COVID-19 Update: Whoah! Is the Spread Decelerating?

Media headlines are focusing on the fact that three more patients died of the COVID-19 virus in Virginia yesterday. But Virginia Department of Health data reported only 38 new cases and six new hospitalizations. The numbers represent a reversal of what had been an exponential rate of increase in confirmed cases. I don’t want to make too much of one day’s data, but this actually looks like good news. Perhaps Virginia’s social-distancing measures are working.

Here’s another potential sign of improvement. Testing kits for COVID-19 in Virginia became far more readily available beginning March 17 when the number of tests jumped to 539 from 81 the previous day. By March 19, 645 Virginians were tested. But since then, the number of tests has slid — to only 360 yesterday.

Why the diminishing number of tests? Is there a shortage of testing kits? That would seem to fly against evidence of increasing availability, especially among private labs and hospitals like the University of Virginia, which have developed their own tests. Are fewer people meeting the criteria for tests? If so, could that be a sign that the virus is not spreading as rapidly?


Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


69 responses to “COVID-19 Update: Whoah! Is the Spread Decelerating?”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    without enough test kits how would we know what the rate is?

    We’re hearing that the infection is much more widespread than is being reported – in part, because we’ve restricted who could be tested…

    We’re at the point where we can look at what govt does and what people do if they do what they want and not what govt is advising.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      New York state tests 16,000 per day while we test 500. Cases throughout New York are exploding while cases in Virginia are decelerating? Somebody needs to slap the truth out of Northam as to why we are testing so few people. Until that accounting is had these numbers are meaningless.

      1. idiocracy Avatar

        I think Northam probably had the truth slapped out of him decades ago. It’s all lies now.

  2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    We are on the cusp of beating this virus.

    The real question now is whether we will destroy ourselves. That question is raising its ugly head now, as ever more people drop into their lowest common denominator, one that unfortunately is all too familiar.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Ten days ago a friend posted that we were looking at a slight contraction of the economy, which I then dismissed as famous last words. You’ve added a new examplar…on the cusp of beating the virus. Wish you were right but not seeing the signs. Agreed that our greatest enemy right now is ourselves, though.

      The metric to watch, because I think it truly is accurate, is number of those hospitalized. We know those are numbers confirmed with tests, and the strain on the hospitals is the outcome we are supposed to be worried about.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        At some point, soon, either things are truly going to go to hell in a handbasket as predicted or this is going to be the mother of all hoaxes.

        They who are betting on the latter apparently have little to lose now, eh?

        1. sbostian Avatar

          Another scientist (Nobel Prize Winning Biophysicist) Michael Levitt
          (although I suspect that you still cling to the mythical 99%.

          The United States will get through the worst of the coronavirus outbreak sooner than many experts anticipate, Michael Levitt, a biophysicist at Stanford University and a Nobel laureate, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

          According to Levitt, who was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on complex models of chemical systems, the COVID-19 virus’ spread in China has peaked, as seen by reports that the country has seen far fewer newly diagnosed patients since March 16, and the U.S. will see the virus’ spread drop as more people embrace social distancing practices.

          “What we need is to control the panic,” he told the LA Times, adding that overall, “we’re going to be fine,” and noting that the data doesn’t indicate months or years of social disruption or millions of deaths from the coronavirus.

          Levitt said he examined 78 countries that each have reported 50 or more cases of the coronavirus every day, and that he found “signs of recovery” by focusing on the number of new cases identified per day.

          “Numbers are still noisy, but there are clear signs of slowed growth,” he said, admitting that the figures are not exact. He added that despite the incomplete information, “a consistent decline means there’s some factor at work that is not just noise in the numbers.”

          Levitt said that social distancing measures will help slow the spread of the virus enough to keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed, and said that the media caused unnecessary panic with constant updates on the total number of cases and the various celebrities who have tested positive for COVID-19.

          He added that despite the virus having a higher fatality rate than the flu, it’s “not the end of the world … the real situation is not nearly as terrible as they make it out to be.”

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Yep – he does not seem to dispute the need for social distancing, he just thinks it won’t be as bad as the media as said.

            It does not look like a scientific approach just his opinion.

            and I don’t see where he’s on board with dropping the social distancing and just bringing the economy back online.


            Is his view really disagreement with the current govt approach?

