Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Continuing to Break Records: the Fall Wave of COVID-19

 

The mid-summer peak in COVID-19 cases did not represent a true second wave: the spread of the virus could be clearly traced to those places where the first wave had only begun to crash. In mid- to late-July numbers of infections in the United States peaked, mostly due to very high infection rates in two of the most populous states, Florida and Texas, and a moderately high rate in the most populous state, California.


Seventeen states have had increases of at least 100% in their case rates over the past 4 weeks, since September 26 (as shown in the table below). The current peak in cases includes alarming rates in states that had until recently had the virus relatively under control, including New Mexico, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Michigan and New Hampshire. Although Vermont had the highest rate of increase, they still maintain their place as having the least number of new infections over this past week: they had started incredibly low. Their new cases are no longer in the single digits per day.


Also in the table are several states that had very high case rates and then more than doubled them, including North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.


Only four states have had drops in their case rates over the past 4 weeks. These are, alphabetically, California, Hawaii, South Carolina and Texas.



Here are the states ranked from lowest to highest case rates for the week ending October 24th.

 


The week ending July 25th had the previous peak. Presented below is a graph for the states of that week on the scale presented above (with the Y axis continuing to 8000 cases per million).



Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.






Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Zombie March of COVID-19: A Report for the Week Ending October 17

 

The principles of my COVID-19 virus analyses have been these:


1) Numbers per population are more important than total numbers. Total numbers dazzle but the population of a state is more significant in its capacity to deal with cases. Population correlates to numbers of hospitals, contact tracing, and tests. Some less populated states receive little publicity. This week North Dakota has had a rate of new cases per million population that is over 80% higher than New York state at its peak. It frustrates me to see depictions like this from NBC news (the map toward the bottom) that provide total numbers versus shouting out where the infection rates are at crisis level. 


2) Numbers of new cases, tests and deaths per population are more important than total numbers. Total historical numbers from previous weeks and months will not change. The new cases need to be addressed. 


3) Weekly numbers are better than daily numbers in determining trends. Illinois, for example, updates its probable cases and deaths on Fridays and will always have a jump on that day. Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Kansas don't report on weekends. Weekly numbers overcome such daily variances. 


4) Numbers 1, 2, and 3 taken together mean that the number of new cases per population per week are the optimal form of reporting the current state of the infection. 


5) The states, are in a sense, in competition with one another. State government decisions, in part, determine the number of infections. By ranking the states according to their weekly new cases, tests, and death rates, a picture forms of which states are doing better and which are doing worse. 


Performance Beyond Replacement


Statistical geeks invented a metric for ranking baseball players that takes into account multiple aspects of player performance and compares those to how much better (or worse) that player would be compared to an average replacement performer. Finally, they extrapolate this into the number of likely additional wins that the player delivers. This is called Wins Above Replacement or WAR. 


I propose looking at performance of states compared to the numbers from a median state for any given week, performance above (or below) replacement. For the week ending October 17, the number of new cases in the median state was in Colorado, 6481 cases for 1188 per million with 25 states (or DC) performing better and 25 performing worse. 


Vermont performed best among states with 69 cases for a weekly new case rate of 111 per million. Vermont bested Colorado by 1077 cases per million population. 


On the other extreme, North Dakota had 6184 new cases per million for the week ending October 17. North Dakota performed 4996 cases per million worse than Colorado.


A different way of looking at this is by extrapolating the numbers of infections for a given state to what those numbers would look like if the state had the population of California (2019 US Census estimate 39,551,223). If California had the rate of infections per million that North Dakota had this past week, California would be experiencing 34,954 new cases per day. (This past week California averaged 2,963 daily new cases. That may seem like a lot but, because of their population, they ranked 6th best in new infection rate per million people.)



Legend: Performance compared to median is derived by subtracting the weekly case rate for a given state from the rate for Colorado, the median state this past week. The numbers refer to the number of cases by which a state is doing worse (adjusted for population) than the median (negative numbers, the top portion of the list) or the number of cases by which a state is doing better (positive numbers, the bottom of the list). Cases per day if the state had a population of California is obtained by taking the case rate per million and multiplying it 39.551 for California's 39,551,000 people. I adjusted this to per average day even though most of my other figures are per week.


