COVID-19 Update: Ignore What I Said Yesterday, the Virus Is Going Exponential

John Butcher was right, and I was wrong. I was hoping, based on the previous two days’ worth of data and a heap of wishful thinking, that Virginia was heading up a less steep slope in the growth in the number of COVID-19 infections than widely feared. John maintained, however, that the data was consistent with an exponential growth curve. Today’s data update by the Virginia Department of Health shows that John, better known as Cranky, as in publisher of Cranky’s Blog, was right.

The number of total cases, new cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities all surged. Total cases in Virginia reached 391 yesterday, a single-day increase of 101. More ominously, hospital admissions rose to a total of 59, a one-day increase of 14. Tragically, the number of deaths leaped from six to nine.

The commonly cited rule of thumb is that the virus doubles in the early stages of the localized spread every three days. The numbers suggest that Virginia is no exception to the rule. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Click on “Leave a Comment” below to view John’s updated graphs.

— JAB

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14 responses to “COVID-19 Update: Ignore What I Said Yesterday, the Virus Is Going Exponential

  1. Here are John Butcher’s updated charts:

  2. “Tragically, the number of deaths leaped from six to nine.”

    All death is tragic. Not so sure about the “Leaped from six to Nine.” What would you call from 6 to 7 or 8?

    As regards exponential – I would expect it as concerns the close in Washington region, due to the high and widespread mobility of these people, especially as regards close New York City visiting, international travel, and even to some degree the regular contact with incoming and outgoing flow of daily commuter traffic to outlying regions. Even this is not comparable to New York City closeness living and commuting standards.

    Perhaps too we see some heating up of Norfolk, Virginia beach, Hampton areas, given the mobility of military particularly in and out.

    • It was very very good to catch portions of Gov. Cuomo’s talk today. He is back firmly on the rails, providing great public service to the entire nation.

  3. Here’s an interactive map pulled from the VDH website with a breakdown by locality. Scroll down to the map. The incidence of the virus, even adjusted for population, seems to be higher in Northern Virginia.

  4. While virginia argues about how disruptive the virus will be he is what the Governor of Washington, who I supported before he dropped out of the Presidential Race, is doing in his state….

    “We’re coming together to support each other and to make our state safer and healthier. Our first priority has been to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19 in our communities — that means millions of Washingtonians are staying home to save lives.

    Using local health departments, universities, and private labs, we’ve dramatically increased testing, and our insurance commissioner directed insurers to waive deductibles and copays. The state will also be covering the costs of tests for those without health insurance.

    Additionally, I recently announced unprecedented steps to give economic relief to Washingtonians — because nobody should lose their home because they can’t pay rent during this crisis. We’re enacting a statewide moratorium on evictions, and public utilities will be suspending shut-offs and waiving late fees.

    Washington has in place nation-leading policies like paid family and medical leave and mandated paid sick days. We’re using every part of our safety net to support families right now, including continuing to provide daily meals to out-of-school kids who need them.

    Our response to COVID-19 must not just be about stopping the spread of the virus and caring for the sick — it must also be about caring for our vulnerable neighbors and citizens whose livelihoods are impacted by this crisis.

    This crisis is far from over. This challenge is unlike anything we’ve experienced before, but together, we’ll meet this challenge with the seriousness and compassion it deserves.”

    Sounds good and reasonable too.

  5. “The single most important thing we can do to combat and contain the novel coronavirus is test for it.”

    Governor Andrew Cuomo

    Ok, Cuomo is on the front lines of America’s worse hotspot by far. He thinks testing is the key. Five days ago New York state was performing 10,000 tests a day. Virginia has performed half that number of tests ever. Why?

    350,000 people have been tested in the US as of today. Virginia has 2.6% of America’s population. By that metric we should have conducted 9,100 tests. Instead we have conducted 5,370.

    Are Virginians not showing up with symptoms and a doctor’s note for testing? Or, are people who should be tested being turned away because test capabilities are not there? Or, is the test count only a partial count of the number of Virginians who have been tested?

    This is a fundamental question.

    Right now, beer, wine and liquor stores are deemed to be essential businesses in Virginia and remain open. Fine. What is the risk of contracting coronavirus in Virginia? Well, that depends on how thoroughly we are testing. How do people make an informed decision about whether to dash out for a handle of Tito’s if they don’t understand the risks of doing so?

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615408/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-coronavirus-testing-in-the-us/

  6. Cuomo is the D nominee for president. Biden is off the screen, Bernie off his beam, and Cuomo is putting on quite a show. Not sure how the convention will finagle it, but watch it happen. Frankly it would be very smart on their part.

    Keep using Butcher’s chart, that format, on the log scale. When that line starts to bend down toward flat, that will be the beginning of good news.

    • You are exactly right Steve. He was five minutes into his first talk (Cuomo was that good) when that thought first occurred to me, but how do Dems justify it?

      Biden takes himself out of running given his obvious decline in health that no rational person can ignore.

  7. Unless there’s been a major influx of tests coming into Virginia, there aren’t enough available to get closer to real numbers.

    “State epidemiologist Dr. Lilian Peake said Sunday [3/22]that the bulk of new confirmed cases were validated by private labs. Peake said the state has 1,000 tests available.”

    VDH 3/24/20: “In the setting of limited availability of tests, testing performed at DCLS, Virginia’s state lab, is reserved for patients who meet VDH’s four priority investigation criteria below. If you have a patient who meets VDH criteria, please request testing via the online COVID-19 Testing Request Form. If you are unable to submit your request online, please contact your local health department.

    1. Healthcare worker or first line responder with fever OR signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness.
    2. Potential cluster of unknown respiratory illness where influenza has been ruled out, with priority for healthcare facility outbreaks. All suspected clusters or outbreaks should be reported to the local health department immediately.
    3. Person hospitalized with fever OR signs of lower respiratory illness. Priority will be given to patients where circumstances require a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis for compassionate use treatment with antivirals.
    4. Person who resides or works in a congregate setting (e.g., homeless shelter, assisted living facility, group home, prison, detention center, jail, or nursing home) AND who has fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness AND who tested negative for influenza on initial workup.

    For other patients who need COVID-19 testing, please contact a private laboratory to ask about how to submit specimens for testing. VDH approval is not needed for testing at private labs.”

    Haven’t seen any numbers on how many private tests are available. Sentara’s asks if someone has 2 of 3 symptoms AND contact in past month with someone with Covid-19 OR who traveled internationally.

    If they answer yes and are below age 60, they’re to stay home and self quarantine

    If yes, over 60, call their health care provider or go to drive-thru screening site.

    If state decisions are to be based on numbers of positive tests — we have no way of knowing yet.

    • Thanks CJB, you make my case. It’s all about testing, testing, testing – but where are the tests — actually not promised? And where is Northam in terms of leadership and transparency, keep the citizens informed? Must we listen to Cuomo for an honest report from the battlefield?

      • There’s a testing bottleneck that most people don’t appreciate. I found out aboutit only in my interview with Dr. Krist (whom I profiled earlier today). Health care practitioners must wear protective gear when administering a test, he says. No protective gear, no test. Whether the shortage of protective gear is related to the low level of testing in Virginia, I cannot say. But it’s something we need to be aware of.

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