          2. sbostian Avatar

            It’s more scientific than your 99% assertions. There is a difference between prudent social distancing and shutdowns of businesses and institutions and social isolation. In my neighborhood we have senior citizens who are afraid to go out and walk in the sunlight because of irresponsible media reporting and government actions which lend credence to reporting malpractice. Cling to your mantra and if differing views bother you, skip my posts. I should really refrain from engaging in PTS exchanges.

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        My point is that it’s no where as scary as we make it seem. We are quite literally on the road to scaring ourselves to death, so unhinged that we are unplugging ourselves from our means to survive after we’ve essentially beat the beast. Now the beast is becoming us.

      3. The number of new hospitalization reported yesterday was 38. That’s the highest one-day increase yet, but the increase was only six from the day before, which itself was an increase of seven from the previous day. That does not fit the curve of an exponential increase.

        1. djrippert Avatar

          It’s too small a number to use in drawing any conclusions. Let’s see if my probability still works. If you toss five fair coins you will get either all heads or all tails 6.25% of the time. If you happen to observe an “all heads” or “all tails” sequence I’m sure you’d doubt that the coins were fair. Just under 7% of the time you’d be wrong. If you toss ten fair coins you’d get all heads or all tails less than 2 1/10th of a percent of the time. If you see 10 heads or 10 tails you’d be a whole lot more justified in thinking the coins were loaded.

          Let’s see some more date before we conclude there is a deceleration.

          Personally, I think the outbreak is in different stages in different places. I’d guess that the DC Metropolitan area is just behind New York in when the outbreak started. While lower density in DC than New York may lessen the severity I suspect that seeing a deceleration or peak in the DC area (or elsewhere in Virginia) is wishful thinking.

  3. sbostian Avatar

    Some of us here and in other online communities have been saying this for a while. Usually, we are savaged when we venture our views. Unlike some parts of the country, Central Virginia people seem to be much more conscientious about important things like maintaining more social distance in our interactions, hand washing, keeping our fingers out of our noses, eyes and mouths without having washed our hands, staying home when sick, and refraining from coughing or sneezing in people’s faces than is normally the case. These are practices which we should have been observing all along and should maintain them in the future. We tend to understate the efficacy of the less draconian methods of slowing the spread of infectious disease. I suspect that the number of cases will rise as more are tested. However, unless the growth rate of new cases is growing dramatically faster than the growth of tested people, that should not be shocking. Remember though that asymptomatic people are not being tested and many people with mild symptoms will probably not seek medical attention.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Typically, you have got to pass through the storm, including its darkest point, to reach the sunshine. Often that sunshine is right behind the storms darkest part. A lot of that has to do with how our mind works in threatening times. It is lesson learned in many experiences of risk taking.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    I guess some folks think South Korea was lucky not really competent but some think they were very competent and have success as a direct result.

    I think it is amazing that in this country we seem so inward looking that we ignore what South Korea did.

    We are now exposed as the great paper tiger. The richest country in the world is unable to do perform effectively because “we” ourselves cannot agree on what this is and what we should do about it and we do apparently very much doubt what the science is telling us.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      New York state is testing 16,000 per day. Virginia is testing 500. Stop blaming the national government.

  5. I think two additional graphs: (Total Number of Cases ÷ Total Number of People Tested vs Time) and (New Cases per Day ÷ Number of New People Tested per Day vs Time) would assist us in analyzing whether the virus truly is spreading exponentially.

  6. sbostian Avatar

    I think we have been exposed as a different kind of paper tiger. We are partly unable to perform because we cower in fear when faced with some ambiguous danger. Firemen would rescue no one if the were wired to respond as our governments have. Sheltering in place is a prudent response for the very elderly and otherwise vulnerable. It is not the courageous response for people who have little to risk from coronavirus.

    I have dealt with a lot of medical people and scientists in my career. I respect them in their domains. However, they have no clue what society has to do in order to allow them to practice their crafts. An economy that is not operating will soon be unable to provide the resources for these people to “do what they need to do”. With rare exceptions, if we let scientists and medical specialists to make decisions about how to support them economically, we are genuinely screwed.

  7. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Truer words were never said than these;

    “With rare exceptions, if we let scientists and medical specialists to make decisions about how to support them economically, we are genuinely screwed.”

