Covid Update, 12-22 July

The expected adverse effects of premature reopening, supported by reportage and preliminary intel from hotspots, are now manifesting themselves in the population-level daily data.

Having experienced a protracted decline from the mid-April peak, and after having settled into a month-long plateau at or near its nadir, the covid daily death count has jumped by a third over the last ten days:

  • July 12 — July 22:   843 deaths per day
  • July 2 — July 12:   633 deaths per day
  • June 22 —  July 2:    630 deaths per day
  • June 12 —  June 22:   599 deaths per day
  • June 2 –  June 12:   853 deaths per day
  • May 23 –  June 2:   940 deaths per  day
  • May 13 –  May 23:   1,316 deaths per day
  • May 3 –  May 13:   1,700 deaths per day

Daily test-positive case counts continued their steady climbs, now three-and-a-half times the rate of late May:

  • July 12 — July 22:   68.3 new test-positives per day
  • July 2 — July 12:   57.5K new test-positives per day
  • June 22 – July 2:   44.5K new test-positives per day
  • June 12 – June 22:   27.1K new test-positives per day
  • June 2 – June 12:   22.0K new test-positives per day
  • May 23 – June 2:   21.8K new test-positives per  day
  • May 13 – May 23:   24.2K new test-positives per day
  • May 3 – May 13:   24.5K new test-positives per day

While the increase in test-positives looks dramatic, there’s widespread agreement that (a) the increased daily count is largely an artifact of the increasing number of tests being administered, and yet (b) formal diagnostic test results are still drastically undercounting the prevalence and spread of the virus in the population.

As I documented in a recent post, there’s a close covariation between changes in percent test-positives and changes in death rates, with deaths understandably lagging a week or two behind. Here are the average test-positive rates since May 3 in 10-day increments:

  • July 12 — July 22:   8.7%
  • July 2 — July 12:   7.9%
  • June 22 —  July 2:    6.6%
  • June 12 —  June 22:   4.7%
  • June 2 –  June 12:   4.6%
  • May 23 –  June 2:   5.4%
  • May 13 –  May 23:   6.6%
  • May 3 –  May 13:   9.8%

The percent positives have over the past month doubled from their low ebb, while deaths began increasing only ten days ago. If earlier trends hold, then death rates will continue to climb until they double, reaching around 1,200 per day within the next 10-day interval. Body counts have averaged 1,200 over the past two days.

I’ve complained repeatedly about the lack of reliable systematic surveillance  data for estimating the prevalence and incidence of covid’s spread through the population. Soon I want to write a post updating my best estimates of the number of people who’ve been infected and the viral reproduction number (Rt), using the limited public sources of data available to the public.

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