Here We Were Again ..

I decided to turn my brain off for Saturday .. and then I looked at my pandemic notes from Friday.

Argh.

Two very interesting charts leaped out at me from the news Friday (updated today to include the 26th). The first shows that while we had made progress, we are trending higher at a frightening rate:

CV US New 20200626

.. note that US cases rose another 45,000 on Saturday .. I don’t have that graph yet, but you get my point.

The second is the EU Wave versus US Tide .. this snap from Sunday morning:

CV US v EU 20200626

Europe has managed to flatten its curve and reduce the spread. The US has not.

Despite the ‘second wave’ references you hear, I’ve maintained that we’re in a tide and not a wave, as I commented in “I’m Confused ..” from June 14th. Note that Europe (white line) has created a wave .. but our (green line) high-water mark has not yet appeared.

Some notes on the US tide:

  • I’ve been WFH since March 13th.
  • Georgia (my residence state) issued “Ordered and Commanded” on April 1st .. Note that Georgia closed later than most.
  • On April 9th we had 34,746 new cases in the country, while we were in full shutdown mode.
  • We peaked at 36,291 new cases in the third week of April.
  • States (including Georgia) started opening about the same time, while we were still seeing spikes. Note that Federal guidance was to reopen after seeing 14 days of three-day-average of consecutive decline.
  • We hit a ‘trough’ right around Memorial Day (end of May) .. and then we had the Memorial Day holiday

Most States have reopened too quickly and many too carelessly. The wrong business, the wrong rules, lack of messaging, lack of enforcement. We’ve surpassed the highest number of cases (back in April) with the rise of this tide, hitting a record-setting 40,173 new cases on Friday.

Let me reiterate: we had more new positive cases last Friday than we had at the peak during the shutdown (recall a two-week lag). Hospitalization admission counts will follow this number and are a great cause for concern. Please note that as of today (Sunday) we have:

As to public information, we don’t have:

  • Clear Federal guidelines .. about much of anything: masks, distancing, testing, counts.
  • Clear CDC guidelines, although there’s lots of information on the CDC site if you choose to dig for best practices.
  • Clear state-level guidelines.

On the plus side, the counties and city mayors are taking up some of the slack, even going as far to levy fines for non-mask wearers in public spaces. Without their engagement, we’d all be back t home.

For the record: I do think we can open safely, but requires work on all our parts .. Government, business and People.

Last note: increased testing is not why the numbers are going up. Yes, more tests mean adding more cases to the positive count. However, the positivity rate (the percent of positive tests in the testing count .. regardless of the number of tests administered) is the real number to watch. Last week it has been as low as .5% (New York) and as high as 27% (one county in Florida) last week. Desired is less than 5% positive, alarming is greater than 10% .. both should be followed by isolation.

Those who say the numbers are going up only because of increased test counts are misleading you. While the initial statement is accurate, they are not taking into consideration the positivity rate, which manifests itself in hospitalization rates .. which are increasing dramatically .. there is a two-week lag, meaning reality will strike within 30 days.

Be smart. Be an adult. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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