    Thank you, sbostian. Let me add another. Never let generals and admirals run wars. If you do, everyone will die, and/or be enslaved.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    Well, once again, we’re talking about 99% of scientists AND 99% of elected.

    I’ll grant that neither of them are economists but the economists also making recommendations that politicians seem to be accepting pretty
    much as recommended.

    So, we do have a group of folks who disagree. I do not know what size they are but as far as I can tell not one Congressman or Senator or Governor agrees with their beliefs.

    I’m not dismissing their views – I’m just saying that when someone says the govt is wrong – in this situation – it’s hard to find ANY elected that disagrees with what we’re doing and where we are headed.

    In some respects, that’s a godsend because if we really were split down partisan lines – we would be basically gridlocked.

  9. T. Boyd Avatar

    My wife pointed out, that since the test kits are going to be dedicated to health workers (I guess until they become more plentiful) that the reported cases of the virus of the non-medical people will diminish.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Yep. In some places, apparently, the kits are being rationed pretty much to health care workers and others that must stay on duty.

      If a hospital ends up with an infected worker – and they do not catch it right away, – then the hospital is going to be spreading the disease not containing it.

      All of these roads lead back to not enough test kits…

      and yes.. the bigger, more aggressive states are going to outcompete Virginia for them.

      1. Steve Haner Avatar
        Steve Haner

        By this time next week testing will be much more widely available. Pretty safe prediction on that one, the pipeline is about to spew….Amazing how much changes on this day to day. I think I just heard in the Northam news conference that only state tests are being tracked and they are only NOW trying to capture and track results from tests inside the hospitals, etc. So all we’ve seen so far are state-processed tests.

    2. T. Boyd Avatar

      She corrected me: She said “People hospitalized and medical workers” are giving first priority of test kits.

  10. J. Abbate Avatar
    J. Abbate

    Since JAB is asking about lack of test kits and rippert wants us not to blame the federal government, I am asking your fact-based analytical assistance to help me dispute or ignore the factual data presented by FactCheck in the following article, ‘Contrary to Trump’s Claim, A Pandemic Was Widely Expected at Some Point’ by Rem Rieder.

    The article:
    At a White House briefing March 19, President Donald Trump said, “Nobody knew there’d be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion.” But that’s simply not the case.

    Among others, the U.S. intelligence community warned in its annual threat report for 2019 that “that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death.”

    The president made his remarks at a coronavirus task force press briefing. Trump deflected the blame when asked about the lack of coronavirus tests and medical supplies to deal with the pandemic.

    Trump, March 19: They had an obsolete system, and they had a system, simultaneously, that was not meant for this. It wasn’t meant for this. Nobody knew there’d be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before.

    But experts have warned for years about the danger of a major, potentially catastrophic outbreak of global disease, and some have sounded the alarm that the United States was not prepared to cope with it.

    “The threat of pandemic flu is the number one health security concern,” Luciana Borio, then-director of Medical and Biodefense Preparedness Policy at the National Security Council, said at a symposium at Emory University in Atlanta in 2018 marking the 100th anniversary of the devastating flu outbreak of 1918. “Are we ready to respond? I fear the answer is no.”

    Jennifer Horney, professor and founding director of the epidemiology program at the University of Delaware, told CNN, “we’ve been planning for and anticipating a global event like this” at least since the 2005 avian influenza outbreak.

    After the novel coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, last December and spread around the world, Trump consistently sought to downplay the danger to the United States, likening coronavirus to the flu and expressing confidence that it could go away once the weather warmed up. (See our story, “Trump’s Statements About the Coronavirus.”)

    Only recently has the president begun referring to it as a major problem for the U.S. “This is a pandemic,” he said at a March 17 press conference. “I’ve felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

    It certainly doesn’t appear to me that the president wanted to acknowledge the seriousness of the virus as it was reported to him. I can understand his concern in trying to protect the economy by not frightening the nation, but his not ordering up the manufacturing of test kits in January appears to be a miscalculation of his part or of his advisors. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
    Northam is clearly playing catch up, along with most other governors in this situation, but the president could have mobilized the test kits process in one fell swoop had he wanted to in January/February time frame. Any honest analysis of this medical emergency requires we include this administration’s failing at the onset to be accurate. Thanks for the discussion and some excellent data points on the pandemic.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      In context … given that New York state is running 16,000 tests per day and Virginia is running 500 – how is that difference attributable to the federal government? Either Virginians don’t need to be tested or Virginia is, for some reason, well behind New York in the ability to test at scale. If it’s the former – lucky us. If it’s the latter – why would the federal government persecute Virginia and coddle New York?

