Opening Up Results

(Jane) #1

This should make @OldDoug feel better (he lives in or near Atlanta, I think)

They started gradually opening up on April 24, so nearly a month’s worth of data and 3 weeks rolling averages.

Texas experienced a spike so should be interesting to watch them going forward. They are increasing their restaurant capacity from 25% to 50% tomorrow. I will be driving to Austin on June 5th to celebrate my son’s gf’s master’s degree graduation and hopefully we will get to go out to a restaurant.

(Jane) #2

Arkansas results. We started gradually opening up on May 4th. I am only posting hospitalizations since the number of positives is impacted by the increased testing. Those who test positive but do not require hospitalizations are not the biggest concern.

We have seen an increase, but nowhere near our peak when we were sheltering at home. It was not mandatory but most followed it based on the traffic and no lines to get into the grocery and home improvement stores.

(Jane) #3

7-day average of deaths since re-opening started. I’m liking this trend so far. Hope it continues as we are opening up bars and swimming pools with social distancing and sanitization requirements. No bars in my county so not an issue for me.

(Doug) #4

Jane, yes - ‘Midtown’ Atlanta, just a couple miles from Downtown. It was a subject of considerable mirth that the first things opened up were “essential” tattoo shops, massage parlors, bowling alleys and nail salons. :smile:

While I haven’t paid as close attention to other states, I think Georgia and Florida are the worst for lack of transparency and attempts to delay or hide data. The GA Department of Health has had multiple incidents of quickly-spotted attempts to mislead people, to an often goofily amateurish extent.

Aside from all that, agreed that things have not changed much at all. I can’t tell that they’re any different from how they would be were restrictions not lifted. Things have really been ‘smooth’ all along, the ‘weekend effect’ of low reporting and the vagaries of DPH data notwithstanding. Tell you what - the streets are still empty here - I don’t think the lifting of restrictions has yet made much difference.

Texas and Arkansas too - I see all these states as being early in a greatly-flattened first wave of the virus. Arkansas’ death numbers are so low that I think it’s too early to draw any conclusions except that the virus is moving very slowly.


In Georgia, the Atlanta area is a mini ‘New York City,’ relative to the rest of the state. One thing we know now more than ever is that population density makes an enormous difference. Things moving much more slowly outside of dense urban areas seems to be the rule.

In most of the U.S., this has thus far meant relatively small death numbers.

Honestly - right now I don’t know what to think. Things going really slow is good, from the standpoint that we are (hopefully) heading for a vaccine. But Georgia’s testing is not encouraging. (Here too, a clownish attempt by the Governor/Department of Health to mislead people - antibody tests were being added to virus tests, making the total number of tests larger, but positive antibody tests were not added to the ‘positive tests’ number, in an effort to make the % positives misleadingly small.)

Anyway, the state says that 3.8% of the population has been tested, and that <0.4% have been positive, thus far. Maybe that last one should be a little higher, because of the data shenanigans, but it’s still not going to be much at all.

Why this bothers me is because Georgia, and Arkansas and Texas too, don’t have a significantly lesser percentage of people that we know are more-vulnerable to the virus - old people, fat people, those with existing diseases. I was looking at West Virginia - with all of 70 deaths right now. WV is #3 in the U.S. for the percentage of the population being 65 years old or more, and #1 for obesity and #1 for diabetes.

Is there a reason to think that the lethality of the virus is going to be meaningfully less in these states than in NY or NJ, for example?

Texas is big and spread-out, but still has large, relatively densely-populated urban areas. I think it’s a smaller version of Brasil (which certainly bears watching right now). New York’s death rate has declined more than 80% from its peak, but there were still 1180 deaths in the last week. Even if we ‘freeze’ NY’s deaths right now, these other states have a lot of catching up to do.

To get to an equivalent percentage:

Georgia would have 9 times as many deaths as at present.
Florida, 15 times.
Texas, 30 times.
West Virginia, 39 times.
Arkansas, 42 times.

