly after I made it – 120 wpm does require some sacrifices.

        But you’re still dead wrong. You’re just like those string theorists who created an incredible mental ballet that, while mathematically sound, resembles no reality anywhere. Despite CERN proving their eminently high mass WIMPS don’t exist, they simply persevere in upping the mass projections because the next collision will prove they exist, right?

        1. There are human consequences to everything, and the shutdown has proven to be far more deleterious than the pandemic, particularly to minorities. Interesting, ain’t it. The deaths, mental health issues, alcoholism, substance abuse, and economic upheaval from these shutdowns make the shutdown a cure far worse than the disease.

        You conveniently ignore this FACT because it simply doesn’t fit your world view. And this is what makes me want to beat progressives bloody. “Not one more life to the pandemic” while they completely ignore the immense shelter-in-place fallout.

        2. Then, 99,000 American a year, mostly in long-term care facilities, die of secondary infections like MRSA every years. Those are the epitome of preventable deaths, but even though a city the size of Elgin disappears every year as a result, no one’ forcing these folks to clean a little bit better? So while I’m moving forward from a purely mathematical and logical standpoint, you’re working backwards to “prove” the latest absurd and illogical progressive political position? That’s the real difference here.

        Put more simply I’m arguing the facts and you’re pandering because it makes you feel better about yourself.

        3. Your “minorities and poor die from this” argument is beyond specious because it’s not that that they’re any more susceptible to COVID-19, it’s because they don’t have the best healthcare options. So, are you really saying that, rather addressing the root cause that Pritzker and Lightfoot only pay lip service to, we should shut down again to mitigate their unconscionable social and political lapses? Since a prolonged and disastrous shutdown was a good thing, why not give it a second shot?

        And the massive irony there is, as Mayor Lightfoot quickly discovered, Minorities are the group least likely to follow social distancing guideline.

        4. As far as your “10 times more” asymptomatic argument goes, it actually proves my point on a number of different levels. First, it means that for reasonably healthy people under 65, the COVID-19 mortality rate is actually .002 to 006 percent which is exponentially milder that the 2017-18 flu.

        Second, it means the vast majority of folks who get it have mild to asymptomatic cases such that they’ll never consider an ER, much less a hospital room, so the “overwhelming health care” which was a bullshit argument to being with will certainly never happen. How many temporary facilities are still open in Illinois?

        And third, since we’re clearly never gonna rise to the level of testing the entire population, since young folks only get asymptomatic and mild cases, and we can’t determine what asymptomatic folks have it, this is exactly why we should open the county and protect the vulnerable. It’s a far better solution than shutting the country down, but progressives simply can’t let go of the pandering nanny state aspect of all this.

        5. As I clearly stated in this and previous columns, I don’t see the growth getting any better than .3 to .4 percent. So we agree on that, but it’s pretty much immaterial to this debate. Only Donald Trump thinks the pandemic is going to magically disappear.

        Meanwhile, my entire 14-year journalist history has been abandoning the calf, much to my own personal detriment. But the truth is the truth regardless of what your or I believe and I have made an active decision to pursue it regardless of the consequences. I’m sure you recall just how much the Geneva Police love me!

        You have failed to provide even the slightest evidence that subverts my blitheringly obvious protect the vulnerable and let’s get back to living argument.

        And here’s the thing, if people don’t want to participate the re-opening, THEY DON’T HAVE TO! Which is another major difference between me and you – I’m not asking anyone to do anything they don’t want to to, while progressives like you are enjoying their new dictatorial powers because they always know what’s better for the rest of us, don’t they?

        Again, my war on progressives – and I have a 93 percent positive campaign track record – is going to be the stuff of legend going forward.

        Finally, to paraphrase the great Henry Blake, “There are certain rules about life. And rule number one is people die. And rule number two is, we can’t change rule number one.”

        I choose to live regardless of the consequences I’ve invited into my life on a slew of different levels. But you choose to die every day. Taking away people’s lives in an effort to protect them is the fuckin’ worst and most patronizing element of humanity I can think of. It’s nothing more than a desperate need for power and control that most folks can’t handle.

        You’re wrong! Get used to it!

        Jeff

  2. Jeff, thank you for your column.
    I’ve been say that the cure is worse than the disease since this all came to pass. The country has lost it’s fucking mind.
    Myself, I do not believe that the government has the right to impose the restrictions that they have.
    Let’s shut down the economy, dismantle the police, tear down monuments that, right or wrong, document a past reality. Let’s protect everyone from themselves.
    Who do these people think they are?
    And why are so many people willing to give up their freedom?
    I refuse to live in fear, even being in the “danger zone” demographic.
    I hope you continue this blog and beating your head against the wall listening to all of the sheep.
    I do have to ask, What was wrong with Rauner anyway?

    1. Geneva,

      And sadly, I’d bet that when the virus spikes as a result of schools reopening, Pritzker will try to shut down the state again!

      The problem with Rauner was, he tried to undo 30 years of Darth Madigan in just 2 years and Darth chewed him up and spit him out. Rome wasn’t built, or destroyed, in a day!

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