#covid19 in #southcentralpa
As a public service to the local 10-county region.
This page is updated regularly (usually around Noon-1pm, sometimes later depending on when the State releases the data and my calendar).

Current commentary, then charts, then historical commentary and other charts.
The daily numbers.

Thu 31-Dec: All charts and tables updated today. I've been giving this a lot of thought and, I think, it is time to retire from this daily duty. First, I think that Covid-19 is now just a part of our lives, like the Flu is (though I'm not saying it is like the Flu), and so it's going to be around for many years and it doesn't make sense for me to continue to do this forever. Second, while I think this offered some 'illuminated insights' in the early days, because of the immediate prior statement, I think public policy has settled into "management mode" rather than "scramble mode" - so there are less insights to offer them. Finally, yes, 2021 is a new year and perhaps it is time to start thinking about something else. So, unless there is a significant shift in Covid-19 behavior (a variant/mutation that is important), this page will cease to have daily updates as of 1-1-21. My thanks to everyone who paid attention, commented, asked questions and offered support over these last nine months. It was a "labor of love" to my fellow citizens and I hope it was useful to you all.

Figure 1

Figure 2

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Figures 4 & 5

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Figure 9

Figure 10
Past Commentary and Charts:

Wed 30-Dec: All charts and tables updated today. No other commentary. MW6!

Mon 28-Dec: All charts updated today. A few highlights. First, the new case counts are finally dropping in a way that suggests we're past the peak. However, deaths always lag new cases by 2-4 weeks. So, we still have some fatalities ahead of us. Those in the nursing homes seem to be leveling off a bit, but the general public continues to rise strongly. Let's keep the positive progress on the new cases so we can help out the frontline health professionals.

Wed 23-Dec: All charts/updated today. Some slight encouraging signals in the data relative to daily new case counts. However, in every respect relative to fatalities, the news is grim. For example, in just the last two days: 90 have been lost. Even if HALF of those are mis-attributions, it's still 45 lost. And I personally doubt that half are mis-attributions. Do your part: MW6 (Mask, Wash, 6ft). Signing off until Monday and I'll bring all the charts up to date then.

Fri 18-Dec: All charts/tables updated today. No other commentary. A personal note: I'm taking some much needed time off through the holidays and will update this page as I'm able, but will not be doing so daily again until after the first of the new year.

Thu 17-Dec: I'll pick on only one chart today: figure 5. [Edited] Just the facts, no spin, no editorial. The 14-day moving average for deaths in the general public (GP) vs the long-term-care-facilities (LTCF) have now reached 18 and 14/day respectively. So, the sum 14-day moving avg of fatalities is now 32. However, the last three days for our region, the death rate has been between 45-50, so this average is, and will continue, rising.

Wed 16-Dec: All charts refreshed today. One subtle change to the daily new cases chart for our region (Fig 2): I've started coding the new case counts in orange to illuminate what happens during the current "restrictions" put in place by the Governors office. Let us hope they help. Let us track the numbers over the next few weeks to see if the restrictions mattered... Just good science: hypothesis, test, measure, analyze, conclude.

Mon 14-Dec: All charts refreshed today. Please note, above, the addition of a link to the actual numbers from (June to present) and computed values... for those that want to see the actual data.

Sat 12-Dec: LONG delay in posting today is because the State DoH posted incorrect deaths today as an Excel file (usually a PDF). So, I wrote to them to inform them of the error. Their solution was to repost the same incorrect data as a PDF. So, I had a considerable manual effort to reconstruct the fatalities. But, enough grousing about that. ;-) All charts updated today. Sorry for the delay.