(Jane) #5

I am puzzled also at the huge disparity in death rates among different parts of the country. The treatment of the disease should be similar since I assumed that is being shared among the states.

Where I live everyone is old, sedentary and overweight. When I visit the doctor I am usually the only one in the waiting room not coming in with a walker, cane or wheelchair. Classic risk population. Last I saw we had 12 people in the entire state on ventilators. We can’t hunker down forever and I think the governor is making smart choices based on our own data to gradually open things up and monitor the trends.

Everyone around here has to mow their own yard or meadow and many have gardens so maybe there is something to the vitamin D from sunshine and boosted immunity to the virus. No yards in New York City to isolate yourself in so they truely are stuck inside.

Look at Denver with their European-like fit people - their rates are much higher than my own fat state. I assume they shut down the ski resorts so they took away that chance to catch some serious rays.

Just speculating here…

I wanted a thread to watch all the states as they open up and follow the data longer term. Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

(Doug) #6

:smile: I can hear myself saying that, Jane. I’ve wondered that exact same thing - Colorado and Massachusetts too - I’ve noticed that in Boston many times, essentially “no fat people,” though surely that’s an over-generalization.

Time will reconcile this, I guess - if eventually most everybody will be exposed to the virus, what does that say for those who are high-risk?

(Jane) #7

It may be an over generalization but all you have to do is look around in Denver and Little Rock at non-tourist venues like stores to see the vast difference in fitness and health in the two cities.

(Jennifer Kleiman) #8

I think a large part of the transmission was being driven by superspreader events & even though Georgia’s “opened” there’s still no large events going on, and all businesses that are open are at greatly reduced capacity. So maybe just keeping large crowds from gathering will be enough to keep the viral spread to a simmer instead of a boil.

That said, the last 3 days in Georgia have seen case numbers go up. But the data’s too noisy to say whether that’s a trend yet.


Yup! Maybe if you’re downtown or in a young neighborhood where everybody is working out and fit, I can promise you there’s NO shortage of obesity in Boston!

(GINA ) #10

Here is California we are in Stage 2, which is still fairly strict compared to other places (we don’t get tattoo parlours back until stage 3 :roll_eyes:) and our week over week hospitalizations are down 7.7% according to today’s paper.

What I think is kind of nuts is the aforementioned tattoo parlours, as well as hair salons and gyms (all frequented by adults that know to wash their hands and not lick each other) are stage 3 and schools are stage 2 (so could technically open now). I work at an elementary school, and even with reduced class sizes and sanitizing procedures, there is no way having a bunch of under-10s together would spread fewer germs than 5-6 adults getting their hair done.

(Jane) #11

I am only watching hospitalizations and deaths as trends since we are testing far more people than even 4 weeks ago, including many w/o symptoms.

I agree with the large venues being a problem - Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a case in point.

(Karen) #12

Colorado has a strong connection to California, the northwest, and Texas. Texas also has a strong migration connection to California. Of the people who migrate from California apx. 25% of them come to Colorado, 45% of them go to Texas. Those are rough numbers from my memory. Apx. 28000 people moved to Colorado in 2019 from California. Californians now live here, work here, and have family here. There’s a lot of traveling back-and-forth between California and Colorado.

I wonder if travel between these areas early on might have increased the number of infections in Colorado. Additionally Colorado is everyone’s ski vacation spot, from around the United States and the world. Colorado had a leg up, if you will, early on with regard to infection cases.

Very weird.

(Ellenor Malik (spare me thy resistant starch spiel)) #13

Soil selenium? I read it somewhere on tinternets

(Peter) #14

The Georgia example would be a LOT more convincing if they hadn’t decided that because keeping their results graph in date order - like every other graph ever produced with dates on the X axis - produced a random shape that didn’t fit their spin, so they just shuffled their days around so it was declining. Extraordinary that they thought they could get away with it, although it clearly worked for a while.

