Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Trump At Yesterday's Press Briefing

If you didn't see yesterday's White House briefing on the coronavirus -- I didn't until this morning -- the first 10-15 minutes are worth a look. It was like there was a completely different president. Trump looked stunned, like he'd seen a ghost. Grim, no swagger, no arrogance, presidential. In a way I almost felt sorry for him.

After Trump, Dr. Blix shows the projections that must have hit Trump hard.

PS: With the recent changes to Blogger, now videos look stupid too.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Seismic Noise Reduction from Lockdown

From a Nature article "Coronavirus lockdowns have changed the way Earth moves," here's an example from Belgium:

US Deaths Consistently Lagging Cases by About Two Weeks

So here are US cases and US deaths on a logarithmic scale:

The lines are quite parallel -- here's by how much: the number of days total deaths are behind total cases (to the nearest day):

It's been at 15-16 days now for two weeks. I'm beginning to understand how the US might see 100,000 to 200,000 deaths. And quickly -- perhaps over the next two to three weeks.

Monday, March 30, 2020

US Daily Changes Compared to Italy

I took out two data points that had obvious problems -- for example, the WHO data for Italy on 3/15 show only 90 new cases, when the day before there were 2,500 new cases and the day after 6,200.

Blogger has a new interface (for authors), but still publishes fuzzy images. I'm sorry.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Portland Health Provider Secures PPE

My sister is an in-home visiting physical therapist for Providence Health & Services in Portland (Oregon). Here is what Providence has done in the face of a shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Their efforts have been very successful, and, I think, deserve to be highlighted.

Amy Compton-Phillips, M.D. and Jeff Kaas Interview from PSJH Digital on Vimeo.

Trend Plots

Here's a very interesting and thoughtful presentation on the various trend plots of Covid-19 by country. Short answer: do log-log plots to distinguish differences. Long answer: I wish he'd talk slower.

Thanks to Layzej.

25 Minutes Until Dinner Time

Daily Deaths Peaking?

Update: These data may not be accurate. In particular, the last data point for each country is from WHO's spreadsheets, for March 27th. But March 27th isn't over yet.... Also, of course there was recently a day in the US without any deaths (the gap in the blue line; see below).

Also, WaPo says Italy "reported 919 coronavirus deaths in one day." Maybe that's today (3/27), or maybe it's yesterday (3/26). But WHO reports 685 deaths for Italy yesterday, and 660 today. They're using the John Hopkins database. I'm confused about which dataset is best.

Hmm, here are the daily increases in deaths for both Italy and the US. Both appear to be peaking.... I can accept that for Italy, but am very surprised the US shows the same trend:

PS: The gap in the US line is because WHO data showed no additional death that day, and for some mysterious reason Bill Gates' Excel won't take the logarithm of zero.

Bill Gates Is Not Encouraging

Here's Bill Gates on CNN telling us that we're screwed -- I can't believe the US can meet the Wuhan-like restrictions he says are necessary until perhaps the end of May.

I realize he's not an epidemiologist or even a scientist, but he's smart enough to be one and surely has a lot of experience in this kind of thinking due to his Foundation.
Random question: would it have been better to tax Gates heavily throughout his career, a la what Bernie Sanders advocates, or let him earn (but tax as he was) so he could do good things with his money, like establish the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that's vaccinating the developing world?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The US Is Having A Disastrous Day

Holy shit. When today ends, the US is looking at at least 27,800 additional cases (50% increase) and at least 396 additional deaths (+49%).

(Comparing WHO daily data, ending with 3/25, with the latest data.)

And yet I don't imagine there's a single thing Trump could do -- or would care to do -- to address this.

PS: Don't even try to fucking compare this to climate change. Now isn't the time.

How Does This End?

I've cut back on blogging, because, well, I got a little burned out looking at the numbers, but more so because I became distressed thinking about the future.

Italy, where the number of new cases per day seems to have peaked, says its lockdown will stop "well before" the end of July, though it might be piecemeal. The US just passed Italy in number of cases (but not per capita), though perhaps the New York City region has.

Yet Italy is no longer resuscitating people older than 60. (Snopes: "mixture")

This feels now like this situation is moving beyond mere numbers. Numbers are fun, until they aren't. The US has remained 15 days or so behind Italy for at least two weeks. There's no reason to expect that the next two weeks will go differently. NYC hospitals are already on the brink of being overwhelmed, and will certainly be so soon.

Overwhelmed hospitals is not something I've ever thought about, let alone thought would ever occur in the US. Could ever occur.

And yet I still don't know anyone who actually has Covid-19, let alone suffered from it, let alone died from it. It's still only prevalent at around 1 in 1000. But what I read scares me, which makes for a strange reaction to something that so far, to me, has only been abstract. I work at home and am disconnected from the work-a-day lifestyle. I haven't felt a visceral impact from this disease. I buy groceries as normal. Yet something is different.