Fri 11-Dec: As usual, all charts updated today. I can offer no cunning insights on the data today. The pattern is clear. We've lost 198 neighbors, friends and family in the last 7 days. The 14-day moving average for new cases is now 1507. I will soften that number just a bit by saying that 1 in 6 new cases judged positive are "probables" (most likely rapid antigen tests - which are known to be unreliable). So, the real number of positives is probably not 1507. It could be lower because of false-positives in the antigen testing. Or it could be higher because of false-negatives in the antigen testing. So, we'll accept that yesterday's reported 1666 new positives is an approximation. However, of the 1666 total new cases yesterday, 357 of those were "probables" which, even if 100% of those tests were false positives (highly unlikely), it means that 1309 of the positives were from the more reliable PCR tests. 1309, IMHO, is still too high. What can you do? "MW6" (Mask Up. Wash your hands. Keep a 6 foot distance.)

Thu 10-Dec: Up, up, up the curves we go. 14-Day moving average for fatalities is now about 12/day in the general public and 10/day in the nursing homes. Yesterday we saw another 44, and 185 in the last 7 days. Percent infection rate in the general public stands at 3.23% as of 9-Dec. On 9-Nov, it was 1.52% and on 9-Oct, it was 1.05%. So in the span of two months, the cumulative infection rate, which hovered around 1% for months, has more than tripled. Again, I say, the sky is not falling. However, also again I say, this is way worse than the seasonal flu. (MW6: Mask up, Wash your hands, keep a 6 foot distance.

Mon 7-Dec: Hopefully, the start of a trend: two days down the slope. 14-day moving average for fatalities now running about 9 people in the general public and 9 in the nursing homes, but we did see a decline in daily deaths over the last two days. Let us hope this sustains.

Sat 5-Dec: Summary: Third day in a row at 2000-2500 new cases/day in our region, 96% of which are in the general public. A total of 170 fatalities in the last 7 days. And the last 5 of 8 days, 100% of the fatalities have been in the (uncontained) general public. Again Figures 2, 4, 5 & 6 tell the story. Last point, if you check the "flatten the curve chart (Figure 9)" you will see - it is definitely not flat anymore with Mifflin County in the most trouble and still accelerating, Juniata was accelerating but seems to be leveling off again - but pretty much all the counties are not looking very flat anymore.

Thu 3-Dec: Figures 2, 4 and 5 say everything; no need for amplification.

Wed 2-Dec: Still, up, up, up we go. Fatalities in the general public are streaking (technical term) upward as shown in Figures 5 and 6. Our second day in a row of fatalities over 30 in a single day. Soon, we will all know someone, directly, that is lost to Covid-19. Please be responsible: mask up, wash your hands, limit your distance and interactions.

Tue 1-Dec: Finally! We've had a down-tick on the 14-moving average of new cases in the general public. The last down-tick was 34 days ago. Let's hope it is the first of many down-ticks. However, the fatalities are still climbing. And, if you look very closely at the 14-day moving average chart for fatalities, it appears to me that the two fatalities lines are similar with the general public fatalities leading the nursing home one by about a week. Assuming that the time from onset to fatality is the same for both populations (a big assumption) this pattern would imply that the virus is moving from the general public into the nursing homes instead of the other way around. This is the reverse of what was happening back in Apr-May-June period. If the time from onset to fatality is longer for the general public (not a stretch) then the lag from fatality peaks in the general public to the fatality peak in the nursing home, would suggest more of a two week lag of onsets. This _could_ suggest that the employees carrying the virus into the nursing homes may be contagious longer than we are thinking. STRONG contact tracing is the only way to tease our these answers and I have no access to that data.

Mon 30-Nov: Four days of declines in new case counts brings us back down to 800, this is encouraging... though a LONG WAY from the red phase peak of 219. Sadly, however, the fatalities continue. And 100% of the fatalities in the last three days have been in the general public, not the nursing homes.

