COVID-19 Update: Back into Panic Mode

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has released its COVID-19 update, and I’m back into panic mode. The number of reported new cases leaped to 563 yesterday, the biggest number yet. What I had tentatively described yesterday as a respite in the exponential rate of increase over the weekend turned out to be an artifact of data collection, a slowdown in reporting to the VDH, not a slowdown in the spread of the virus.

So, rest assured, we are all still doomed.

Here are the updated statistics. For the sake of continuity, I have stuck with VDH statistics for most metrics. However, I am adding new metrics from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association website that are useful in tracking degrees of severity of the disease: COVID-19 patients in ICUs and using ventilators.

Total COVID-19 cases: 3,333, up 455 from the previous day
Total hospitalizations: 563, up 66 from the previous day
ICUs in use: 408, up 21
Ventilators in use: 283, down two
Total deaths
: 54 to 63, up nine
Total tests: 28,645, up 4,124
% tests positive: 11.0%

Here are John Butcher’s “doubling” calculations:

Case count: 3.5 days
Hospitalizations: 3.7 days
Deaths: 4.8 days

The hopeful sub-text to the latest numbers is that they do not actually represent an acceleration of the spread of the disease.


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35 responses to “COVID-19 Update: Back into Panic Mode”

  1. WayneS Avatar

    Is anyone tracking recoveries? I have not been able to find any information on how many have recovered from the virus in Virginia.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Positives — deaths

      1. WayneS Avatar

        That will be true once the pandemic is completely over, but it is not correct as of now.

        1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          Two, maybe, one week lag. Besides, it doesn’t count until after medical service saturation occurs.

    2. WTOP radio this morning was comparing status of MD+DC+VA, including recoveries, and they said Va. was not reporting recoveries.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    The thing that is not understood is that this is NOT going away. We have
    kept the numbers down by social distancing but we will have to continue social distancing until we get a vaccine or we have massive testing like they did in South Korea and Germany.

    Too many are looking for the curve to go down – but that’s not going to be the end of it… as long as the coronavirus is still around, it’s going to infect as many as it can who have not yet been infected.

    Dr. Fauci has essentially said that but too few are listening.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Or,… or.until we all contract it and/or recover/die. Wait, recover and die doesn’t work.

    2. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Dr. Gottlieb (former FDA) was saying much the same on CNBC this morning. But once (please) testing is more widespread, and a couple of treatment protocols are proven effective, the focus can be on those hot spots and the world can largely return to normal. He predicted schools open in the fall, for example.

      As to the VA numbers, the person who said it was a “weekend dip” in the data collection looks to have been correct. No need to be more panicked, maybe just the same level :).

      1. djrippert Avatar

        No need to be more panicked other than by the fact that our state government apparently can’t continue a data collection effort over a weekend.

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Exactly – this Virginia jump was to be expected, especially DC region cohort.

        Our greatest concern now should be for the mental health and emotional stability of the writers at the Washington Post and their fellow travelers, the Fifth Column, here on Bacon’s Rebellion. Keep them all in your daily prayers, please in these difficult times.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    The narrative that we “flatten the curve” and “get back to normal” is very misleading. Even where there are no “hot spots” – the virus will eventually find it’s way there if people are not socially distancing…

    This is not going to go away.

    it’s going to be with us for some time.

    and the less we adhere to social distancing – the more it will spread.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      SARS, MERS and others are still with us. Do they keep you awake?

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        MERS? No. MRSA, yes. SARS? I was under the impression the US hasn’t seen a case since 2005. Zika? GOP procreation.

    2. SARS and MERS did not bring our economy to a standstill. This one has. As Bill Gates said (on PBS NewsHour today, available on YouTube), we can hope to tame the beast enough to get most people back to work, but the risk of another surge, thus the need for continued social distancing and for continued bans on gatherings, will have to continue, especially for the elderly — until we get that vaccine — perhaps well into 2021. He has a nice discussion of what we need to understand better about how children catch and transmit the virus before we can decide what to do about secondary schools.

  4. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    And both flavors (R,D) of GA and Administrations have FOR DECADES claimed this could not be done. What a difference death makes.

  5. excerpt from the Alexandria Living Magazine
    “When will coronavirus peak in Northern Virginia?
    When the peak occurs is up for debate. There are two common models used to estimate peak coronavirus cases — the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model and the COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics, or CHIME, developed by Penn Medicine.

    In Virginia, IHME says the peak will be around April 20 and there may be an ICU bed shortage in the state of more than 200 beds. The same model says the peak in the District of Columbia was three days ago, on April 3, but cases in the District of Columbia are continuing to increase, indicating that the peak may be still to come. The CHIME model puts peak dates much later. For our region, that (CHIME) peak is projected to be at the end of June.”