I don't know exactly what that is. It's like waiting for the the other shoe to drop, but I have yet to see the first shoe drop. It's up there somewhere over my shoulder. Having to call for an ambulance at 11 pm because I can't breathe no longer seems difficult to imagine. Improbable -- I guess -- but imaginable.

So I've cut back on downloading the latest statistics, and cutback on reading news articles. They no longer say anything I can't imagine.

Please keep commenting as much as you wish, even though I can't always keep up. But I know you each well enough now that it's reassuring in its way. Just now it seems bigger than numbers, bigger than science, bigger than the news.

The other problem is I can't see how this ends. Yesterday my sister texted me and said, "I hate Trump more than ever," and I certainly feel the same. Yet I can't see self-isolating happening much past Easter, if even that long. Not in Italy, but even worse in America, where too many people think they have a right to do anything they want regardless of the consequences. But what else can work? Nothing I have read about. There's no vaccine, no special behavior, no epidemiological secrets. So what's supposed to happen? The US economy won't remain closed until July or whatever the necessary date is. So the only thing that can happen is, as far as I can see, the virus will surge, as will the deaths. Deaths of a million or two, I'm afraid.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

US Still 15 Days Behind Italy

The US case number is still 15 day behind Italy.

15 days ago, the US was...15 days behind Italy.

Why the Low US Death Rate?

Is the US Covid-19 (relatively low) death rate just because we're further back in the infection timeline?

Monday, March 23, 2020

Trump Murders Someone

One death, one critical. One murder by Trump.

The weapon: stupidity. 

"Man dies after self-medicating with chloroquine," Axios 3/23/20

This Makes Me Laugh

Who Has Exponential Growth

The NY Times says the best way to look for changes in the trend is via a log plot. OK, here were some case rates as of yesterday:

A straight line here means exponential growth (unless the line is flat, in which case the number of cases is a constant, viz no growth).

So Italy is experiencing something a bit less than exponential growth, and the US something a bit more. 

Don't forget, the problem with charts like this one is that it's easy to forget that exponential growth is bad enough. Slight reductions in it aren't much to be assuaged by, unless you are looking deep for a reason to hope.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Bill Gates Nailed It

Perhaps you've seen this, but if not it's worth watching. In 2015 Bill Gates got this exactly right. And he's no expert -- he got it from listening to experts who were saying it. Yet the United States, the richest country in history, has been caught largely unprepared for this virus. Despite intelligence reports, Trump selfishly downplayed the danger for weeks. He has already killed Americans and his inaction will see the death of many more. His rank stupidity -- there's no other honest word for it -- is killing people. It seems almost impossible now to overestimate the impact. This is how scary it's become: in Italy, doctors are no longer using respirators on people over 60. I think this is the most shocking thing I've heard yet.

And this, from less than two weeks ago, is very informative:

US: That "Hitch" is Gone

Yesterday's "hitch" in new cases doesn't pay out. 

as the US creeps still closer to Italy's path:

New cases in one day:

Italy    6,419  (14%)
US    6,982  (35%)
Canada    239  (22%)
China    45

US cases per capita are 9.2% of Italy's; a week ago we were at 2.2%.

But US cases per capita are now 2.1 times the same number for the rest of the world:

Finally, I should mention how I calculate my numbers. Instead of using WHO's data, which are given day-by-day for a full day, I use the current data that appears on Worldometer, owned by the software company Dadax. Since I don't look at the data every time the same day (but usually do so between 5-7 am, depending on when my cats want breakfast), I normalize the numbers to 24 hours. So if X new cases appeared in 25.5 hours, the number I report is (X/25.5)*24.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

This Is How Scary Italy's Situation Is

Italy reported 973 deaths yesterday. That's over 50% of their natural death rate.

Italy's population is about 60.5 M, and their "natural" death rate in 2019 was 10.566 per thousand people (1.0566%). That works out to 1,750 deaths per day. 973 deaths is 56% of that.

Italy's current Covid-19 death rate is 2.5 1.8 times Italy's average death rate in World War 2.

Italy saw 457,000 deaths in WW2 (military and civilian), with a population of 44 million. They fought for 3.25 years, from June 1940 to Sept 1943. That works out to an average death rate of 141,000 deaths per year, or 385 deaths per day, or 0.32% per year.

Forget About That Hitch?

The numbers today aren't good. Since 6 am PT this morning, the US has already seen an increase of 6,120 cases -- which will be the largest daily increase so far.

There's still 13 hours to go, but of course there isn't the same reported new case rate overnight. From 6 pm yesterday to 6 am today (PT), about 280 cases were reported. The same number tonight would make a total increase of 32% in one day.

40 deaths so far today, which is about average.

It's strange that that seems an improvement over a 40-50% increase.

You probably saw that Italy reported 793 deaths in one day. Here are some death rates as of yesterday. Click to enlarge.

New US Cases Not On the Exponential Curve Today

There is a slight hitch in new US coronavirus cases today. Hopefully that's the start of something:

The US now has more cases per capita than China has/had:
Italy  777 cases per million
US    60
China    58
Canada    29
But the US is still 15 days behind Italy, same as yesterday.