Fri 27-Nov: Another day for our region having over 1000 new cases/day. 6 of the last 10 days have been over 1000 new cases. 7 of the last 10 days have seen double-digit fatalities. Just stating the facts. Yes, rapid testing (antigen) is rising as a percentage of testing hovering around 10% now, up from 2% in August and antigen tests are often wrong (in both directions). And, yes, PCR tests can also show false positives. And, yes, there may be as many as 8 untested positives out there for every positive tested. All of these things point to some "uncertainty" in the true number of the contagion at large. And, yes, it is also true that some deaths, particularly of elderly with comorbidities, are being attributed to Covid-19 when the truth is that they died of some other cause _while_ they happened to have Covid-19. This also points out that there is some uncertainty in the fatality rate attributable to Covid-19. However, and this is pure editorial not my usual fact-based "reporting and insights," but, truly, while the facts may live within some small or large margin of error, doesn't it still just make sense to mask up, wash your hands and keep your distance to minimize both risk and impact of the virus? Whatever the risk is, it is north of zero. Please be careful with the lives of those around you, even if you won't be careful with your own. Thank you.

Wed 25-Nov: Top lines: Daily New Cases still up around a 1000 for our 10-county area. Current hotspots are Mifflin and Juniata counties (see the "flatten the curve spaghetti chart"). Fatalities are starting to shift back from the General Public to the Nursing Homes (LTCF). Both are now (14-day trailing average) at around 6.5 fatalities a day - or 13 total. Contrast this to the combined rate of 3 about a month ago.

Tue 24-Nov: Refreshing a data table today that I used to report on regularly a while ago. I think it is telling. You decide.

These are just the facts - but arranged in a way that is informative vs. just thrown at you. (He writes gently.)

Mon 23-Nov: As we approach Thanksgiving, with so very much for which to be grateful, we can add a couple small signals in the data which may or may not offer a sigh of relief (depends on whether or not they persist). A sharp drop in the daily new case counts, is awesome. And the death rate dropped from mid-twenties to below 10. Let's keep it going!

Sat 21-Nov: OK, 2nd day in a row of declining new cases. This is an encouraging signal. Let's try and keep it up. Please note the "spaghetti chart" (which is no longer flat) that Mifflin and Juniata counties are climbing appreciably faster than the other eight counties. However, fourth day in a row of 20+ deaths in the region (27, 25, 27, 20). No Nursing Home vs Gen Public breakout today because the State DoH did not publish Nursing Home data.

Fri 20-Nov: Another 27 deaths reported today for yesterday (26 of the 27 in the general public) and another 988 new cases (97% in the general public). Percentage positivity is up around 25%. The 14-moving average for fatalities is rising sharply, as is the deaths per 100k of population - for the first time - in the general public. These are the facts.

Thu 19-Nov: Yest, 27 deaths reported in our region from Tue. Today, the state reports 25 for yest. Deaths typically lag onset from three to four weeks. That many weeks ago, our daily new infections was around 300 to 400/day. We are now at three to four times that rate. So, in three to four more weeks (following Thanksgiving and approaching Christmas) if the ratios hold - our region will be approaching 100 deaths/day. Are we prepared?

Back in April and May, this was predominantly a nursing home problem with a highly disproportionate number of cases and deaths (around 90%) were coming from this vulnerable population. What makes this wave more perilous, is that now it is a general public outbreak. Yesterday, 92% of the new cases were in the public and 96% of the deaths. The nursing homes are "contained" populations - the general public is not.

Are you personally doing everything you can to stem the rise in cases?

Wed 18-Nov: Neighbors, another new record high today crossing the 1000 line for new cases. 90% of those are in the general public and 59% of the 27 deaths were also in the general public. The 14-moving average of fatalities now stands at around 5.5 and 3 for the Gen Public and LTCF populations respectively; and rising sharply. All charts updated below.