The Week Ending October 17.


I began this project in early May. Sometimes I feel as though I'm watching a zombie movie. The zombies keep marching on relentlessly and those places you once believed were safe, eventually fall prey. Very few states can say they have never had an out-of-control infection, most notably Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Continuous vigilance is necessary to prevent out-of-control numbers.


Several states that maintained very low levels for a long time are currently among the worse in infection rates including Montana and Wyoming. In May the number of new cases per week in Hawaii was below ten. In August, it peaked at 1783. This past week it registered 574. 


The dominant story for the last three months has been the surge in cases in Republican-leaning states. Although states that Trump won in 2016 still account for the top 14 spots, they have been joined in the top 20 by resurgences in Democratic-leaning states, notably Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Illinois, with New Mexico at 21. New Mexico had maintained a reasonable rate of new infections even while bordering states surged, especially Arizona and Texas. New Mexico can no longer make that claim. 


New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts all went from very high levels to being among the best in the country. Although they still have among the lowest new infection rates in recent weeks those rates have more than doubled. Each was below 250 new cases per million per week; each is now above 500. 


Overall the total number of states doing poorly has increased with the median rising to a new height. North and South Dakota have spent seven weeks in the top two positions with their numbers growing ever higher. Their numbers are likely even higher than what is presented. North Dakota has advised positive patients to do their own contact tracing. By my count, 40.9% of North Dakota's PCR tests were positive this past week.







Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.



Thursday, October 15, 2020

It's Getting Bad Again: A Report for COVID-19 Cases for the Week Ending October 10th

 The story thus far, abridged. Abridged, because you know much of the story thus far. 


In early March of 2020, at a time when few tests were available and all positive tests had to be confirmed through the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the SARS-CoV-2 seeded itself throughout the United States. (From hereon, I'm going to call the virus by its commonly used name, coronavirus.)


At first, individual cases were reported by states in their Department of Health Twitter accounts. The alarm was downplayed. Texas pointed out that, when it had its first case, there was only one case statewide and there was no great danger (the tweets are at the end of this post). Over the course of the month of March, each state put together its own website with its own style of reporting or not reporting essential information (with Texas being among the last to put together a dedicated web-page). West Virginia was the last to report a case: March 17th.

 

Since March, coronavirus has been responsible for over 10% of all deaths in the United States. (Derived from Table I, CDC) 


From mid- to late-March each state initiated its own flavor of lockdown. Deriving these numbers from state reports, I found the cases went from an median weekly rate of 31.8* per million population per state for the week ending March 21st, to an early peak of 459.3 for the week ending May 2nd. The infections and mortality in the initial hotspots greatly declined. For the week ending May 9th, (when testing was much more available) Montana registered 3 new cases statewide. (Spoiler alert: for the week ending October 10th they would have 1808 new cases.)

*The March numbers were mostly likely underestimated due to limited testing. 


The Trump administration and many state governments were chomping to reopen businesses. There was a desperation to return to normal. The president suggested reopening for Easter (April 11). This date came and passed. April into May and the pressure to reopen built. 


Number geeks put together a series of statistical benchmarks for reopening. Yay, thought the geeks. We can help fight this virus. Among these was a guideline that the local area should have a 5% or lower positivity rate. 


State governments looked at their numbers and freaked out. I have to tell this urban county they can reopen and not this rural one? Won't people just cross the county borders to go shopping? What if the number is 6%? Or 10%. Iowa's governor later put out a guideline that schools can request closing if the local numbers were over 20%. 


And so many states ignored the stop signals. With positivity rates of over 10%, Florida allowed the reopening of Disneyworld. The numbers rose. These are the median number of cases per week per million for the fifty states and the District of Columbia starting the week ending May 30th. The median number were derived by ranking the states each week and noting the number of the state in the middle spot: twenty-five states with more cases, twenty-five with fewer. I also included the rate of cases for the state that had the peak number. 



For the week ending June 6th, Maryland led the nation with 904.3 new cases per million population. In the past two weeks this number was well below the median. Having crunched a lot of these numbers, 1000 new cases per week per million was my line for dividing out those states with out-of-control infection rates. Now it is the norm. 


