COVID-19 Update: Yikes!

I’ve divined hopeful signs in past statistical updates, only to have my hopes dashed. So, take this with a grain of salt. But Virginia may be turning a corner. Consider this nugget from the COVID-19 numbers reported by the Virginia Department of Health this morning: The number of confirmed new patients Tuesday was only a hair higher yesterday than five days previously: 312 new cases reported versus 306.

John Butcher charts the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on a logarithmic scale. A straight line indicates that the virus is spreading at a consistent exponential rate. His graph below suggests that the curve may be bending — the virus is still spreading, but the rate of the spread is slowing. As John puts it: “I’m willing to say the exponential phase is ending.”

If you’re of a more pessimistic frame of mind, you can always point to the metric of patients admitted to Virginia hospitals. That chart shows little sign of slowing. The total number of hospitalizations passed the 600 mark yesterday.

Clarification: This chart shows the number of NEW hospitalizations.

(Some hospitalized patients have either died or been released, so this does not reflect the current number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals right now. Also, due to differences in methodologies, the VDH data for hospitalizations is lower than the number published daily by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.)

Here’s a recap of key metrics based on VDH data, supplemented by VHHA data for ICUs and ventilators.

Total COVID-19 cases: 3,645, up 312 from the previous day
Total hospitalizations: 615, up 52 from the previous day
ICUs in use: 458, up 50
Ventilators in use: 293, up ten
Total deaths
: 75, up 12
Total tests: 30,645, up 2,000
% tests positive: 15.6%

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10 responses to “COVID-19 Update: Yikes!”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    The strong focus on the numbers – when we know that the numbers are all over the map is odd to me.

    Further, the idea that so many of us are looking at that data and thinking that when it “peaks” and heads down that we are seeing an end – at some point.

    But the scientists are telling us that this may well be a mirage – that as long as the coronavirus is in the wild – it will continue to infect those who are not yet infected – until we have a vaccine and/or until we change our testing regime to test everyone continuously and get the folks who are virus-free back to work – but continue to test them so that when/if they get infected, we quickly isolate them.

    Why we failed to do the total testing approach like South Korea and Germany did is a puzzle. Easy to monday-morning quarterback… I guess.

    Doing this test-all approach will NOT work on a state-by-state basis unless we basically lock-down the state borders… it has to be a national approach.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      LarrytheG, often (always?) wrong but never in doubt (like all liberals).

      From Larry’s screed – “Doing this test-all approach will NOT work on a state-by-state basis unless we basically lock-down the state borders… it has to be a national approach.Germany and national testing.”

      Now, the reality in Germany …

      “Unburdened by a restrictive central regulatory body, since healthcare is administered at the state level in Germany, private companies moved quickly to mass produce those tests, meaning they could be rolled out rapidly to the population.”

      Unfortunately for Virginia the state is run by completely inept Democrats (oh, sorry … was using inept and Democrat redundant?).

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      “The regulatory state also includes the sprawling U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which made the initial decision to prevent state, academic and commercial labs from developing COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Even once it opened the door to additional development, the FDA’s cumbersome mandatory approval process made things drag on for weeks. And on March 20, the FDA shut down efforts to make available at-home testing kits, claiming that without the regulators’ stamp of approval, such testing simply couldn’t be trusted.”

      Yep. Roper is hardly the first to write it.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      You mean now that they are bailing out everyone and their brother with trillions of debt money?

      The “big govt” lament coming from a NoVa guy is funny!

  2. Absolutely right, Larry, the focus on slight dips in the numbers is a mirage. The testing must become widespread nationwide to know where we are overall, to know where individuals are on the safety scale (can they get back to work, what risk to them from exposure), to identify the hotspots, and to allow contact tracing. To notion that we “pass the peak” and return to normal is idiotic, until either ~80% survivor immunity or a vaccine. We’re talking 1-3% infected now; think how far away 80% is! So, resuming social proximity and close working conditions means immediately resuming new cases and new deaths. This cycle of ‘relaxation leads to renewed surge’ is entirely predictable and avoidable; must we learn the hard way? DJR, for example, says people will get tired of social distancing– well, what the hell’s the alternative?

    This is not a snowstorm that melts and it’s s gone. This is a new, essentially permanent state of affairs — until a vaccine.

  3. Jim Loving Avatar
    Jim Loving

    Spoiler alert – the role of the national government is national defense against “All Hazards and All Threats.”

    The need to defend and respond to a global pandemic was well known and presented to this administration.

    The ability to rapidly scale a test – and the bottlenecks of the current system, is a problem that needed to be addressed and responded to.

    In a national emergency, the leader of the nation must be competent and capable, and his/her party and the citizens need to hold him/her accountable.

    We have a failure in process. Government is not the problem, electing a party and leaders who say it is the problem, then proceed to fail in execution of its function are the problem, and we need to get rid of them.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      Study the countries that did this right. Excessive centralized government is the problem. Always has been the problem. Always will be the problem. No matter who is running the regulatory state. Less central government = better results.

      How did Germany succeed? By letting its states and private enterprise react.

      Sure, Virginia would have been screwed anyway because we have an Imperial Clown Show that is beholden to unlimited campaign contributions from special interests but that’s another issue regarding our completely broken Byrd-machine inspired state constitution.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        The type of test, the testing protocol, and the tracking of people has to be uniform/standardized and on a country-wide basis.

        you cannot do it state-by-state with different kinds of tests, different kinds of protocols and only tracking people inside each state – unless people are restricted from moving across states.

        It will do little good for Virginia to do state-wide testing if Md and NC do not…

  4. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Just to update the prison and jail figures, which we have mentioned before (I assume these numbers have been included in the VDH reports):

    20–inmates testing positive, tw0 of which are in a hospital
    21–staff testing positive

    Distribution of cases:
    Unit 13 (Chesterfield, female, minimum security)–6
    Sussex II (Sussex County, male, high security)–3, 2 of which are in hospital
    VCCW (Goochland, female, medium security)–11

    Also, one juvenile being held at the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center in Chesterfield has tested positive.

    So far, only one jail inmate (in Fairfax County) has been reported as testing positive.

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