Tue 17-Nov: Neighbors, new record high for the region of 964 new cases (54 probables, the rest confirmed PCR positive) (945 - or 98% - of those are in the general public). The 14-day moving average for the region is now over 4 times the peak during the red phase. The 5 deaths yesterday comprised 2 in nursing homes and 3 in the general public. This is a reflection of the larger trend, where the deaths are moving from the LTCF to the general public. Note:

Mon 16-Nov: Neighbors, mixed signals in the data today. You'll note that the daily new cases has dropped and hopefully that is the start of a trend back downward. However, the fatalities chart continues upward - for both the general public and the nursing homes. A friend of mine told me yesterday (lives in a LTCF) that they have seen 80 new cases in just the last week or two, and five deaths... in just one facility. This, once again, amplifies how important it is to protect our LTCF - and to separate these two populations in data and in policy. So, I went back to an old set of charts I hadn't updated in a while. I personally find these charts very curious. In particular, Cumberland and Lebanon counties. You decide (click image to enlarge):

Note that, no matter which county you look at, how dramatically different the behaviors of Covid19 are in LTCF vs Gen Public populations.

Fri 13-Nov: Another day up the curve. Third day in a row of record new cases. 14-day rolling average now over 500 (more than 300% of the peak during the red phase in April). Then there is the "bump up" in fatalities in the nursing homes. The general public is still weathering better than the nursing homes, but fatalities there are also rising.

Thu 12-Nov: The regional daily new case doubling-rate is now down to 4 days which is commensurate with what we were seeing in the original runup back in April. And the fatality curves are now elbowing up sharply as well. This is not an emotional "sky is falling" bulletin, these are just a statement of facts.

Tue 10-Nov: Four of the last five days our ten-county region has scored in the high 500's of new cases. Probables account for less than 30 of those on any given day. Confirmed new cases are definitely on the rise. Deaths are also starting to rise. These are the facts.

Mon 9-Nov: Fellow citizens, just data and analysis; not politics (which is why this box is purple). I'm not sure how anyone can look at these charts and not be alarmed. Daily new cases in our region are now well over double the peak of the red phase. And the 14-day rolling average is now 416 which is 267% of the peak 156 during the red phase. Furthermore, since I (alone apparently) have been breaking out the general public and nursing home (LTCF) populations - we can see that the vast majority of these new cases are in the large and uncontainted general public; which is unlike the nursing home population which are contained and thus can "limit" the spread. I guess it is a mercy that it isn't in the vulnerable population of the nursing homes as the virus is much more devastating there. The deaths per 100k in that population is still around 7400 but you can see a very slow flattening of that curve. Conversely, the deaths per 100k in the general public while only 20, that curve is now bending in the wrong direction. So, fellow citizens... PLEASE mask up, wash your hands and keep your distance. Our scientists are making great progress on therapeutics and prevention (vaccine) but we still have many months ahead of us before we can relax. Please be responsible.

Fri 6-Nov: Citizens, not much good to report today. We've hit new record levels of new cases across the board. Our fatalities are starting to track upward now also. Percentage positivity in testing is also rising. All metrics are up, period.

Wed 4-Nov: A couple things to share today.

First, I heard back from the State DoH on what is included in the "Confirmed" case number. This is the exact quote from the email: "Confirmed cases only include PCR tests while the total cases include antigen/probable results." So this puts to rest the question of antibody tests being included in the confirmed number - they are not. The total new cases (what is included in my new daily cases chart) DOES include antigen/diagnostic probables. So, for that reason you should also pay attention to the Probables chart (which has data beginning the time of the green phase only). As of the numbers reported for 3-Nov, probables represented 27 (5.9%) of the 461 total cases for our region.

Second, if you look carefully at the two breakouts for new cases and fatalities, broken out by general public vs nursing homes - you will see that the general public cases have been streaking northward for about a month. That is the bad news. The good news is that the fatalities curve is much lower and not rising; it is jagging around 2.5 deaths/day on a 14-day-rolling average basis. To amplify this - pay attention to the "Deaths per 100k of Population" charts. In these you will see that the general public rate has leveled off at an aggregate of 19/100k (vs nursing homes around 7400/100k). So, while the virus does seem to be spreading faster at the moment, for whatever reason, that is not translating into nearly the kind of death rates we were seeing when the pandemic first hit in April.