In the first days, a select number of states had high infection rates, while others were nearly virus-free. During July, as more and more states "reopened," the infections shifted to high-population states, most especially Florida and Texas. California had a moderately high rate and with its population added to the total. This gave a peak in total cases in new cases per week climbed over 500,000.


As the most populous states lowered their rates, the new cases per week fell to near 240,000. This week it passed 300,000.


The current rise in the median number of cases indicates that most states are experiencing high rates. This is especially true of a number of low-populated state. Before October, Florida set the record high in new cases per week with 3867.2 per million. This past week, North Dakota shattered that record, nearing 5000. (South Dakota also broke Florida's record.)


I have written about the Sturgis, South Dakota motorcycle rally being a super-spreader event. This past week, South Dakota and those states sharing a border ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 13th and 17th in most new cases per million people. 


Here is a graphic for all fifty states and the District of Columbia for new cases per million for the week ending October 10th. Although Vermont had the fewest new cases, they have had a blip or possibly significant increase of four-fold over the past two weeks. Other states that have been doing well, such as New York, have also had a disturbing jump. 



Appendix: Texas Tweets. These three tweets were from March 4th Texas Department of Public Health Twitter feed.

First Texas COVID19 Case, Travel Related

Texas DSHS confirms a presumptive positive case in a person infected with COVID-19 when traveling abroad. This does not mean there is community spread of COVID-19 in Texas.
---
“Having a COVID-19 case in Texas is a significant development in this outbreak, but it doesn’t change the fact that the immediate risk to most Texans is low,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner.
---
“Over the past month, the state of Texas has been preparing for this moment, and we are confident in the steps we have taken to safeguard our communities against the coronavirus,” said 
@GovAbbott
9:16 PM · Mar 4, 2020

By March 6th, Texas had identified 6 cases, all from travel. On March 13th, Texas Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster for all Texas counties. There would be over 2000 cases by March 28, 6000 cases by April 4th, 12500 cases by April 11th, and over 800000 cases by October 14th.

Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.



Saturday, October 3, 2020

Report for the Rates of Infection for the week ending September 26

Washington, DC, includes all its historical COVID-19 reports on its main page, a long column of information. As of late, they have been handling their viral outbreaks well. When compared to the states, they have the eighth best record of having the fewest new cases per million population for the week ending September 26th and perform the second-highest testing when adjusted for population. 


Sorry, I am always a week late with these updates. Some states do not report their weekend figures until Tuesday. Still, that doesn't mean I can't look up the latest data. Between October 1st and 2nd, they had 50 new positive tests. It is likely that the outbreak that has infected Donald Trump will cause a measurable bump in their total cases. 


North and South Dakota again dominate the case rates for this past week, making it four straight weeks that they are numbers one and two. What's more remarkable is that they have continued to rise. This past week North Dakota, adjusted for population - and it is not a populous state - has had the second worse rate of new cases of any state since the beginning of the outbreak. Only Florida at its peak was worse.


In fact all of the states that border South Dakota (North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota) have had remarkable increases in the number of new infections over the past month and a half.


As I've mentioned before, here, and in subsequent posts, the Sturgis, South Dakota cycle rally which ended August 16th, was a superinfection event. 


Here are the weekly rates of new cases per million in South Dakota and its bordering states for the weeks ending August 15 and September 26.




Here are the new case rates in 49 states and the District of Colombia for the week ending September 26th, adjusted for population. Texas made some corrections to its case numbers this week and is left off. 



Here is the rate of testing, from Pennsylvania with the lowest rate to Rhode Island with the highest rate. Kentucky and New Hampshire made adjustments and are left out. 




Here are the death rates. Death rates are stubborn, slow to go down. Some states that haven't had high case rates for months, still maintain a high rate of deaths. Vermont hasn't had a COVID-19 death since August.



Finally, here are the positivity rates. Left off are those adjusting either tests or cases (Texas, New Hampshire and Kentucky). Maine edged out Vermont due to the high testing rate of the former.


Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Is the United States Really Doing the Worst in the World in Handling the Coronavirus? Update

 

This is a follow-up to last week's post. Last week, I found that the United States was doing the most poorly out of the 134 countries with populations of more than 3,000,000, in terms of total cases and deaths. The United States was doing 6th most poorly in cases when adjusting for population (per million people). The United States came in 9th out of 134 when it came to deaths per million population. It ranked 7th in tests per million people and was doing the most poorly among nations that had similar or higher testing rates. 

