Covid-19 Tracking in Kentucky: Second Highest Weekly Total of New Cases Ever.

Turnaround not yet in sight. Cases exploding in smaller counties.

New Cases.
Last week’s (Sunday to Saturday, Aug 29) total number of new cases of Covid-19 was 4511, higher than either of the previous two weeks. The previous highest week (ending July 25 ) had a total of 4580 cases but probably included some as-yet unreported positive tests of the prior week. There is so much variation in the reported day-to-day numbers that it has been difficult to generate reliable predictive trends, but even following the abrupt surge of new cases that began in early July, the trend for both 7- and 14-day rolling averages can be perceived as worsening. The number of new cases is most certainly not going down. At our current rate of growth, the number of total cases is doubling every 34 days. Waiting in place for a better day will not serve us well! You can explore the interactive versions of the figures below and more at KHPI’s Tableau Public website.

Continue reading “Covid-19 Tracking in Kentucky: Second Highest Weekly Total of New Cases Ever.”

End-of-week Covid-19 Update: Waiting for the Turnaround.

Last week was not a good one in the Coronavirus department. For some of the smaller or more rural counties, the week was frankly terrible. Because of the highly variable day-to-day numbers of new cases reported, it is usually dicey to make predictions about what tomorrow will be like.  Even the use of 7-day averages does not “smooth out the curve” as much as one might like. Some analysists are shifting to 14-day averages for this reason.  Looking at weekly totals is one easily understandable  version of a 7-day average. It provides a rational and understandable way to minimize the distortions of using a 5- or 6-day work week to describe a 7-day virus. KHPI has been using a Sunday to Saturday weekly interval to aggregate data.  Last Saturday, August 22, closed out the most recent full week.  The results are displayed below.  (The full panel of fully updated interactive data visualizations remain available on the KHPI Tableau Public website.)

The following graphic displays the daily counts of new cases (less duplicates and the like) current through August 22d. New cases remain high, with both high and low days dwarfing the counts of the first 3 months of our epidemic.

Continue reading “End-of-week Covid-19 Update: Waiting for the Turnaround.”

Fall Sports and Race Schedules Present an Unposted Crossroads in the Season of Covid-19.

Plague:” A disastrous evil or affliction.”

New cases soaring.
It is clear that Kentucky’s allotment of the Covid-19 pandemic is not under control. In Jefferson County, our largest, it is currently described as a “wildfire still burning” by a senior county public health officer and where the mayor has extended his order declaring a state of emergency through September 30.  New cases are exploding in smaller and more rural counties where previous total cases had been sparse.  At 608 cases per day, the current 7-Day average of new cases statewide continues to gyrate widely depending on day of the week but is hovering at three times what it was through May and June.  Even if this represents a “plateau” in the number of daily new cases, at the current rate of expansion we remain on-track to double the aggregate number of total cases every month. The 4352 new state-wide cases last week fell short by only a little the highest weekly total ever.  

Deaths following.
The 12 deaths reported yesterday represent the highest daily reported count since May 30th. The 7-Day average number of deaths reported daily at 6.7 is currently the highest since June 5th. This number is expected to rise as deaths catch up with cases. In Kentucky, currently 2.1% of all reported cases have died. The true number is certainly higher than this due to unrecognized Covid-19 cases and the collateral damage resulting from unmet medical needs in disrupted medical and social systems. Covid-19 patients currently reported as being in the Hospital or ICU– even if not overwhelming for any given hospital–  remain higher than at any time since the epidemic began.  

Continue reading “Fall Sports and Race Schedules Present an Unposted Crossroads in the Season of Covid-19.”

Historical Covid-19 Data for Kentucky Counties Does Not Suggest a Remission in New Cases.

New cases exploding in smaller and rural counties along with much of the rest of the Midwest.

Readers of this series of Covid-19 articles will have noticed my bewailing of an easily accessible database of case and death numbers at the county level since the beginning of our share of the 2020 pandemic. Frankfort recent made available copies of its individual daily reports since June that include county-specific counts, but these cannot easily be joined together for analysis. As a matter of political policy, the CDC has been standing on the sidelines shifting many of its national responsibilities to the states.

The New York Times filed a freedom of information request to the CDC to get such information, but along with other private entities, has been collecting county-specific case counts the hard way directly from the states. I was able to download the publicly available Times historical database, extracted the numbers for Kentucky, and prepared interactive data visualizations and tables that allow anyone to look specifically at the historical Covid-19 experiences of individual Kentucky counties and the state as a whole. This new panel of visualizations is available here. I make the data supporting these figures available to anyone as an Excel file of some 15,895 rows of data for your own additional analysis.

The following figure shows a typical bar chart of the epidemiolocal curve for Kentucky as a whole. (Click to enlarge these.) The aggregate number of cases in the Times database of 38,546 is more than the 36,945 reported as Total Cases by Frankfort on the evening of August 12. I cannot at this time identify definitively the reason(s) for this discrepancy. They likely result from things like changing CDC requirements for what is required to be reported, different reporting daily time cut-offs, the addition of different definitions of “cases”, different kinds of tests allowed, the inclusion of “probable” cases, multiple tests per unique individual human being, and the like. The national and state data collection and testing structures have been changing if not flawed since the beginning. Nonetheless, the Times data, like that of Johns Hopkins, The Atlantic, or the Covid Tracking Project which emphasize different things are widely used as the best that we have available. I do not see a diminution in the rate of growth of new cases in this chart of Kentucky’s experience as a state.

Continue reading “Historical Covid-19 Data for Kentucky Counties Does Not Suggest a Remission in New Cases.”