    Sometimes at work, faced with 2 models, I would average them.

  6. SH is correct: testing, testing, testing, to get our hands around this. And then more testing. Drive through, free for anyone, quick-readout, everywhere across the State, COVID-19 testing — as many places as those drive-through VDOT emissions testing locations in NoVa! The cost isn’t zero but the benefit will be huge in terms of lives and the duration of this economic shutdown; it’s pennywise/pound foolish to think small when it comes to testing.

    As for the IHME forecasts: TBill points out that IHME shows an earlier peak; here is the link: Look closely at this! When you click on this link you are looking at the U.S. forecast; click on down arrow beside “United States” to reach the list of states and their individual forecasts. As DJR said yesterday, the IHME forecasts were just updated a couple of days ago.

    1. Dulles Expo center conversion to field treatment facility is expected to be completed by mid-May. If you go by IHME, the pandemic is almost over by then. If you go by CHIME model, the Dulles site availability should be timely. Not saying I know the correct answer, of course. But it seems a little like the State is going by CHIME.

  7. djrippert Avatar

    Maybe it’s just our state’s inability to collect data over a weekend but as of now Virginia has the fewest per-capita COVID-19 tests among all 50 states.

    Yes, you have that right. We are now #50 out of 50.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      UVa. President James Ryan’s $10,000,000+++ house remodeling job obviously ran UVA coffers dry, an obscenity marking the Peak of UVA’s DO-DA days.

    2. DJ, while VDH only says to test symptomatic healthcare workers, first responders and those who live or work in congregate settings, and those hospitalized WITH fever or signs of respiratory illness, that eliminates a lot of people from testing. (VDH 4/2 testing guidance) The fourth category for testing is potential clusters of unknown respiratory illness–but apparently, VDH looks to outside reporting to recognize those.

      VDH numbers look more and more like garbage when you add in footnotes on the VDH stats page:

      * Total Cases= positive tests among people tested
      ^ Number of people tested= test results received by public health from all reporting labs. All negative results may not be represented due to the large number of fax reports from new labs testing for COVID-19.
      *** Hospitalization status at the time the case was investigated by VDH. This underrepresents the total number of hospitalizations in Virginia.

      Who knows how many get admitted AFTER VDH investigates? I guess VHHA is the only indicator of that. At least they’re adding a link to VHHA hospitalization reports.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        cjbulva says after reviewing footnotes: “VDH numbers look more and more like garbage.”

        Please refine that to “Complete Garbage disguised as critically needed and useful facts, hence propaganda that is extremely harmful and threatening to the health and welfare of all citizens of Virginia or passing through Virginia.”


        Another reason to laugh, cry, and/ or slam one’s fist through a wall, then fire the damn bastards.

      2. djrippert Avatar

        The COVID-19 Data Project rates Virginia an “A” for its data. Many other states have known data irregularities that relate to under-reporting testing.

        As for VDH saying to only test a narrow group of potential carriers – I believe it. But why? Why does it make sense for Virginia to order limited testing when virtually every article cites the importance of broad testing and literally every other state is apparently doing more testing?

        1. I have no answers. It doesn’t make sense. And these testing guidelines have been in place since March 24th. Using them means there is little chance of identifying asymptomatic carriers, only confirming likely cases where flu has been ruled out, until there’s a nursing home outbreak where everyone gets tested.

          What makes less sense is why there’s been no reaction to the guidelines.

        2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          It has the feel of a conscious decision to get out of the business of testing. Even more odd.

    3. Wasn’t exactly sure what you meant DJR, seems like WVa is lowest?

      The most interesting visual for me was the graphic showing all 50 states have closed the schools.

  8. WayneS Avatar

    While the number of new cases was the largest one day increase so far, the number of new tests was also the highest it has been so far.

    More tests will almost certainly result in more new cases discovered* – which means we have on idea how many people are infected with the virus.

    *Until or unless the infection rate starts to drop.

  9. LarrytheG Avatar

    The numbers don’t really matter that much… except as a rough estimate because the coronavirus is NOT going away after the peak heads down. We’re seeing the effects of social distancing. If we stop doing that, the numbers are going up again – rebounding… until the following happens:

    1. – we develop a vaccine and everyone is vaccinated

    2. – we test everyone – multiple times – and every time we find an infected, we isolate right away then go test their contacts., rinse/repeat.
    This is what South Korea and Germany did – testing led at the national level – same test, same tests, same testing protocol, same reporting.

    3. – the corona virus runs wild and virtually everyone who had not yet been infected, gets infected and a crap-load of people will die.

    All the focus on “when will it end” is misguided… and leaders who are offering that are flirting with disaster.