I concluded that Brazil, Chile, and Peru were most likely doing worse than the United States when considering a variety of metrics. Israel was close behind the United States and performs a near equal number of tests.

That week I looked at who ranked highest in new cases and new deaths for that one day, the United States ranked 11th. What happens in a single day is more of a snapshot than a full picture, so I decided to follow this up and see who is doing the worst over the course of a week and look at how the rankings may have changed. The following figures are derived from worldometers through the day ending September 25th.


Before Adjusting for Population. 


The United States is far and away the leader with the most cases and most deaths: 7,244,184 and 208,440, respectively. It is in second place in terms of total tests. 


Adjusted for Population.


Cases per million population. Again, for countries with at least three million people.


Panama is first with 25,269.

Peru is second with 24,021.

Kuwait is third with 23,905.

Chile is fourth with 23,695.

Israel is fifth with 23,691.

Brazil is sixth with 22,039.

The United States is seventh with 21,855. 

The next country is Oman with 18,673.


In terms of deaths per million population, the United States climbed one notch, leaping over the United Kingdom. All others in the top ten kept their positions.


Peru is in first place with 968.

Belgium is in second place with 859.

Spain is in third place with 668.

Bolivia is in fourth place with 663.

Brazil is in fifth place with 661.

Chile is in sixth place with 654.

Ecuador is in seventh place with 635.

The United States moved up into eighth place with 629.

The UK is in ninth place with 617.

To round out tenth place, Italy has 592.


Tests per million:


United Arab Emirates is in first place 929,848.

Denmark is in second place with 622,430.

Singapore is in third place with 459299.

Hong Kong is in fourth place with 440,837.

Israel is in fifth place with 361,240. 

The United Kingdom is in sixth place with 341,160.

The United States is in seventh place with 309,378.

Russia is in eighth place with 303,530.

Australia is in ninth place with 292,531. 

Belgium rounds out the top 10 with 260,927.


New Cases Over the Past Week.


Where are the current flare-ups in COVID-19 cases? This is how many new cases occurred between September 18th to 25th, adjusted for population.


New cases per million population over the course of seven days:


Israel has 4221.54 (this is a remarkable and alarming number)

Argentina has 1713.06

Costa Rica has 1653.94

Spain has 1622.46

Czechia has 1405.35

France has 1291.44

Peru has 1154.27

Panama has 1051.45

Moldova has 996.56

The United States has 960.22 (10th place).

Brazil has 916.66


I was surprised by the degree of the outbreak in Israel and the fact that Spain and France have rejoined the top ten. 


Deaths Per Million.

 

For deaths per million people over this past week, the United States ranks 14th:


Argentina   56.34

Mexico       25.22

Costa Rica  24.68

Colombia    24.56

Israel           23.48

Peru             22.79

Brazil          22.79

Bolivia        21.69

Paraguay     20.97

Moldova     19.35

Panama       18.94

Chile          17.12

Bosnia and Herzegovina   17.09

USA           15.90

Spain          15.76


For total infections and deaths and for infections and deaths per million population the United States is consistently either on the top or in the top ten. For new infections and deaths per week per million, the United States ranks 10th and 14th, respectively, among all nations.


A Ranking of the Case Rates in the United States.


North and South Dakota maintain the number one and two positions. Taking a peek at this current week's data, it is getting even worse for them. In today's accounting, North Dakota had 495 new cases and South Dakota, 576. If these states had the population of California, this would work out to be over 25,000 new cases in a day for either state. Arkansas made an adjustment to its case counting and does not appear in this graph (they would probably be in the top 10 highest).


The above case rates are new cases over the course of the week ending September 19th, adjusted to million population. These are directly comparable to the new cases in countries listed above.

Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.





Monday, September 21, 2020

Solutions for the Mystery Word Ladders

Here are the solutions for the mystery word ladders presented in this post. Go to the link if you want the puzzles without solutions. There are likely shorter answers to some of these: these were handmade.

The dots represent several steps.

STAB to BACK in 7 steps.

STAB, SLAB, BLAB, BLAM, BEAM, BEAK, BECK, BACK

From DANGER to SAFETY in 10 steps.

