The Slope of Concern

There is something apparent in the raw case data that is likely hard to see without some training in epidemiology and statistics. It’s very important and is worth understanding as a means to grasp what is changing and how it aligns perfectly with what I have been forecasting. I have previously explained why there is a 3-6 week delay in outcomes from changes in social controls.

The columns represent new cases of COVID-19 and are plotted by day on the x-axis and on the left y-axis. The green section represents the time that I had previously indicated would see benefits from the various lockdown orders. The yellow section represents when there would be gradual increases in cases as these restrictions are removed.

The black line represents deaths and is measured on the y-axis on the right. Deaths lag about one week behind cases.

There is a blue and red arrow along the bottom. This is just a best guess the cooling period of cases from social control and the reheating as those restrictions are lifted. Unfortunately, I realized a better way to do this after I had created each frame so it’s not as smooth as a gradient I would like in most frames but the general idea should be clear. I intentionally picked seven days into the yellow section to start looking at the trend data so there would be a relatively decent number of points from which to work.

There is a purple trend line for the downward trend seen in the green section of the graph. The red trend line is really the most important piece. It will continue to flatten and will start to slope upward, and will become steep in what will seem overnight once we hit the return of exponential growth. That’s when the trouble will be just starting.

Most important, within about a week it will be obvious throughout the US that there is trouble ahead. My warnings of a lack of ICU beds have already been reported in Montgomery, Alabama and also now in Arizona. There are likely already other areas around the country starting to come up against this problem.

Another way to look at this is a graph of the slopes of the red trend line. What is interesting, the trend line for this data is already flat. That line will start slowing up as well and will be a pretty good indicator for future trends. Currently, I have it set to linear, but at some point it may fit the data better as an exponential curve. I expect hospitals in much of the country to be overwhelmed worse than what was seen in NYC sometime in July.


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