      The more macro question of federal response is valid. Our gigantic government, at all levels, failed to adequately respond to this crisis. Or, per some people, over-reacted to this flu-like outbreak. Either way – why would anybody want to expand government given the number of failures of that government? the war on drugs, the war on poverty, 9/11, the 2009 banking-led recession, Coronavirus – how many fiascos do we have to see before we stop sending ever more money to a structurally incompetent organizations known as “government”?

      1. Steve Haner Avatar
        Steve Haner

        As I just noted above, it turns out that that number is the state administered tests, and does not include tests at the hospitals, in doctor’s offices, etc using test kits not from the Health Dept. The state is only now trying to corral all that data.

        1. djrippert Avatar

          Ok, good actually. Next, we “corral” the data. Then we make mid to long term decisions. However, before the data is “corralled” – isn’t Gov Hogan’s cautious approach a better idea than Gov Northam’s laissez – faire approach? You can always reopen schools and business but you can’t undead a corpse.

          1. sbostian Avatar

            You are assuming that there is no collateral damage from a lockdown strategy. You can reopen schools, but you may not be able to achieve the educational result promised to our citizens. You can reopen a business that has adequate capital to weather a government created (and uninsurable) force majeure. If there are premature deaths resulting from business failure and job loss, I’m sure you consider that to be acceptable collateral damage. They probably wont be attributed to the shutdown anyway. It would be too embarrassing to our masters.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      Don’t need to listen to Trump OR Fact Check as to the veracity of whether or not there was a virus outbreak in China in Dec. It was widely reported.

      17 November 2019
      A confirmed case of the novel coronavirus emerged on 17 November 2019, according to 13 March 2020 reports of official Chinese government sources,[8] but was not recognized at that time. There may have been earlier patients; the search for them continues.[9][10][11]

      1 December
      The first known patient started experiencing symptoms on 1 December 2019. He had not been to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market of Wuhan. No epidemiological link could be found between this case and later cases.[12][13][14]

      8–18 December
      Between 8 and 18 December 2019, seven cases later diagnosed with novel coronavirus were documented; two of them were linked with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market; five were not.[15]

      12 December
      Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported in a broadcast airing on 12 January 2020 that a “new viral outbreak was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, on 12 December 2019.”[16]

      21 December
      Chinese epidemiologists with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) published an article on 20 January 2020 stating that the first cluster of patients with “pneumonia of an unknown cause” had been identified on 21 December 2019.[17]

  11. Late breaking: Gov Northam has closed schools til the end of the school year. Presumably online classes will start at some point

    I heard that rumor over weekend so I was keeping it to myself. Also DJR I noticed a recent apparent policy change it seems the schools closed off the athletic fields so now I have to do my running elsewhere.

    I have a lot of work to do using the FCPS Community Use reservation system, assuming schools are open in summer months. But right now everything is closed up nobody working.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      I guess they close the athletic fields to stop people from congregating there.

      Gov Hogan closed all non-essential stores as of 5:00 pm tonight (not just restaurants, gyms, etc). Unfortunately, I assume liquor stores are classified as non-essential. Good thing I made a trip out yesterday.

      1. Steve Haner Avatar
        Steve Haner

        He was asked about ABC stores and I heard him say they stay open, with limits on the number of patrons. Mail order booze via Amazon can’t be far off :). But Total Wine is different….drat.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          We’re in a quandary about two things. 1. how to do a food pantry and 2. how do do volunteer taxes.

          We just got a call from a broker guy and he said we cannot do a “face-to-face” and wants to do a “meeting”with webex…and so we will and will report back.

          I don’t know whats going to happen with taxes – the govt has extended the deadline but how you actually do taxes for someone “face to face” in a room with others – does not seem be feasible.