DANGER, DINGER,DINGEY, DINKEY, DINKLY, DANKLY, LANKLY, LANELY, SANELY, SAFELY, SAFETY. 

From CRIME to CUFFS in 10 steps.

CRIME, PRIME, PRIMS, PROMS, PROFS, POOFS, GOOFS, GOLFS, GULFS, GUFFS, CUFFS

POE to ECO in 13 steps. (Poe and Eco are not Scrabble words, but the connecting words are)

POE, POT, BOT, BOA, BRA, ERA, ERE, ARE, ALE, ALA, AGA, AGO, EGO, ECO

From TRIAL to GUILT in 18 steps.

TRIAL, TRIAD, TRIED, TREED, FREED, FREES, FRETS, FRATS, FLATS, PLATS, PLATE, ELATE, ELITE, ELIDE, GLIDE, GUIDE, GUILE, GUILT

From JEWEL to HEIST in 18 steps. 

JEWEL, JEBEL, REBEL, REPEL, RAPEL, RAPES, ROPES, ROSES, POSES, POSEY, MOSEY, MOSSY, MOUSY, MOUSE, HOUSE, HORSE, HORST, HOIST, HEIST

From HOLMES to MARPLE in 25 steps. 

HOLMES, HOLIES, HOLIER, HOLLER, TOLLER, TILLER, TILTER, TITTER, BITTER, BUTTER, CUTTER CURTER, CURSER, PURSER, PURGER, BURGER, BURGEE, BURGLE, BURBLE, BUBBLE, RUBBLE, RABBLE, GABBLE, GARBLE, MARBLE, MARPLE

Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Mystery Word Ladder With Hints

Here are hints for the mystery word ladders presented in yesterday's post. Go to yesterday's post if you want the puzzles without clues. Wait for tomorrow's post if you want the full answers. There are likely shorter answers to some of these: these were handmade.

The dots represent several steps.

STAB to BACK in 7 steps.

STAB, SLAB, _ _ _ _, . . . . _ _ _ _, BECK, BACK

From DANGER to SAFETY in 10 steps.

DANGER, DINGER, _ _ _ _ _ _, . . . .DANKLY . . . . _ _ _ _ _ _, SAFELY, SAFETY. 

From CRIME to CUFFS in 10 steps.

CRIME, PRIME, _ _ _ _ _, . . . . GOOFS, . . . . _ _ _ _ _, GUFFS, CUFFS

POE to ECO in 14 steps. (Poe and Eco are not Scrabble words, but the connecting words are)

POE, POT, _ _ _, . . . ., ERE, . . . ., _ _ _, EGO, ECO

From TRIAL to GUILT in 18 steps.

TRIAL, TRIAD, _ _ _ _ _, . . . . ., FREED, . . . . ., PLATE, . . . . ., _ _ _ _ _, GUILE, GUILT

From JEWEL to HEIST in 18 steps. 

JEWEL, JEBEL, _ _ _ _ _, . . . ., ROPES, . . . ., MOSEY, . . . ., _ _ _ _ _, HOIST, HEIST

From HOLMES to MARPLE in 25 steps. 

HOLMES, HOLIES, _ _ _ _ _ _, BITTER, . . . ., BURGEE, . . . . . ., _ _ _ _ _ _, MARBLE, MARPLE

Some people take word ladders seriously, plugging all words of a certain length into a computer and using a program to find the optimal paths. This generated this graph for six letter words. 


The programmer found that the longest word ladder needed to connect two words in the shortest manner is 49 words long: CHARGE to COMEDO.

Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Mystery Word Ladders

It has been some time since I've made a non-coronavirus post. A fair number of earlier posts are related to my passion for mystery stories and mystery writing. Among other works, I have had three mystery stories appear in Mystery Weekly in the last few months, April, May and June

I also have a general passion for words. Words are chewy and when you masticate enough of them, you can build anything that can be imagined.

There is a type of word game called "word ladders." In word ladders, police are always one step away from being polite, and jail is followed by bail. The rules are you change words one letter at time to make the destination word. All transitions must also be words. I use the Official Scrabble Dictionary as judge as to what is a word and I never use proper name or words with hyphens or apostrophes. What constitutes a Scrabble word can be found at a number of sites online.

