I have been looking at the graphs I posted of various states using slope trends and today looked at various metro areas. From the state data, I calculated that my assumptions of about a 3-week interval from social control measures is accurate about 80% of the time. Obviously that’s considerably better than chance alone and also leaves some room for normal variation tht commonly occurs in data.
I want to talk about that in relation to Memorial Day and all of the protests that have been occurring since that time. One particular place got a lot of attention for it’s lack of masks and social distancing on Memorial Day weekend. I do think we will see some increases this weekend from Memorial Day, but it’s not due to events like that.
Look at the pictures from that day in the link above and think about the age group. That is not a representative sample of the population. That is the group that might get infected but remain asymptomatic or develop more mild illness overall (although it’s clear that isn’t always the case). There is an important inference to be made from that. Increases in cases from activities over the Memorial weekend are may not show up until the second or third generation of the disease, meaning that we won’t see much for increases from events like that until five or six weeks later.
However, families and friends across age groups may have spent time together over the weekend in ways that wouldn’t have gotten media attention. Those kinds of events WILL start showing up in the data this weekend.
I expect to see something like this in the data by Monday. Essentially a much larger sawtooth in the normal disease cycling. The question is how large it will be.
The same holds true for the protests. They have largely been a younger demographic. I’ve been seeing people post on social media that we should be seeing spikes now from those events. It’s not that simple. It has a lot to do with social distancing and mask use as well as the composition of the crowds. I expect the same kind of lagging response in the data though. It’s probably going to be closer to the end of June before those events make an impact. However, by then we will be seeing a sure in cases anyway so it may not be very easy to tease that out. I do have a method to do that devised that I will try in just over a week when there is data available.