          1. Larry- Last I heard we still had to file Va. Taxes on time? But that requires a lot of Federal 1040 Info.

  12. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    If your obsessive hatred of Trump is what keeps you going, JA, fine with me. He’s no smarter or dumber than he has been for the past three years, with no surprises in the past few months. Strikes me as a waste of energy to scream about it. Nobody on this blog is undecided about Trump, either way.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      You would think Trump would eventually learn to stifle himself. How did calling the Coronavirus a “hoax” help anything? After three years you’d think he’d learn how to listen to that little voice that tells him to shut up from time to time. The man is his own worst enemy.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        re: His own worst enemy.

        no people hate him just because they hate him.

        he’s really a good guy trying to do right – and all these bad people
        are out to make him look bad…

      2. Steve Haner Avatar
        Steve Haner

        “His own worst enemy.” No argument from me. Donald! Stifle!

        1. djrippert Avatar

          Sometimes I feel like I’m watching a sitcom when I observe the Trump Administration.

    2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd


      Look for his declaration of victory over virus next week, followed immediately by his major pivot on American business, reopening key and expanding parts of American economy in sequence of brilliant moves, saving the nation on his way to collecting his three Nobels, one for Peace, one for Chemistry, the third for Medicine, plus his second Presidential term won by landslide. We all should be so stupid.

  13. djrippert Avatar

    Sbostian – oh no, I understand the costs of a lockdown. But most of the costs of a short term shutdown have already been incurred. There’s no turning back the clock. But now what? It seems to me that a sharp short recession beats a sharp long recession. We need to get our facts straight and then reopen society. People who want to stay isolated should be able to stay isolated. Some vulnerable groups should stay isolated. However, those who want to go out and about should go out and about. Government has a legitimate duty to keep people safe – even from themselves – during periods of the unknown. But once the facts and risks are known … people should be able to take reasonable risks.

    Right now, the facts are unknown.

    The best course of action is to get the facts straight and then have a blunt, detailed and honest conversation with Virginians and let them make up their own minds.

    We just don’t have enough stable facts yet.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Facts are tumbling in, revealing ever more fact patterns that are arming us with new tools on many levels to fight this virus in a myriad of new ways, licking this beast.

      Now we need give the flighty a sedative.

  14. LarrytheG Avatar

    ” It’s more scientific than your 99% assertions. There is a difference between prudent social distancing and shutdowns of businesses and institutions and social isolation. In my neighborhood we have senior citizens who are afraid to go out and walk in the sunlight because of irresponsible media reporting and government actions which lend credence to reporting malpractice. Cling to your mantra and if differing views bother you, skip my posts. I should really refrain from engaging in PTS exchanges.”

    The guy you referenced is not saying this. You are.

    And you are using subjective opinion here – not science.

    I am more than willing to engage the issue and read the folks you reference but science is not about individual opinions, it
    it’s about evidence, – data – that multiple people with scientific backgrounds look at and either concur or disagree – on the data.

    I do not dismiss opinion at all , but anyone can have one and do – and just because someone has a degree in some field does not make them an expert in another.

    Here’s the thing.

    You have a bunch of scientists that seem to know how the virus infection will play out – most of them have a background in the field they are giving advise on.

    They do not know anything about the economy. or what damage will be done to the economy if their advice is followed. They just know what will happen if this virus does what they think it will – given their background.

    Economists know little about epidemiology – they just know what will happen if you shut down a lot of the economy.

    therein lies the issue.


  15. sbostian Avatar

    Since you seem to be the scientific arbiter here, state your credentials. I sent you a link to an interview with one of Stanford’s leading epidemiologists questioning the measures being taken and looking at the data in a reasonable manner. I sent you the Johns Hopkins analysis and you ignored it. State your scientific credential since you have positioned yourself as the grand scientific poobah here.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Sir, you need to learn the lesson the rest of us have already grasped. Larry is a tar baby, and once you engage your are stuck. Practice blog distancing…..

      1. sbostian Avatar

        I’m relatively new to actually posting here. Thank you for the advice. My scientific judgement is that you are spot on. (;-)

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      No scientific credentials other than I spent most of my working career with real scientists who did real things with the physical earth and physical vehicles that moved through it atmosphere.

      So – you find out, for instance that an aerospace engineer is not a mathematician who is not a physicist and though they do know their fields pretty good and can understand other near fields – none of them were economists nor epidemiologists so that’s how I decide.

      I’d not expect an epidemiologist to know how the economy works nor vice versa.

      Steve’s problem is the same as yours – he does not like to be challenged.. and it annoys him and he too is a climate skeptic and a science skeptic sometimes.