Mon 2-Nov: We may be at the end of the road here. Last week, the State DoH completely revamped their website(s) concerning Covid-19 and have not posted raw overall data since the 30th, nor nursing home data since the 26th of Oct. Without access to the data, curious on the eve of the election, I am blind and cannot offer any additional insights. All charts and tables are as up to date as of the last available data on either 26th or 30th.

Wed 28-Oct: Curious how our region compares to state as a whole...

Tue 27-Oct: New page format today. All "regular" charts now at the top; some 'one-time' charts still interspersed below. Today's summary: New cases: up. Fatalities: up. Percentage positivity: up. Most of this is in the general population, not the nursing homes... which is what is different than back in April. Apparently, that population is now "under control" though we are indeed still losing too many people there too. One other note about the data. I've commented in the past that it is unclear what testing is included in the new daily positives. Does it include Antibody, Antigen or Rapid (notoriously high false positive rate) tests? Or just PCR? So I called the State DoH directly and asked them. The person I spoke with said she did not know, but would pass my query onto someone who could answer it and get back to me. I'm still waiting...

Mon 26-Oct: No question, the numbers are climbing. Daily new cases: up. Deaths: up. Percentage positive in testing: up. If we don't get this under control - we're headed for another lockdown like Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, Israel and more. We can do this! Mask up!

Wed 21-Oct: Key charts updated today. If the State DoH Covid-19 data is to be believed, the above two charts should make you concerned. Please be responsible and vigilant.

Mon 19-Oct: Key charts updated today. The new cases chart looks a wee bit less alarming today. However, the percentage positivity chart looks more alarming. That said, there is a suspicious single day spike in testing volume - a literal 500% increase in a single day. This seems unlikely, so I speculate that a bunch of tests were "held up" in the lab or in reporting or something. Why? No idea. The "good news" is that the spike in testing volume correlates to the single day "420 new cases alarm" a few days ago. So that appears to be more of an administrative reporting snafu than a literal spike in new cases. But who knows?!

Fri 16-Oct: Key charts updated today. While the new case count dropped significantly to 267 from the prior day's 420, 267 is still one of the peak days since April. The 14-day moving average is now at 211. But the question is: are these truly active cases? 34 of these are so-called "probables". How many are antibody positives (not active cases)? Will the State DoH separate the numbers? If not, why not? Inclusion is a clear "artificial inflation" of the reality and not science. What is the agenda here? Does the State DoH and the Governor's Office not understand that by "spinning the numbers" the only thing they succeed in accomplishing is sowing distrust and cynicism by the population - the consequence of which is that everyone ends up not trusting the numbers and then deciding to do whatever they want anyway. How is this helpful?

Thu 15-Oct: Key charts updated today. Neighbors, yesterday saw a new record high of new cases in our region - of 420. That is DOUBLE the highest new case peak during the red phase. Of those 420, 18 of them are "probables" which are thus "likely but not confirmed by actual science. Of the remaining 402 "new cases" - I wonder how many are antibody positives, not PCR positives? Is this an actual spike? Or is it politics? What if the antibody positive number accounts for 200 of the remaining 402? Are we sounding the alarm "not factually"? Does anyone out there have a data source other than the State DoH that reports PCR Positive, separate from Antibody Positive separate from "Probable"? I would surely appreciate that data.

