Brief update and correction

First, a correction.  On the previous graphs and notes the “Y” (vertical) axis was mislabeled as deaths per 1000 population; it should have been per 10,000.  Just a typo on the labels (and using copypasta too much), the data itself and plots were OK.  Here is the chart for this morning (29 March) with the correct label, and the points a bit larger and hopefully clearer:

I again want to caution everyone about getting too worked up over daily wobbles in the numbers.  First of all, the systems that compile this data are really overworked.  Italy, for example, has some known delays in accounting so that when a death is registered may be some time after it actually occurred.  As previously discussed “cases” are a terrible metric because they depend on the availability of testing as well as the “case” being severe enough for someone to bother to test it. And it takes on average at least three weeks for the impact of measures like “social distancing” to show up in mortality data; this chart is a look back at what was going three, even four weeks ago (because of the time it takes for someone exposed to get sick and pass away).  So while like everyone I’m nervous about Italy and Spain not starting to trend lower, I’m not worried about it (yet).  If they go above 2.5 and still trending rapidly up, that’s not a good sign.  But as you can see, there’s a long way to go before that happens.

I’m not showing a total US plot for several reasons.  First, countries like Italy and Spain (as wells as Hubei province, China) are in population about the size and area of our states.  Second, areas larger than states have multiple “start times” and and the curves are so messy it’s hard to see what is going on.  Will check back in a few days to see where things are going …

2 thoughts on “Brief update and correction

  1. Just a general question. Given official data of confirmed cases in a given county, is there a figure, a factor by which an estimate can be made as to how many cases there are in the general population?

    • The county level data is really problematic. Each one has different critera, ability to test, etc. I ball park is there are anywhere from 10 to 20 times as many unconfirmed “cases” (meaning people exposed and infected to some degree or another) as there are “confirmed” ones.

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