  16. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    How many swallows does it take…

  17. djrippert Avatar

    OK Jimbo:

    You plotted the new Coronavirus cases in Virginia faithfully on your COVID-19 update chart. You correctly noted that today’s count shows deceleration. There’s been no big news about the virus or its treatment that I’ve read. Yet today:

    1. Northam ordered all schools closed for the rest of the year and …
    2. All in-restaurant dining is banned

    I give up. What does he know that we don’t know? His plan was presumably to move more slowly than other governors in order to see what happens. It looks like Virginia will be spared the kind of mess that faces New York but then BLAM! – new restrictions.

    Did Northam offer any reasons why he picked today to start going draconian?

    1. I caught part of Northam’s press conference on the radio, but did not hear a rationale for his decision to ban in-restaurant dining.

      Never discount the possibility that he is driven by headlines more than data. Perhaps he was spooked by the Washington Post story ranking him behind Larry Hogan and Muriel Bowser in his response to the epidemic.

      1. sbostian Avatar

        I think that is not only possible, but is most likely. I will refrain from expressing my unvarnished opinion of Northam, but he is hardly the sharpest knife in the drawer and it has never seemed as if he surrounded himself with “the best and brightest”

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        Looks like if Northam doesn’t duplicate what other GOVs have done, he’s dinged for neglecting and if he does do what the others did, he’d dinged for being part of the “herd”.

        I really don’t get it – personal attacks on him… just boggles

        But wanted to address the divide we are seeing between those who believe the majority of scientists who are advising the draconian measures we are seeing and those who do not believe the majority of scientists and instead oppose shutting down the economy.

        I think I’ve characterized the two correctly but will give others a chance to say I’m wrong and re-state it the way they think it is.

        It’s amazing but not surprising. We saw this break with Climate Science and now it’s an issue with how to handle contagion and the doubt of the larger consensus of science – and whether or not science can or should tell us that we have to shut down our economy.

        that’s very similar to what we’ve heard when talking about what to do about fossil fuels… no?

    2. “Did Northam offer any reasons why he picked today to start going draconian?”

      Actually he did, he asserted that social transmission is growing (no statistics to demonstrate that) and the mortality rate is increasing (the numbers tell a different story). But, that’s what you get when you put Forrest Gump to the Governor’s Mansion.

      1. “But, that’s what you get when you put Forrest Gump to the Governor’s Mansion.”

        Okay, THAT’S funny. Even Northam supporters should be able to admit that’s funny.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          the very SAME guy who is imposing Draconian govt thuggery rule on Virginians?

          He’s is not the greatest thing since sliced bread by any imagination even from his most ardent supporters…

          but how can he be ALL these other things at the same time – either?

          Clearly – the critics are all over the map… as to why they dislike him!

          1. All I am implying is that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, a quality that he shares in common with many elected officials on both sides of the aisle and at all levels of government, and that he is as charismatic as a stump.

          2. I did not think it funny because of any particular action on Mr. Northam’s part. I thought it was funny because as soon as I read the words “Forrest Gump” in Mom’s comment my mind flashed to the photo that accompanies the “Ralph Northam’s Power Play” article also posted to Bacon’s Rebellion.

            Head over to that article and take a look at that photo. I think you’ll have to admit that the expression on the governor’s face is very Forrest Gump-like.

  18. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Make sure that you use geometric means and not arithmetic. If you are analyzing what you know to be exponential functions and are not invoking logarithms, it is certain to be wrong.

    1. I fully confess my ignorance of statistics. I provide the data and suggest possibilities, and hope that readers will refine the analysis. I am happy to provide data, pulled from the VDH website, on request.

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        Not saying you’re wrong just be careful of what you believe from numbers that have questionable provenance. I’m not so sure that total cases are of any value, active cases may be of more value. Perhaps, since they are more sure, just modeling deaths would be better, but even those may not be accurate. After all, the coroner may not include the all important “complications of COVID” since the death is actually caused some organ failure.

        1. John Harvie Avatar
          John Harvie

          I think you will find a logarithmic X-axis is required to allow an exponential to plot as a straight line … if my Blacksburg memory from many years ago still applies.

  19. LarrytheG Avatar

    TBill | March 23, 2020 at 9:31 pm |
    Larry- Last I heard we still had to file Va. Taxes on time? But that requires a lot of Federal 1040 Info.

