Since I really need to get back to writing ‘The Diary of a Curmudgeon’ – how can you do a diary book if you fail to make regular entries – let’s get right to the point! And the first point is, yesterday was a virtual carbon-copy of Tuesday.
So, here’s our now overly familiar table:
Date T Cases % Increase N Cases N Tests Prevalence Deaths
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
40,384 Illinoisans have now been tested and our mortality rate leapt to 2 percent. We’ll discuss that in a bit.
Again, as a result of our best testing day yet, there were 986 new coronavirus cases which amounts to a more than that reasonable 16.5 24-hour new case percentage rate. The prevalence rate held steady at 1 in 5.
Please note that, while the number of new testing and new cases is going up, it’s more than heartening to watch the daily percentage consistently come down, particularly now that we’re heading directly into the eye of the coronavirus hurricane.
The bottom line is, every time that percentage rate drops, the curve flattens a little bit more and the compound interest dividend gets larger.
Meanwhile, Illinois remains firmly ensconced in seventh place among the states with the most coronavirus cases and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.
As for our recent mortality rate concerns, I want to thank my friend Paul Stukel for coming up with the probable solution for the growing disparity between some states. It all comes down to how you count coronavirus deaths.
The Italian Health Authority just released a study showing 99 percent of their COVID-19 casualties had a serious underlying condition like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Paul sent me a similar New York state study and their data mimics the Italians.
For metaphorical purposes, there is a concept in the law called the “eggshell skull rule,” or as it’s more colloquially known, “You take your victim as you find them.”
What that means is, if you kill a cancer patient with just 24 hours to live, it’s still a homicide. To wit, mounting a “he was gonna die anyway” defense won’t get you very far with the man or woman in black. Law professors love to offer the example where someone shoots a suicidal man jumping off a ten-story building as he passes the second floor. Future considerations notwithstanding, you’re heading for the pokey!
But while that makes perfect legal sense, similar medical thinking can massively skew a state mortality rate.
If a congestive heart failure patient with a poor prognosis was felled a year early by the coronavirus, is it really a coronavirus death? Probably not. So, those higher Louisiana, Michigan, Washington and Georgia mortality rates are likely the result of a non-standardized method of determining the cause of death.
Before you hit the “send” button, I’m not trying to be callous with this. But when some states suddenly start seeing a higher death rate, with no other avaialble explanation, it could mean the disease is mutating and that would not be good.
Again, critical thinking based on logic and fact is an almost magical thing.
Our final point of the day will be, between the 99 percent preexisting condition revelation and widespread Iceland testing suggesting as many as 50 percent of COVID-19 sufferers are asymptomatic, I firmly believe we must adopt an entirely new pandemic paradigm.
We’ll cover those thoughts tomorrow, but ONLY IF YOU PROMISE not to mass in front of my house with the pitchforks and torches for having the temerity to suggest something new. After all, that would be very poor social distancing.
I’m just gonna keep on saying it, keep up the good work!