WUHAN VIRUS DAILY UPDATE FOR MARCH 26
Yesterday I published a projection that failed to hit today - and that's Good News (TM)! We expected to hit 100,000 total incidents in USA but we only got 99,447. Our rate of growth for new incidents has fallen to 23.18% from a high of 51.64% on Mar 19 - that's a total drop of 28%! Understand that this reduced rate of growth of incidents is occurring in spite of our being able to process more tests than ever before. Yesterday we got back results on 107,329 new tests whereas on Mar 19 we had only processed about 30,000 new tests that day. I'm calling it today - we're definitely in a trend and, nationally, we peaked on March 19th in terms of the active hotspots. Different regions will have their own peak times depending on when the virus was introduced there. That's TBD.
Mortality rates basically held the same increasing 0.44% (not statistically significant) to 1,530 with the rate of growth at 31.56% from 31.12% but, again, we anticipated this might go even higher. We should see this number stay about the same for a few days then start to drop at a rate similar or better than the rate of incidents.
Deaths continue to be nearly exclusively occurring in our hotspot regions. New York alone accounts for over 1/3rd of all deaths followed by Washington state, Louisiana, New Jersey, Michigan, California, and Georgia. Louisiana seems to be really growing due to the spread from Mardis Gras this year. Many states will have received their initial infections from people returning from Mardis Gras and Spring Break in Florida. As we start plotting state by state infection curves this will likely bear out as time coincidences.
What's really needed is massive growth in testing. Andrew Koenig pointed out to me last night that Iceland has been doing massive testing and that half of those people testing positive have no symptoms at all. That would indicate several things, a) there are a LOT more positive cases than are indicated in our data, likely a significant multiple, b) the virus is not seriously dangerous to most people who will get it, c) the overall mortality rate will be radically adjusted downwards once we get the complete data picture - typically 6-12 months after the pandemic is over (note that this is exactly what happened with H1N1).
Understand - with all that positive news, we're still dealing with large absolute numbers and they will continue to grow. However, we're no longer on the defensive, infrastructure and capacity are getting put in place, some new treatments are actively being tried in key areas - we are on the attack. Once widespread testing comes online and we don't have to restrict tests to those showing symptoms already we'll be able to get the economy restarted. Meanwhile, hold the line!