    I think Virginia extended but not sure if as long as Fed but you’re right, Va starts with the Federal Adjusted gross.

    1. Larry-
      Thank you. Also the tax job requires people like you to help, which is hard to do right now. So it seems like they should match Feds new deadline. The other option is just to go ahead and give everyone in Va. six month extension, which is easy to get anyways.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        I’m sure they will get “synched” at some point. The way that AARP taxes are done will not work with the current regime of social distancing.

        We have a meeting today with a financial adviser and he called yesterday to tell us we cannot meet face-to-face and will have to use Webex and scan documents …etc…

        I suspect this is some version of what AARP will have to do if they want to re-open – which I have serious doubts they will – the whole way they operate would have to change – and that level of change is risky business in terms of maintaining quantity and quality of returns.

        I think there is some opportunity to actually do more and better after changes are made – for folks that have access to internet and are somewhat comfortable with technology but for some who are older, it’s going to be a tough slog. Longer term, both the State and the Feds are going to have to figure out how to deal with returns not filed.

  20. elena siddall Avatar
    elena siddall

    Why not take a look as to how we got to this Chinese origin pandemic.
    Italy and Iran have been two of the countries hardest hit by the Wuhan coronavirus, outside of China. Why? Helen Raleigh explains at The Federalist:

    The reason these two countries are suffering the most outside China is mainly due to their close ties with Beijing, primarily through the “One Belt and One Road” (OBOR) initiative.

    OBOR is Beijing’s foreign policy play disguised as infrastructure investment. Here’s how it works: China and country X agree to do an infrastructure project in country X. Country X has to borrow from a Chinese bank to finance the project. A contract is always awarded to Chinese companies, which then bring supplies and Chinese employees to country X to build the project.

    As a result of One Belt and One Road, there are more than 300,000 Chinese living in Italy.

    Almost exactly a year ago in March 2019, against warnings from the EU and the United States, Italy became the first and only G7 country to sign onto OBOR. As part of the deal, Italy opened an array of sectors to Chinese investment, from infrastructure to transportation, including letting Chinese state-owned companies hold a stake in four major Italian ports. …

    Lombardy and Tuscany are the two regions that saw the most Chinese investment. Nearly a year later, the first Wuhan coronavirus infection case in Italy was reported in the Lombardy region on Feb. 21. Today, Italy is experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreak outside China, and Lombardy is the hardest-hit region in the country.

    The Iran case is interesting as well:

    2019 was the year Iran officially signed up to OBOR. China sees Iran as a crucial player to this initiative because Iran is not only rich in oil but also lies in a direct path of an ambitious 2,000-mile railroad China wants to build, which will run from western China through Tehran and Turkey into Europe.

    Today, Iranian health officials trace the country’s coronavirus outbreak to Qom, a city of a million people. According to the Wall Street Journal, “China Railway Engineering Corp. is building a $2.7 billion high-speed rail line through Qom. Chinese technicians have been helping refurbish a nuclear-power plant nearby.” Iranian medical professionals suspect either Chinese workers in Qom or an Iranian businessman who travelled to China from Qom caused the spread of the coronavirus in Qom.

    News reports indicate that a number of high Iranian officials have contracted coronavirus, and I believe at least one or two have died. Raleigh explains:

    Although on Feb. 1 the Iranian government banned its airlines from flying to China, it made an exception for Mahan Air, an unofficial airline for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

    The WSJ reported that Mahan Air “had carried out eight flights between Tehran and China between Feb. 1 and Feb. 9 to transfer Chinese and Iranian passengers to their respective home countries.” This explains why so many high-level Iranian officials are infected by the coronavirus, including First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and more than 20 lawmakers.

    Relying on China for economic development was never a good idea, but it turned out to be more dangerous than we knew.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Terrific comment. Now we really are talking about profound uncertainly. What happens to and in Italy now? When does it recover? How? By whom? Is Italy only the beginning? We got the whole world to consider, many countries vastly under – equipped to defeat the challenge potentially at hand if this bug hits them as it did Italy. Will the virus circle the globe, putting into play dynamics bouncing and careening around, echoing back and forth, igniting catastrophes world wide? When will it end?

  21. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Funny, all the bad information out there:

    The Italian Connection by Willis Eschenbach / March 24, 2020 published in What’s Up With That?