Wed 14-Oct: Key charts updated today. Again, 14-day moving averages are rising rapidly - particularly in the general public.
In the last two weeks, the 14-day moving average for the ten county area has increased by 33% from about 150 to about 200. See the chart at the very top of this page for that evidence. The above chart shows that 14-day moving average separated by general public and nursing home populations. Clearly, the majority of that recent uptick is in the general public... and there is a suggestion of an uptick signal in the fatalities chart as well.
I'll soften the bad news a pinch by sharing that the daily new cases by county published by the State DoH includes positive PCR tests, positive antibody tests and "probable cases". While the State DoH began breaking out the probable cases in late May, they have not yet begun to break out the positive antibody tests so we don't know how many of these cases are "historical positives" not active virus carriers today. Why is this number being included in "new cases" when they are, in fact, not? (On the chance that I have been misinformed about this, would someone pleae disabuse me of this incorrect notion?)
Antibody tests aside, check out this plot of the daily increase in "probable cases" which shows a clear upward trend at a time when testing rates are also very high.
Such trends are rarely the result of a chaotic (or random if you prefer to think of it that way) system. Which is to say - it shows a clear change in policy around mid-August regarding representation of patients as positive based not on empirical testing - but subjective opinion. While this trend only accounts for about 20% of the overall increase in the 14-day moving average, it is still significant. And it makes me wonder - how much of this rise in the 14-day moving average is due to the "hidden" positive antibody tests? Will someone at the State DoH please take resposibility for data veracity, value and transparency? Either break out the antibody tests from the "new cases" or, on the chance that they are not being conflated with the "new cases" - report them anyway - that data is still relevant and important to the public understanding. Or is this just another case of partisan politics over data science?

Tue 13-Oct: Key charts updated today. Note - 14-day moving average of new cases in the general public remains on the rise, sharply. Deaths per 100k of population - in the nursing homes is still climbing - but improving - still at over 7100/100k of pop. Deaths in the general population, has risen to 17. However, given the sharp rise in the last seven days (with the highest peak ever for a single day 356 new cases reported on Sat 10-Oct, and four peaks in the last seven days, the death rate will rise in a couple weeks... Please remain vigilant.

Tue 6-Oct: Key charts updated today. Note - 14-day moving average of new cases in the general public is definitely on the rise, and deaths per 100k of population - in the general public - has risen to 16. While still relatively low (particularly compared to Nursing Homes), these trends are concerning.

Thu 1-Oct: Colleagues and Neighbors, some new analysis today. Continuing to think about the relationship between Long Term Care Facilities and the General Public, but also about the Employee who bridges the two populations. Also thinking about the relationship between the fatality rates in the two populations - as they relate to the new cases. Here is a familiar chart showing the new cases; split by LTCF v Public. As is clear, the LTCF has flattened if not trending down (whew!), but the Public is rising. How does this relate to the fatality rates in each population? The Fatalities chart shows the 14 day moving average of fatalities in each population. As you can see, both are 'unstable' patterns; no clear trend up or down. Conclusion? Fatalities are not yet 'under control' in either population and seemingly unrelated to infection trends. Additionally, I charted the new case rates in the LTCF alone - and plotted those along with fatalities just in that population: What I was seeking to see here were a couple things. First, is there a 'pattern' to the Employee incidents and the Resident incidents? In other words: which way is the virus moving; from Emp to Res or Res to Emp? When we see a large green bar - is there a spike a few days later in the orange, or vice-versa? My two examples, Dauphin and Lancaster counties, don't appear to shown any such pattern. Also, I was expecting to see a spike in the red line somewhere around two weeks after a spike in an orange bar - assuming it takes an elderly and comorbid Resident two weeks to progress from onset to fatality. I can see no such pattern. I can speculate lots of reasons for this, but I'll resist that urge. A good time series analysis could potentially show this - but the data is too spotty and unreliable for that. So, bottom line: I cannot draw any reliable correlations relative to Emp vs Res or Onset vs Fatality. That said, it is still clear that the virus is still infecting an ever increasing number of the Public (assuming the data is all PCR when it is most likely PCR and Antibody thus making the new infection rate truly unclear) and the fatality rate still unpredictable in relation to infection rate.