For example, I once became obsessed with changing the words that spell out numbers, one to another, for each instance when the word lengths are the same. One to Two in four steps (the fourth step being the destination word). 

ONE

ONO

OHO

THO

TWO

Ono, oho, and tho are in the Scrabble dictionary. Sometimes to crack these you need less common words.

The above example was simple. I had a hellacious time transforming seven into eight, working on and off on the problem for months. I would guess it took forty steps. I have the answer in an old writing journal. 

Here are some mystery word ladders from relatively simple to fiendishly hard. The fiendishly hard ones took me hours to construct. There may be quicker ways from one to another that I didn't find. I will publish hints tomorrow and the answers two days from now.

JURY to HUNG in 4 steps.

MYSTERY to WRITERS in 5 steps.

STAB to BACK in 7 steps.

From DANGER to SAFETY in 10 steps.

From CRIME to CUFFS in 10 steps.

POE to ECO in 14 steps. (I realize Poe and Eco are not Scrabble words, but the connecting words are)

And now for the fiendishly hard.

From TRIAL to GUILT in 18 steps.

From JEWEL to HEIST in 18 steps. (Jewel heists often take elaborate planning)

From HOLMES to MARPLE in 25 steps. (All the connecting words are Scrabble words)

Until tomorrow, good luck. 

Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.




Friday, September 18, 2020

Is the United States Really the Worst When it Comes to Containing the Coronavirus?

The answer is not that simple to get to. While the United States does have, by far, the highest number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases, the United States is the third most populated country in the world. So let's look at the major statistics as totals and then let's look at them after adjusting for population. 

First, I selected all of the countries with at least 3,000,000 people. There are 134 of them. I decided to do this because, when we look at rates (San Marino with 34,000 population has the highest COVID-19 death rate), these smaller nations didn't seem comparable to the United States. Why 3,000,000? I played around with the cutoff number. With 5,000,000, I had 122 nations and left off some important ones like Ireland and Panama. So I stuck with 3,000,000.

The following figures are from September 18, 2020 and come from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.


Before Adjusting for Population. 

Cases.

The United States leads with the most cases: 6,925,941.

India is second with 5,305,475.

Brazil is third with 4,497,434.

Russia is the only other country with at least a million: 1,091,186.


India has been catching up with the United States, with approximately 40,000 to 60,000 more new cases per day. At this rate they could overtake the United States in about a month and a half. Of course the rates could change by then. 

Deaths.

The United States leads with the most deaths: 203,171.

Brazil is second with 135,857.

India is third with 85,625. 

Mexico is fourth with 72,179.

Although India has been averaging several hundred more new deaths per day than the United States, it would take about a half a year to catch up with the U.S. figures. A lot is likely to change over six months. 


Tests.

China leads with 160,000,000. The roundness of the number says it is an estimate.

The United States is second with 96,223,461.

India is third with 61,572,343.

Russia is fourth with 42,000,000. 


So, other than testing, the United States is first in total numbers. 


Adjusted for Population.


Cases per million population. Again, for countries with at least three million people.


Panama is first with 24,226.

Chile is second with 23,122.

Kuwait is third with 22,999.

Peru is fourth with 22,873.

Brazil is fifth with 21,126.

The United States is sixth with 20,897. 

The next country is Israel with 19,469.


India, which has the second most cases, has four times the population of the United States and a case rate per million of 3,836.


Deaths per million population: 

Peru is in first place with 946.

Belgium is in second place with 857.

Spain is in third place with 652.

Bolivia is in fourth place with 642.

Brazil is in fifth place with 638. 

Chile is in sixth place with 637.

Ecuador is in seventh place with 624. 

The UK is in eighth place with 614.

The United States is in ninth place with 613.

To round out tenth place, Italy has 590.


The United States is greatly outpacing the UK (958 new deaths on September 18th versus 27) so should move up a notch soon.


Tests per million:

United Arab Emirates is in first place 863,488.

Denmark is in second place with 560,039.

Singapore is in third place with 426,268.

Hong Kong is in fourth place with 370,582.

Israel is in fifth place with 318,753.

The United Kingdom is in sixth place with 314,407.

The United States is in seventh place with 290,332.