    “Since the earliest days of the current pandemic, Italy has been the scary member of the family that you absolutely don’t want to emulate, the one cousin that gets into really bad trouble. The Italians have the highest rate of deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus, and their numbers continue to climb. Here’s the situation today.

    Italy, with over six thousand dead, is up well into the blue range. This is the range of annual deaths from the flu in the US. If the US coronavirus patients were dying at the same rate as in Italy, we’d have 38,000 coronavirus deaths by now in addition to the same number of flu deaths …

    As a result, there has been much debate about why the Italian death rate is so high. People have suggested that it’s because they have one of the older populations in Europe. Others have noted that they often live in extended families. Some say it’s high numbers of smokers and polluted air. And some have pointed to their social habits that involve touching, kissing cheeks, personal contact during church rituals, and the like.

    But we haven’t had good data to take a hard look at the question, or at least I hadn’t seen any.

    In the comments to my post entitled END THE AMERICAN LOCKDOWN, wherein I passionately advocate just exactly that, I was given a link by a web friend, Mary Ballon, hat tip to her. It’s a report by a Swiss medical doctor about the COVID-19 deaths in Italy, well worth reading.

    And in that document, there’s a further link to an Italian Government report. It’s in Italian of course, I have it on good authority that’s what they actually speak over there, who knew? They reported on the statistics of a large sample of the Italian deaths (355 out of 2003 total deaths at the time of the report). I got it, and the numbers are very revealing.

    Let me start with the age distribution of the 2,003 Italians who had died at the time of the report. Figure 2 shows that it’s almost entirely old people. Out of the 2,003 deaths, seventeen were people under fifty, and only 5 people under thirty died, while almost two hundred deaths were of people over 90. I’d read that the people dying in Italy were old, but I didn’t realize quite how old they actually are …

    One thing I learned on this voyage was that the Italians distinguished between dying FROM the virus on the one hand, and dying WITH the virus on the other. Once I looked at the state of health of the Italian victims, however, I could see why they had to do that. Figure 3 shows the generous apportionment of serious diseases and conditions among the unfortunates.

    WOW! Yeah, they all had COVID-19. But three-quarters of them also had hypertension, a third had diabetes, a third had ischemic heart disease, a quarter of them had atrial fibrillation tossing clots into the bloodstream, and so on down the list.

    As you can see from Figure 3, some people must have had more than one other disease besides COVID-19. Figure 4 shows the breakdown of the number of other diseases per patient.

    For me, this was the most surprising finding of the entire study. Of all 355 people who died, only three did not have any of the diseases listed above. Three!

    Looking at all of this as a whole picture, I had a curious thought about who they were representing. I thought … consider the characteristics of the people who died:

    More of the patients were over 90 than were under 60.
    The average age was 79 years.
    All but three of them had at least one other disease, so basically all of them were already sick.
    Three-quarters of them had two other diseases, and half of them had three or more other diseases. Half!

    My thought was … that’s not a sample of the people in the street. That’s not a sample of an Italian family.

    That’s a sample of a totally different population.

    I was forced to a curious conclusion, both discouraging and encouraging. It is that most of these diseases were probably not community-acquired. Instead, I would hazard a guess that most of them go by the curious name of “nosocomial” infections, viz:

    Here’s what I suspect. I think that the COVID-19 disease got established in a couple of areas in Italy well before anyone even knew the disease was there, perhaps even before the Chinese recognized it as a novel disease.

    And in some fashion, it got into the medical system. Doesn’t matter how. But once there, it was spread invisibly to other patients, in particular the oldest and weakest of the patients. It went from patient to patient, from patient to visitor and back again, and it was also spread by everyone in the hospital from administrators to doctors and nurses to janitors. In many, perhaps most cases, they didn’t even know they were sick, but they were indeed infectious.

    And that’s why the pattern of the Italian deaths is so curious, and their number is so much larger than the rest of the world. It’s not a cross-section of the general population. It’s a cross-section of people who were already quite sick, sick enough that they were already visiting doctors and having procedures or being bedridden in hospitals. It was 85-year-olds with three diseases.

    And it’s also why the death rate in Italy is so high—these people were already very ill. I can see why the Italians are distinguishing between dying FROM the virus and dying WITH the virus…”

    For full Discussion and Conclusions, plus many informative charts see:

Leave a Reply