Your First Ward Roving Reporter – More good news!

Your First Ward Roving Reporter – More good news!

I promised you some good news this morning, but before we go there, you, in turn, have to promise me you’re not gonna take what I’m about to say as license to drop your guard and completely misbehave! To wit, Hong Kong, a city of 7.5 million people just a stone’s throw from mainland China, was lauded as a model for coronavirus containment, having suffered just 150 cases.

But then they allowed the people who fled the island in fear to return, and now their coronavirus cases have doubled in the past week. And when you have that mass of humanity crammed into a 427 square mile area, it’s not a very encouraging sign.

Honk Kong officials are working to re-contain the virus

So now that we understand each other, let’s review the latest Illinois coronavirus curve:

Date     Total Cases  Deaths    % Increase       Mortality Rate

3/17          161

3/18          288                         78 percent

3/19          422                         46.5 percent

3/20          585                         37 percent

3/21          753                         29 percent

3/22       1,049                         39 percent

3/23       1,285            12         22.5 percent        .9 percent

My fear was the 39 percent Friday to Saturday percentage increase was the start of a new upward trend, but even though we’re not nearly out of the woods yet, the most recent 22.5 percent rise is more in line with our general downward progression.

Facts Not Fear

Starting March 19, if we eliminate the probable 3/22 noise and subtract the current day’s increase from the previous, we get a mathematical sequence that looks like this:

-9.5, -8, -6.5

You see it, right? Simply subtract 1.5 from the previous number to get the newest array member. Though I’d certainly like to see more data before making any final proclamation, the odds of this numeric series being purely random are pretty slim.

I know there’s a way to test for randomness in a set, and I’m sure I knew how to do it at one time, but while I regularly apply mathematics to the candidates I manage, those University of Loyola statistics classes are a somewhat distant memory.

Put more simply, I tend to deal with pattern recognition and not standard deviations these days.

A much clearer indication of our state’s coronavirus containment success is to compare our case totals to other states:

New York         21,689

New Jersey        2,844

Washington      2,223

California          1,733

Michigan           1,328

Illinois               1,285

Florida               1,237

Louisiana          1,172

Illinois has already dropped to from fourth to sixth place, and Florida is on a trajectory to pass us today or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, astute readers continue to consider the possibility of a large pool of unreported cases eventually skewing the Illinois curve. But the problem with their theory is, it’s virtually impossible to have two equal and somewhat opposite trends.

Please allow me to explain!

The reported cases are generally the more serious ones where those with the ailment visit their doctor or some other medical facility for care. That’s how they’re counted. And we’re overly concerned with those folks because, left unchecked, the difficult cases would quickly overwhelm our ICU beds and ventilators.

If there was a vast pool of asymptomatic and silent Illinois sufferers, they would be infecting others at an alarming rate, which would directly lead to higher daily serious coronavirus percentage case increases, not smaller ones.

The only other statistical possibility would be that successful social distancing is offsetting the potential unreported masses. So, whether we agree on that possibility or not, the numbers indicate that we invariably end up in the same place!

Again, if we let down our guard just like Hong Kong did, that trend will quickly reverse, so keep up the good work Illinois!

4 thoughts on “Your First Ward Roving Reporter – More good news!

  1. But aren’t those numbers confirmed COVID cases? In other words positive tests? So if I call my doc and tell him I’ve got a fever, coughing, aching, sore throat, etc., and he says “yep, you’ve got COVID. Isolate yourself, stay home, yada yada, call if you get worse”, and doesn’t have me come in for a test, my case doesn’t add into the numbers, right? Somebody who likes conspiracy theories might think that the lack of tests wasn’t just a lack of preparation. Remember the “leave the cruise ship out there, I like the numbers where they are”?

    1. Jeff,

      I’m sure there are a number of unreported, untested, and very mild cases out there. But again, the odds for the serious reported cases following one trend and the mild cases another would be infinitesimal.

      And if there were an infected unreported mob, the IL death toll would probably be much higher!


      1. There was an interesting interview on the Rachel Maddow show last night, about a county in Colorado that a testing company is testing the entire county population twice. Now and then 14 days later. One thing they’ve found is that so far 50% of the asymptomatic people tested are positive for COVID 19.

      2. Jeff,

        That’s virtually epidemically impossible. Even during the Spanish Influenza of 1918, only 33 percent of the population caught it.

        And considering the vast majority of us are social distancing, a 50 percent infection rate is beyond preposterous.

        That means the tests are fatally flawed. My best guess is, most of us contracted a previous version of the coronavirus (a bird based disease) and the tests are picking up on those previous illnesses.

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