Mon 21-Sep: The usual refreshes. Some progress on new cases, the 14-day moving average in the general population has come back down. Whew! But if you look at the new cases split by Nursing Homes vs General Public, you can see that from about mid-July onward, there is a fairly linear trajectory upward. Similarly, when looking at the deaths per 100k of population, the general public is rising on a fairly linear trajectory. Now, I hasten to add that the deaths per 100k in the general population has just crossed the 15 mark. Contrast that number with the 6741 per 100k in the nursing home population. This means the mortality rate for general public: 0.015% vs 6.74% in the nursing homes. This make death from Covid-19 450 times more likely if you live in a nursing home, or 450 times LESS likely if you don't. The data is clear: in the general public Covid is about 7-8x more deadly than the seasonal flu (2/100k), but, 13x less deadly than good old fashioned heart disease (197/100k). (source: CDC) So, just keeping it all in relative perspective.

Mon 14-Sep: All charts and tables refreshed today. Again, new cases are up and the trailing 14-day average is now ABOVE the peak during the red phase. I'm surprised that the State DoH and the Press are not all over that. ;-) Second, the percentage positive numbers are also rather dramatically jagging up and down - but generally upwards. Both of these are concerning trends. That said, the fatalities continue to remain low (relatively speaking to the red phase). Is this a consequence of better medical treatment protocols? Or could the virus be weakening? Or could it be that the rise in new cases is a false signal because it includes antibody test results (which measure past cases) not current active virus cases? Who knows! More transparency in the numbers, please.

Tue 8-Sep: All charts and tables refreshed today. Fellow citizens, the sky is not falling - but, a couple concerning signals in the data. First, be careful and responsible with the lives of others please... The daily 14-day average for new cases for the general public is rising and we haven't even begun measuring the spread of Covid from this past Labor Day weekend. In fact, if you look at the above chart carefully, you will see two concerning things: the 14-day trailing average is now equal to the peak in during the red phase and the general daily pattern is also not unlike the red phase. Second, the percentage positive cases is also rising sharply. It is never clear what the State DoH is reporting in their testing number and positive numbers (PCR vs Antibody) - so this could be a false signal if it represents a rise in Antibody test percentages (which reports cases that happened a month or more ago so do not represent current active virus cases).

Mon 31-Aug: All charts and tables refreshed today.

Mon 24-Aug: All charts and tables refreshed today. Regarding testing and positivity rates: both the state and the region have DECLINING testing volumes and positive test rates continue to be highly volatile. However, the linear regressions for the Region and the State are relatively flat at about 6% and 5% respectively. Finally, the fatality rates continue to flatten with the General Public around 13 deaths per 100,000 and the Nursing Homes at 6300 per 100,000.

Mon 17-Aug: All charts and tables refreshed today. Note: the percentage positivity in testing for our local region continues to be higher than the overall rate for the commonwealth, however, our fatality rate continues to be low(er). Cannot offer any data-driven explanations for this "contrapositive trend".

Mon 10-Aug: All charts refreshed today. A few notes: the fatality curve in the nursing homes does indeed appear to be flattening. Something appears to be happening there that is helping. Kudos and thanks to all the extraordinary workers on those communities that are saving lives every day. Also, there does appear to be a slight uptick in infection rates in our local region. Not alarming, but a signal in the data regardless. However, and this I must once again powerfully draw attention to - the infection rate and mortality rate in the general public is still very, very low. See this chart and note the orange (public) versus blue (nursing) lines. In Cumberland County in particular, the fatality rate in the general public is a literal ZERO and the CUMULATIVE infection rate is still only 0.3%. It is still appropriate to take all reasonable precautions when leaving our homes, but is the economic damage wrought by public policy consistent with this DATA?

Mon 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 a slow rate while our region is decreasing testing at a very slow rate. 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.

Mon 27-Jul: All charts refreshed today. Good news! The fatalities in the Nursing Home population is flattening. These two charts show 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 the Fatalities chart further amplifies the differences in mortality rate between nursing homes and the general public. Again, suggesting that these two populations are distinctly different.

Mon 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.

Mon 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.

Mon 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.

Tue 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.

Mon 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.

Sun 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.

Thu 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.

Tue 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?

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