The graph also has the color bars in different orders each day, also contrary to good graphing practice.

(As the linked article also shows, they have done this sort of thing plenty of times before, making them utterly untrustworthy.)


It would be funny if it weren’t so deadly serious.

(Bob M) #16

You need someone who has Covid. NYC and CT, where I live, had many people who had it. You also need enclosed spaces (for the most part), with people talking or at least breathing relatively heavily or being close together. The person we know who went on a ventilator got it by going to a funeral in NYC before the shutdown.

I doubt anything is being shared between the states. That’s why we have the CDC and NIH. Since those are apparently being ignored, who can coordinate this knowledge transfer? Apparently, it’s up to the states. Any why would one state share anything with another state? They aren’t really set up to do this. If you’re on the front lines in NYC, you don’t go home thinking, “I should share this with Idaho”. And the people in Idaho think it’s an NYC thing that will never happen to them. We know of people in “upstate” NY. Everyone there thinks it’s a “downstate” problem. (Though one of the people we know to have died and another put in the hospital was in “upstate” NY.)

Saw a study from South Korea about exercise. The people who did yoga and pilates did not get it. The people who did dance did. Many of them.


  • Travel (wealthy travel more than non-wealthy, for instance; some places, like rural PA where I used to live, the people don’t travel well)
  • Population density (hard to transfer to where no one lives,except for meat packing plants, which are getting devastated)
  • Outside activities versus inside (Florida likely better here than where it’s cold; we in CT just barely got hot enough to go outside for any length of time)
  • Sun exposure/heat exposure (Sun = vitamin D, which all evidence appears to be that higher D is better; nothing can live on surfaces that can easily hit 100+ degrees)
  • Places where people are packed in versus not (Rush hour trains way worse than never taking these)
  • Activities in enclosed spaces where there is a lot of intense breathing (choir, a loud talker, close proximity, air handlers that blow across someone who has it)

Any of these add up to higher or lower viral load.

I think summer will help. The fall will be a different story.

And what’s disconcerting is that the numbers of people getting it, even in locations where it’s prevalent, is small. Way smaller than what’s necessary for “herd immunity”. Even if you can get to 25% of the population, this is not nearly enough. Estimates are as high as 85% would have to get it. Though I have also seen people saying that many corona viruses peter out at about 25%. I’m not sure that’s true, though.

So, I think you’ll see less transferal in the summer, but more in the fall again. And since we’re doing no tracking or isolation or anything similar, there’s really nothing to stop it.

(Bob M) #17

This is an interesting preprint:

R0 is the number of people who get infected by a single person. SSE= super-spreading event.

If this paper is correct, this is probably why testing, isolating, and tracing appear to work well. All the things we in the USA aren’t doing.

The SSEs they describe are also interesting. A bartender infecting a lot of people. A lawyer at a party (in NY, although a similar thing happened in my state of CT), infecting 50 or so people. And of course meat packing plants.

(Mame) #18

Cause of Death (COD) is assigned differently in different states. There are suppose to be national guidelines but frequently a medical examiner or coroner is the judge in their own courtroom and they assign COD as they think best or how they are pressured to do so…

The statistic to look at is total deaths compared to past years. Not all states have public death data.
If there were significantly more deaths (two or three times more) in March-April 2020 when compared to the same area for 2019, 2018, 2017 a reasonable assumption is that covid19 is driving the increase in one way or another. Could be the infection itself, could be lack of follow up for other conditions.

Overall mortality rates are binary as you are either dead or alive.
A given population should not seen 2 times the deaths for a given time period compared to years previously. Mortality rates do not change that rapidly without reason… like a pandemic.

(Jane) #19

Good point about comparing deaths from year-to-year although I think we have to wait until the virus has flamed itself out to a minimal level to do a final analysis.

(Jane) #20

Daily US deaths for last year was approx 7000/day. We are running 678/day due to COVID and it is declining.