Russia is in eighth place with 287,773.

Australia is in ninth place with 282,596.

Belgium rounds out the top 10 with 238,673.


The United States case rates per million in comparison to the countries with similar testing rates.

United States: 20897

Israel: 19469

Russia: 7477

United Kingdom: 5679

Australia: 1051


New Cases.


Some countries experienced massive infection rates early on (Spain, Italy, the United States). To get a picture of what is happening now, a snapshot of the current status, this is how many new cases occurred on September 18th, adjusted for population.


New cases per million:


Israel has 414.78

Costa Rica has 304.85

Argentina has 263.77

Chile has 202.36

Czechia has 196.67

Peru has 190.93

Brazil has 187.85

Belgium has 174.82

Panama has 171.16

Moldova has 164.94

The United States has 154.92 (11th place)

(Note: Not too much emphasis should be placed on a single day's figures.)


The United States by total numbers or by population has been performing among the most poorly in limiting its infections and deaths. It performs a high rate of testing, seventh among nations when adjusted for population. Among those with a similar rate of testing or greater, it is doing the poorest among cases. 


In terms of new cases, a one-day figure is far from optimal, but nevertheless the United States is in eleventh place. In this case, those countries with more new cases also have a lower rate of testing.


Is the United States doing the poorest? Adjusted for population and considering the number of tests per million, Brazil, Chile, and Peru are doing more poorly. Israel is near the rate of the United States in terms of cases and is catching up. They have a similar testing rate. The death rate of Israel is 130 per million compared to 613 for the United States.


I'll try to follow this up in a week. New cases over the course of a week are much more meaningful than a single day. 


The United States for the Week Ending September 12. 

North Dakota and South Dakota are leading in terms of new cases per million population. Vermont continues to be in a league of its own.


 As for testing, Arizona lowered its testing rate to below 5,000 new tests per million population for the week. No state has performed at such a low rate since the week ending June 13th. Rhode Island officially reports testing encounters which bumps up their rates over people tested. Even with an adjustment, they would still be in first place.


Wyoming and Vermont had no deaths. Florida and Arizona, among the worst testers, were near the top in terms of death rates.




Positivity rates adjusts for those poor testing states.


Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

New Cases, Testing, and Deaths for the Week Ending September 5th.

 



Above: although new cases have not greatly increased in Montana since mid-July, the hospitalizations have risen markedly. Graphs from The COVID Tracking Project.


I decided to display the data a bit differently this week. Rather than 51 graphs that show each state and its history of new cases, I am displaying one graph with this last week's results. In this way, I can present more of the information that I collect without having to compose hundreds of graphs.


First, we have case rates, the number of new cases for each state per million population, ranked from low to high. Vermont maintains its excellent case control, its tenth consecutive week with the lowest rates of new cases. 


Massachusetts made adjustments to its case counting resulting in fewer cases than the week before. It is not included in the graph. 


The Dakotas, last on this graph have the number one and two highest new case rates. As discussed in previous entries, I believe this to be because of the Sturgis Cycle Rally in South Dakota in August, now recognized to be a superspreader event. 


The top ten states with the highest rates of new infection this week were "red" states, those that voted for Trump.


Nevada has maintained a fairly high new case rate during the last two months and had the lowest testing rate this past week. Others, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Idaho are regular members among the worst in testing. Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas and Florida have low testing rates and moderately high to very high case rates.


Alaska had so many tests, I suspect they caught up on a backlog. Alabama and Massachusetts made adjustments to their counting methods and were not included on this graph. 


I've not published weekly death rates before this. This past week neither Vermont nor New Hampshire recorded a new death. 


Death rates take time to rise in places with new outbreaks, delayed by several weeks. They also take a time to drop. Arizona has recovered such that it is currently 35th in new cases. It is 9th in deaths per million this past week.


Positivity rates adjust case rates according to testing rates. States with poor testing do worse here and states with good testing do better. 


What is healthy? The CDC uses the number 5% as one of its benchmarks for safety for reopening businesses and schools. Not that many states pay more than lip-service to this mark. Alabama and Massachusetts, as mentioned above, performed adjustments on their numbers. They are not included here. 


Martin Hill Ortiz is a Professor of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and has researched HIV for over thirty years.