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A lot of people have tried to argue that the increase in cases is a function of more testing. While testing may contribute to some degree, there is more than enough signal in the noise to prove that what is actually being captured is true disease.
In this graph, I’ve used the same derivative formula for both the case data and death data. I’ve adjusted the scales of each to make the curves clearly visible as well as to align them along the zero of the y-axis. I then created 7-day moving trend lines for each and made the original jagged slope graphs invisible for the sake of clarity.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics related to COVID-19 deaths, “it can take several weeks for death records to be submitted to National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), processed, coded, and tabulated.” This means that many of the deaths still are not captured in this data. As I have been studying it, I’ve found that the final count of deaths to lag about a month, so that would explain some of the spread in more recent data.
There is a case to be made that there is probably increased testing in states that are having an alarming number of cases and have started seeing hospital bed shortages. The media attention to this has probably increased testing in those areas. I adjusted for this by eliminating states where I have either heard in the media or from friends that hospitals are getting full or diverting patients. That led me to filter out AZ, CA, FL, NC, SC, and TX. The resulting graph is pretty telling that the current increase in cases around the country in June is closely matched by deaths.
The reason I say that the illusion is over has to do with the location of the red (death) trend line. It’s now moved above zero. We are going to start hearing more and more about the death tolls in the news.
My takeaway from this is that there is significant community spread going on around the country. I would argue that if you are planning on going to any events for the holiday weekend, you will be putting yourself at risk of infection and those that you subsequently come in contact with should you become infected.