#covid19 in #southcentralpa analysis as of: 12:30pm Mon 3-Aug-2020
As a public service to the local 10-county region, these charts are updated daily.

New Daily Infections:

Current Commentary:

3-Aug: All charts refreshed today, one new analysis. The good news is that the cumulative mortality rate is leveling off. It appears that our region is "flattening the death curve."

I'm posting a new analysis today that looks at the daily percentage positive rate for testing. It's a bit of a complex chart, so let me unpack it a bit. Here's the chart:

The bold lines represent the percentage positive rate day by day (left Y-Axis). The thin dashed lines show the volume of testing (right Y-Axis). Both sets of lines have associated linear trend lines. The equations for the trendlines are shown color coordinated. The two equations on the right are for the volume of testing and on the left are for the percentage of positives. As you can see, the state overall is increasing testing at the rate of about 61 more each day while our region is decreasing testing at the rate of 1.8 tests per day. However, in terms of percentage positivity, the region is trending DOWN at a very minimal rate, while the state as a whole is trending UP at a very minimal rate. This data is from 11-June to present. In a perfect world, I'd like to see these curves broken out by Nursing Home and General Public populations, but I don't have access to testing data in the nursing homes. Nor do I even know if the data for this chart includes, or excludes nursing homes (the State DoH doesn't qualify it either way). Finally, I've heard from some laboratory professionals that suggest the "Confirmed Positive" data includes antibody results. This is concerning since antibody tests show PAST, not current, infections to representing them as current positives is misleading. If so, this chart CANNOT be said to accurately represent ACTIVE percentage positivity in testing.

27-Jul: All charts refreshed today. Good news! The fatalities in the Nursing Home population is flattening. See this chart. And this chart:

shows that the two populations are "decoupling" as the nursing home population new case rate is finally trending downward in a consistent pattern. However, the new case rate in the general public is trending the other way. And this chart further amplifies the differences in mortality rate between nursing homes and the general public. Again, suggesting that these two populations are distinctly different.

20-Jul: All charts refreshed today. According to the State DoH, the 10-county region has not suffered any new fatalities in the last four days. According to the State DoH, in those same four days, there have been 7 new fatalities in our Long Term Care Facilities. Just reporting the facts.

14-Jul: All charts refreshed today. Still trying to make sense of the data regarding Nursing Homes vs General Population. Today, an expanded analysis and a new analysis. The following chart is an expansion of the chart from 6-July that showed new daily cases just for nursing homes. Today, a similar chart (immediately below) shows the new daily cases for the general public.
The new analysis is looking at fatalities for each of the two populations. As this chart clearly shows, the data is "sporadic" and shows frequent "reclassifications" from one population to the other. Consequently, it is hard to have much confidence in the data and, worse still, no discernable pattern. This means that it is hard to know, empirically, if any of the current policies are helping or hindering the damage caused by Covid-19.

06-Jul: Here is a two-week update with what data the State DoH has made available; a lot of gaps in the data. A few notes: The daily new cases in our region is jagged with a slight uptick. Also, again I draw your attention to the infection/fatality rate charts by county and you will note that the non-nursing home rate, even in the green phase, has remained a fraction of a percent... compared to percentages in the teens or twenties for the nursing homes. A dramatic difference. Meanwhile, you will note on the deaths per 100k charts, there is a clear flattening that has started - about a month after the edict went out to focus on the nursing homes. Finally, the chart that immediately follows shows daily new infections in the nursing homes; I think it speaks for itself.

23-Jun: Well, here we are again. Two weeks ago I gave up because the numbers coming out of DoH were SO erratic that they could not be considered credible. THEN, for several days there were no numbers. THEN, they were reporting numbers, but changed all kinds of delivery method and formatting. So, I grit my teeth and worked through the impediments to report for a few days. THEN, they ceased reporting numbers on weekends. NOW, they say they will only report nursing home numbers once a week on Tuesdays. Bottom line: they have manipulated the data flow so much over the life of this exercise, but in particular the last two weeks or so and now the flow is virtually dried up. Why is this clear pattern of poor data collection and decision-making plus obstructing public transparency/scrutiny being ignored by the press and the legislature? Cannot fathom an answer and I am beyond flummoxed by it all. I'm NOT a quitter, but my hands are tied. Nothing more I can do without the data.

22-Jun: State DoH posted data today so I have new charts for you. They have also now posted that they will only be updating the data Mon-Fri from now on.

21-Jun: The State DoH has not posted data yesterday (Sat 20-Jun) or today (Sun 21-Jun) - so I'm not ignoring this - I just have no data to illuminate. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day for transparency.

