The graphs and data presented below use the raw summary data as provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) every day at 4 PM. The data is subject to revision, but I haven’t taken the time to dive into it and make corrections. And to their credit, neither has the CDPHE. They’re a little busy with other things, like keeping us all healthy. The model I use is a simple doubling model that doesn’t (yet) account for social distancing effect that are likely already having an impact on the number of cases. As such it will overestimate the number of cases and deaths. So consider any projections based on my model as the worst possible case that could happen given the data from 3/13 when I started tracking COVID-19 in Colorado through today. And as always, I’m not an epidemiologist. If anything an actual public health expert says (No, that does not include Fox News, OANN, or the President of the United States, or anyone docsplaining) contradicts what I say below, listen to them first.
With that out of the way, let’s look at what’s happened in the last week.
Total cases of COVID-19 continue to increase.
Thus far the total COVID-19 cases is not significantly different from a basic exponential growth model, even now. There might be a little bit of a bend in the curve of daily increase in number of COVID-19 cases in the last week or so, but the data is just too noisy to say for sure. If we were testing enough people we might know better, but we just don’t right now.
Total deaths also continue to increase too.
Unfortunately, the total number of deaths continue to grow as per a standard exponential growth model, and the daily increase in the number of deaths shows no sign of slowing down. The data is again quite noisy and given deaths lag cases by around 2 weeks, this is unfortunately expected.
Unfortunately, the death rate (actual deaths divided by the number of positive cases) continues to climb and is now at 4%. Reality is less than this but we need to keep doing what we’re doing or even start socially punishing or issuing fines to those who refuse to distance so that we reduce this as quickly as possible. We probably should have been doing this since the statewide stay-at-home order was put in place, but today is always the second best day to start.
There are some good signs in the data, though.
- The number of tests is back up to about 2000 per day. That’s still way too low, but it’s at least moving in the right direction again.
- The percentage of positive tests (total positives divided by total cases) has held steady at about 19.8% for the last 4 days after having risen consistently since mid-March. If we’re successfully flattening the curve this could be an indicator.
- The projected date that Colorado would run out of hospital beds has slid out 12 days since I started. The first estimate assumed no social distancing, so I knew that it would slide out, but seeing it happen is hopeful. It’s not yet sliding out on a day-for-day basis, however, so we’re presently generating more cases than the hospitals may be able to handle. Time will tell.
- My projected date that Colorado would run out of ICU beds has slid out 7 days. We need to get this one to a day-for-day slip as soon as possible as exceeding the number of available ICU beds will be more likely to drive up mortality than exceeding the number of hospital beds.
All in all, we’re doing OK here in Colorado. But we need to keep it up.
Keep staying at home when you can. Wash your hands. Wear masks. And stay healthy out there.