    This virus is not going to disappear and no, it’s not anything like the prior viruses – at least if you believe the scientists.

    Most of the worlds epidemiologists are saying just this – some are paying
    attention and know the road ahead and others don’t believe it yet.

    The Calvary may yet arrive to save us – but the watchword should be “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

    1. djrippert Avatar

      Lockdowns and extreme social distancing are going to end sooner rather than later. People across America are already starting to rebel at the draconian lockdown measures. Once the peak is reached and cases decline there will be no way to keep people inside their apartments, condos and homes. Politicians’ threats to arrest large numbers of people will be laughed off by a significant percentage (majority?) of the people. Get ready for self-isolation if you feel vulnerable. Your government will not imprison all Americans because a few feel nervous.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        May well end up with some sort of Darwinian solution, eh?

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        “Lockdowns and extreme social distancing are going to end sooner rather than later. People across America are already starting to rebel at the draconian lockdown measures.”

        I agree totally. This is going to end soon. It simply has too, folks will rightly rebel otherwise. Though I suspect that there will be many regard actions, and valid residual concerns. The feel of this re-opening up for most people is now pregnant in the air. Likely non deaths will be far lower than expected. People will simple refuse to go broke, and cower at the same time. This is not in our nature, nor will it soon be necessary in most cases.

      3. The only way to get past these “draconian lockdown measures” is to have either (a) a vaccine, or (b) herd immunity (~80% survivor immunity) in the general population. Before (a) or (b), any relaxation of these distancing restrictions will immediately be followed by another surge in cases and another surge in deaths. This is not a vacation we are engaged in; it’s no picnic ahead. I’m sorry to tell you, DJ, it’s not just a “few [who] feel nervous”: the credible expert advice is unanimous on this. If you and too many others act prematurely based on your contrary opinion on this, there is simply no question within the medical community what will happen. Then we would be back into Phase II of this social and economic crisis until the renewed surge is tamed; and so forth, again and again until people learn the lesson. After the next 3 weeks of hell around Virginia I don’t think you will be so cavalier about taking that risk.

  10. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    “The numbers don’t really matter that much… except as a rough estimate because the coronavirus is NOT going away after the peak heads down.”

    Most folks I read think that vast qualities of testing numbers easily done and quickly arrived at on a variety of fronts, may well be the critical “test” we must master and achieve, in order to put America back into the business, and American’s back to work, in the quickest, most efficient, and least risky way possible. Otherwise we might end up toast, overrun with a false cure, far worst than the virus. Hence, the gross irresponsibility of Northham administration, and need to fire people responsible for this abject failure.

  11. Nice interview with Bill Gates on PBS NewsHour tonight. Also learned that Gov. Cuomo has a news conference/pep talk/info dump daily at 2pm, 7 days a week, webcast live to the public in New York state, with a huge daily following. Hogan’s conferences in Maryland seem like they are near-daily but irregular; he’s ramping up their frequency.

    AND, I actually saw Northam’s latest news conference on TV up here in NoVa — the first I’ve seen with him actually appearing in it. The main reason the clip was on TV was that he was encouraging the use of face masks but then, when asked by a reporter, said he wasn’t wearing one himself “because we’re indoors.” What difference is that supposed to make, Dr. Northam?

  12. LarrytheG Avatar

    Northam realized this “it is not over after the peak” aspect when he set a June date and closed schools for the year, even as others were setting April and May dates.

    BTW, Cuomo does not wear a face mask either and not many other Gov when they do conferences. There are some real concerns that both Trump and Pence are together if they both get the virus… and become incapacitated. LORD, his supporters ought to be petrified of that possibility!

    People are upset, angry and some skeptical and disbelieving ; We’ve never in our lifetimes seen anything like this and the damage to the economy is immense and fearful.

    So for some, the attitude is “we’ve had enough of this, and we’re mad as hell, we’re not going to do it anymore”.

    And some rebellion may actually take place but the govt controls what is open and not and can easily shut down businesses that violate without having to arrest and hold individual citizens.

    Ultimately, if the scientists are correct, and we abandon social distancing, the virus will return with a vengeance and though some say they’re ready to go through it and see who survives, much of society will not if there is widespread contagion on the streets , hospitals completely overwhelmed and people dying on the streets and in their apartments and homes, etc.

    Right now, today, we’re being told to NOT even go to grocery stores unless it is absolutely necessary with GOOD reason.

    So any such “rebellion” will surely bring to the fore what “individual freedom” is when others will feel it results in harm and death to them … I don’t know if the “freedom” folks will largely be Conservative and the “how could you endanger everyone” folks will be liberal but I hope not to see it in any event.

    The two sentiments do say something about us and our respective philosophies about the roles of government as well as science right now today.

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