Monday, December 07, 2020

A Few CoVid Snippets

The update from the NH Veterans Home is that they are up to 20 deaths.  Our 102-year-old friend is still alive, but failing. It's tough for the staff, it's tough for the families, and it's tough for the vets who live there, getting moved from place to place and seeing their friends die.

Bsking sends me interesting stuff from Massachusetts. After an initial brutal surge of cases and deaths at the beginning of the pandemic, the state has not had any excess deaths since June 6. You can look at the Worldometer graphs illustrating the C19 deaths. Or here are the numbers over the last few years from CDC. The clarity isn't great, but the spike on the right is February through June. If you just look at deaths per million overall, Massachusetts is one of the highest, but that is largely the early surge. My reading, for what it's worth, is that the huge number of cases came from lots of international contact and lots of contact with New York, which has even more international contact. Since then, they have been very cautious and they have lots of medical personnel and very good hospitals.  They know what they are doing, and even with the recent spike in number of cases they have had only a slight rise in deaths.

Instapundit is increasingly selective in its reporting.  If you go over it's all "Gee, we hate masks, and they probably don't do much," and "Those Democratic politicians are such hypocrites about not following their own rules," and the continued complaint that the experts haven't covered themselves in glory and have squandered the public trust. Lots of experts said lots of things in February and March, and Reynolds's crew has chosen to focus on the ones who got things wrong and since then, quite intentionally undermined the public trust in the whole group.  So where are the deaths coming from, then, now that we are almost up to almost 300,000? There is conveniently very little discussion what should be done, only what shouldn't.  Big help.

I like to take different looks on data, so I invite you over to the Worldometers breakdown by state.  Click on the "Deaths per million" column and scroll to the bottom. Vermont (130) and Maine(169), very very low. That's northern New England (we'll get to NH in a moment). The Canadian Maritimes right across the border are similarly low.  Quebec is not. Next are Hawaii(185) and Alaska(198), which have such low contact with the outside you'd think it would be even better - but still very low. The numbers jump up fast from there to Oregon (248), Utah (296), and Washington (389). Pacific Northwest and Mountain West.  Mountain West was very low all along and has just started to spike. New Hampshire at 416, and when we remember that SE NH is the farther suburbs of Boston, that's pretty low.  The rest of the state is not quite as low as VT and ME, but more in line with that. Then another jump to two from Appalachia, KY and WV.  Note that Virginia is not much farther up the list despite having half the suburbs of DC up top and North Carolina just a bit further up despite its urban Golden Triangle, so being up in the mountains seems to a considerable advantage. Wyoming, Idaho, and Colorado are in there, more Mountain West states. Is level of interaction going to turn out to be the dominant factor? You can't catch it if you don't see anyone I suppose.   

California?  I don't know.  The top half might be like the Pacific Northwest, but huge Los Angeles has got to dominate the numbers, wouldn't you think? Oklahoma is an outlier, doing better than all the states that border it.  So that's the best 15.  Northern New England, the separated states, the Pacific Northwest, Appalachia, and the Mountain West.  Moving to the top of the chart, it is largely the big urban centers of the Northeast, but it is worth noting that they hit the top of the chart with lots of deaths early on but have leveled out.  the rest of the country has been catching up with them. Louisiana and Mississippi are in there - that seems related, and the two Dakotas went from near the bottom to near the top over the past two months. Does that mean the Midwest or Mountain West are going to be hit hardest next?  If you think yes, what's your theory about that?


Texan99 said...

I see only the weakest sort of evidence that mandatory, state-driven policies have any effect. A good sign that we barely grasp the causation mechanisms at work is our inability to make accurate predictions about how a problem is going to play out. Without clear predictions and principled analysis of which guesses prove right or wrong, we revert to something not far removed from superstition and panicky rumors. Underlying all this is a conviction that there just MUST be some approach that will prevent the virus from spreading, a notion for which we have practically no evidence. We just hate having to entertain the possibility, and so grasp at straws.

If I were emperor, I'd concentrate on treatment, including nimble strategies for ramping up acute care in hot spots, then put out the best information available and let the citizens decide for themselves what protective measures to take. The elderly and most vulnerable fortunately are mostly also the ones who can most readily isolate themselves--not counting the unfortunates who are locked up in institutions over which they have almost no control.

PenGun said...

"I see only the weakest sort of evidence that mandatory, state-driven policies have any effect."

Today, and its still early:

America 156,000 new cases and 2100 deaths.
China 15 new cases and no deaths.

Very strong evidence in fact.