Monday, April 6, 2020
Day 22 of the COVID-19 Quarantine

Well once again, the reporting over the weekend seems to take the weekend off with the number just being shoved onto Monday. I can REALLY see why other people crunching the numbers are averaging the weekly numbers for reporting to avoid what appears to be an upturn in cases when really it is somebody in the reporting chain remembering to open their email (probably).

The rate of growth rose slightly to 10.4% raising the 7-day average to 15.1%. See Fig1. At this rate, we double the number of infected persons in about a week. I can’t really tell if this is an upturn on Sunday, or a report from the people who took the weekend off when they got to work on Monday. Using some estimates, that would mean that by next Monday we might have as many as 146,000 contagious Georgians.

Fig 1

Today, I estimate that 6 in every 1,000 Georgians are contagious. Approximately 57,180 Georgians are without apparent symptoms and 14,628 have no symptoms, not even a fever. But are they really without symptoms? I read an article about an unusual symptom for COVID-19–the absence of the ability to smell. According to the Army Times, if you can’t smell vinegar, then you might be positive for COVID-19. To get onto Army posts in S. Korea, you have to pass the smell test. I’m not kidding. So get a bottle of vinegar and your thermometer and do both tests, to make sure that you are not a carrier. The modern equivalent of carrying a cross and garlic to detect vampires.

As you can see from Fig 2, below, the numbers for Monday, 4/6/20 are within my predicted range. Fig 2 shows the data from Monday with the prediction from Sunday. You can also see the slight upturn in total numbers (blue line) of 667 newly-reported infections.

Fig 2

My estimates for Tuesday and Wednesday are outlined in Fig 3. The death rate has now dropped below 3%, but has been sticking around that number for awhile. Note that while closer estimates are better, I’ve decided to extend my rudimentary estimates for the week (ending on Saturday). I might leave the weekly prediction in place to see how the graph looks this week instead of making new estimates every day. Monday is as good a place to make a change as any, I suppose.

Fig 3

UPDATE: I’m not sure exactly what a health security expert is, but Scientific American says that Tom Inglesby is one of them in an article about how to transition back to situation normal. Tom says that before we can return to business as usual, there are four conditions. Step One is that the number of new cases has to fall every day for 14 consecutive days. If you look above at Fig 3, he is talking about the blue line going down for 14 straight days. We aren’t there yet in Georgia. Step Two is to have the capacity to test anyone with symptoms the same day. I don’t think Georgia is to that point either. Step Three is having enough PPE (personal protective equipment) for medical personnel if the numbers jump back up again. Step Four is the development of the capacity for rapid contact tracing and isolation. What this means is that when someone tests positive, hey are put in isolation and everyone they contacted during the last 14 days have to be tested as well. If the person does not want to isolate, then they are made to isolate. Georgia might say that they are doing this but I don’t believe it. I know someone who worked at the Kubota plan in Gainesville with one (or perhaps two) people who are confirmed positive, and nobody has talked to him. I know a bunch of people who work at the Lumpkin County Courthouse where there was a recent positive COVID-19 report, and nobody has said or done anything there. If you don’t think that contact tracing is important during an outbreak, then watch the first couple of episodes of V Wars. I’ve read a couple of fiction books where they describe the process pretty well. But the best I can tell, you can’t do contact tracing while watching TikTok videos at your house–you kinda have to talk to people. Texting won’t work either.

Another article from the AJC talks about the lack of social distancing in parks and recreation areas. According to the New York Times, everyone but us in the Southeast are remaining within 2 miles of our homes according to our cell phone location data that they obtained. Ordinarily, I would not give the NYT any credibility at all, but they are experienced exploiting private data that they got (probably) illegally to make whatever point they are told to report, so there might be something to it. I still suspect they are lying about something, but the lie probably relates to President Trump, not southerners as a class. The AJC article goes on to say that “recently” Coudland Canyon State Park was “maxed out” with no way to stay safe. Also, “late March” it was reported that Tallulah Gorge had 1,700 paid admissions and people were touching each other waiting their turn to descend, then ascend, those damn steps. (Hiking Note: Only the steps in Dawsonville are worse than these!) “Last week” there were 80-100 cars at the closed and blocked off Panther Creek trail. Some were towed, but not for violating the quarantine. They were towed because there were so many cars that they were parked partially on the roadway. Clearly, people are not afraid of COVID-19, and any steps to stem to tide will have to be mandates by more than a press conference and a strongly-worded web posting. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that we should enforce the stay-at-home rule with a bunch of jack-booted thugs, but if we don’t we might at well just let it roll, turn everyone lose, and see what happens. There might not be a real in between solution. We are talking about a virus that even if you get it 80% of the people have little or no idea they are sick. 20% have no idea at all–not even a fever. That means that the 3% who will die from the Wuhan Virus will pay the full price for all the hikers and shoppers and partiers who have ignored all the social distancing rules. If you have a loved one who might be in this 3% you should think before heading out. As for the Government, saying one thing and doing another is just business as usual, and I don’t like that a bit.

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