18-Jun: Friends, many of you refer to what I'm doing here as "your data, Joe" - please - I implore you with love and civility - this is not my data. It is my analysis, yes, or perhaps even "illuminated insight," on the State DoH data, but it is not my data; that dubious distinction belongs with the State DoH. That needs to be made clear. That said, analysis/charts refreshed again today.

16-Jun: Having continued to track whatever numbers are made available - and continuing to think about this problem. I offer the following new "illuminated insight":

Both thumbnails are hyperlinks to the larger full-size images. PLEASE examine both. NOTES: Gaps in the charts are a consequence of the State DoH not reporting Nursing Home numbers on those dates. Also, the clear "aberrations" in the charts are clear indications of a lack of veracity in the data reported on those dates. Linear trend lines are ignoring the low-veracity data points.

The charts (and accompanying data table) show the Deaths per 100,000. The first chart shows what the numbers look like if you treat the two populations as if they are one. The other two chart break out the populations and thus you can see how dramatically different are those populations: Nursing Homes vs. General Population. Please pay close attention to the y-axis of each chart. You will see that the Nursing Home y-axis is over 400 times larger than that of the General Population, and the slope is still higher. In other words, you are more than 400 times more likely to die of Covid-19 if you reside in a nursing home, than you are if you live in the general population. In fact, it so eclipses the general population numbers that by NOT BREAKING THEM OUT, the general population is lead to believe that Covid-19 is much more deadly to THEM than it actually is and far LESS deadly to those in Nursing Homes than it actually is. Now, I hasten to add, and with emphasis, that I do not mean to say that Covid-19 is not deadly, or isn't more deadly than influenza or that the general population should cease and desist from all sensible PPE when out of their homes - but I AM saying that we should tell them the truth about their risks. Stop conflating the numbers and causing undue anxiety for no legitimate reason. The FACTS do not support it. According to the CDC: the flu is 2 per 100,000 per season. So, with benefit of lockdowns - Covid-19 is still at least 4 times more deadly than the flu. Also for comparison, the CDC shows the Cardio Vascular Disease kills at the rate of 176.1 per 100k per year.

Finally, again, employing some critical thinking here - I'd like to draw your attention to a very small signal in the Nursing Home chart. At the end of the chart, you will notice what could be a flattening trend in the death rate in those homes. This signal comes about 4 weeks after the Sec of Health decided to make nursing homes a priority and ramped up both testing and care. Is it a coincidence that 4 weeks later the death rate may be slowing? Hindsight is 20/20, true, so it would be easy to say now that the nursing homes should have been a priority sooner. On the other hand, if someone had actually been thinking about the data sooner, they would have seen the signals much earlier that it was better for everyone concerned (both demographic populations) to focus on the nursing homes rather than the general public. A point I personally made back on 4-May when I first introduced my nursing home vs general population analysis. I realize that statement may sound self-serving, but it isn't meant to. It IS meant to say that there were signals in the data back in mid April, had anyone bothered to look and THINK about it. How many needless deaths could have been avoided? How much needless economic hardship could have been avoided?

The Flatten-The-Curve Spaghetti Chart:

Other Charts/Tables:

County Infections DataInfection/Fatality Percentages
for Two Distinct Populations:
Road to Reopening
Nursing Home Data Tables

Selected Historical Commentary:

8-June: "This too shall pass" - and so it shall. In mid March I began tracking Covid-19 data and in late March I began posting my findings here, every day, for several reasons:

1) While the press was reporting raw numbers day to day (still do), they were not putting those numbers into context with anything as easy as a line chart that showed each day so you, the public, could easily and visually see if the situation was good, bad or indifferent. I am still mystified by this absense, which persists today. Furthermore, by only reporting the cumulative numbers day to day, without noting the daily increases so you can try to remember yesterday or the day before and mentally decide if the numbers are getting better or worse, this "constant climbing" of the totals fans fears. Fears borne not of reality - but absence of facts in context.

2) To encourage thoughtful discussion by the public (you) but also, in the futile attempt to engage a wider audience including press and policy makers. That has failed to happen. Numerous attempts by a number of you (and some by me too) to encourage Legislators, the Governor's office and the Sec for Health to examine these findings have failed to garner a conversation. In short, "crickets" is all I have heard from Capitol Hill. And for the record, from both political parties. This is not a time for partisanship.

3) This has also been an exercise in showing the power of "illuminated insight" - which is to say - in going deeper. It doesn't take a rocket (or data) scientist to go deeper on the data; just a desire and a little thought. Charts have power. They illuminate things.

