Confirmed Cases Pandemic

No, It’s not the Testing

I’ve been quiet for the past month. In part because I was busy, and in part because I was tired of reporting on states manipulating their case counts by suppressing testing.

In the last few weeks, judging from the national news, there’s been a spike in cases nationally despite this gamesmanship.  Frankly, it was kind of inevitable, though I wasn’t sure it would be obvious prior to the election.

On Sunday, the White House Chief of Staff went on CNN and tried to perpetuate the lie that our increase in cases is driven by our testing numbers.

 It’s an easily knowable number, so this morning I spent a couple of hours calculating it.

All calculations are based on the Covid Tracking Project’s data.  For this purpose I compared the latest 2-week period (10/24 to 10/10) to the prior 2-week period (10/09 to 09/25).  My original scope for this analysis was the 50 states plus DC.  However, there were some unusual adjustments that distorted the results for Hawaii and Missouri during this period, so I eliminated them.

Here’s what happened:  Latest 2 weeks v Prior 2 weeks for 48 states + DC (excluding HI and MO)….

  • Total Tests:  12.9 million v 11.9
  • Positive tests (new cases): 817,309 v 597,073 
  • Positivity (positive tests/(total tests-pending)): 6.3% v 5.0%

Period over period increase:  220,236
Increase due to Positivity increase: 165,770
Increase due to Testing increase: 54,466

Overall there are 17 states with a positivity rate >10%.  Of these, only one state (Wisconsin) showed a decrease in positivity between the two periods. The state with the highest positivity in the current period is ND, at an astonishing 41.9%.

20 states experienced positivity between 5.0% and 10%.  Only two (DE & OR) experienced a decrease between the two periods.

The Twitter thread I referenced above has 5 clips from the Meadows interview.  It’s clear that the administration has completely surrendered any pretense of trying to control the pandemic, short of a vaccine.