Being frustrated by yet another day of "bizarre numbers" coming out of the DoH, I've decided that this is no longer worth the effort. The data is not credible and reporting of it is spotty and unreliable. The "viewership" is equally spotty. And policy has been completely unaffected by any insights shared herein over the last 73 days of sharing. So, this is, sadly, my last update to this page. However, the page will remain intact as a reference.

If you have any comments, criticisms, questions, ideas, anything that you'd like to share relative to this effort - please don't hesitate to email me directly (if you have my address) or click here to send me a private message via web-form. For those few of you who have been consistent and ardent supporters of this effort - I thank you.

Stay safe everyone! And remember, critical thinking is ALWAYS your friend. Go deeper!

2-Jun, 11:43pm: I'm taking the unprecendented step tonight of updating my post from earlier today because the State DOH released the LCTF (Long Term Care Facility) numbers late in the day. And the numbers (notice I didn't say "data") are simply not logical or credible. I am thus, hereby, and publicly, challenging the Veracity of the numbers.

Here is my rationale and I invite you to CAREFULLY review several "illuminations" herein. Please read and THINK carefully about these *facts* which are in contradiction.

  • According to TODAY's release of TOTAL DEATHS for Cumberland County to date: 52. According to TODAY's release of TOTAL DEATHS in just LCTF in Cumberland County: 82. How can Cumberland County have 82 deaths in its nursing homes but only 52 deaths in all of Cumberland County?
  • There is a similar "errata" for Dauphin County reporting 77 total deaths for the county, but 95 in nursing homes alone. This is not credible.
  • Again in Adams county, 11 are reported in nursing homes, and 8 county wide. One or the other of these numbers is false because they cannot both be true.
  • On 26-May, the total infections reported for nursing homes in the 10-county region was 2249, up from 1839 on 23-May, but back DOWN to 1869 on today, 2-Jun.
  • If you examine the "errata in the data" table, you will note that the number of general public fatalities in Lancaster county was 111 on 26-May, and 25 on 2-Jun. Sorry, that is not credible - if 86 people rose from the dead - it would be news-worthy for sure. What is more credible, is that the numbers are not valid. NOTE: The general public infections and fatalities are simple subtractions. I take the total infections/fatalities as reported by the State DOH and I subtract from that number - the number of infections/fatalities reported by the State for Nursing Homes. Not rocket science, Elon Musk and NASA are not required. ANYONE in government should be able to do simple subtraction and reach the same result.
  • If you examine the "two populations" charts, you will note that for the 10-county region, the nursing home fatality rate was hovering in the 13-17% range for weeks, then in the span of 26-May to 2-Jun, shot up to 29%. This is a consequence of reported deaths going from 244, to 281 to 535 over the same time period, while the number of infections dropped precipitously.
  • If you examine the "road to reopening" charts you will note that, in Dauphin County, the blue bar for new cases in nursing homes was following a mostly believable pattern (hovering between 130-160 per day) then, astonishingly, on 2-Jun dropped to 2, but the total for the county rose sharply from 286 on 26-May to 370 on 2-Jun. This suggests that the nursing homes miraculously stopped getting new infections, while the general public more than doubled the daily rate in a week. This is more than not credible, it is suspicious.
  • Same charts: study Lancaster county to see a similar spike of blue (more than double two days prior) then a week later, down 80%, but the total for the county was relatively steady, suggesting that, again astonishingly, covid-19 is selectively attacking nursing homes or not as it wishes. These wild fluctuations are not credible.

If you examine the "Nursing Home Tables" below, you can see the numbers (all reported by the State DOH) as they existed on the dates shown. There are calculated numbers on those tables, but they are simple percentages or subtractions that anyone is free to verify. Each date shows wildly different "conclusions" based on the data. If the Five Vs of Data (Volume, Velocity, Value, Variety and Veracity) are inadequate, then so are the decisions you are making based on them.

This kind of wild fluctuation in the numbers suggests a problem in reporting. I'm saying plainly, these numbers are not credible as DATA. I am open to being wrong about my conclusions, if someone can offer a rational explanation for how a county can have more deaths in nursing homes alone - than they have in the entire county. There is only one logical explanation: the data collection and reporting is not consistent, reliable or "validated". If policy decisions are being made predicated on "unreliable data" then those policies should be reconsidered.

NOTE: For a deeper examination of "data-driven" see here as PDF or here on Linkedin where you can comment on it if you choose to.

Click here to go to the official data source

Courtesy of one concerned citizen: www.JoeChiarella.com