1 Million US Cases, By When?

Mish

Coronavirus cases are still on track for hitting the 100,000 mark very soon.

The reason I posted the cases from two days ago (March 22) at 31,767 is because that is the day I created this chart based on Covid Tracking Project data.

It is also the day I received an email from someone whose name most of you would instantly recognize. I was accused of hyping the data because there was "No way we would hit 100,000 cases on March 26".

Here is my March 22 post: Covid Tracking Project: How Long to 1 Million US Cases?

Here is the Email I received with names removed.

It is not presently feasible to get to 100,000 cases in the US by March 26th.

To do so, the daily average growth rate in the number of cases would need to be 41.5% with a mean doubling time of case numbers of 2.0 days. I have not been calculating the numbers for the US as a whole, only for specific regions of personal interest, but a doubling time of 2.0 days is almost certainly too aggressive. In the regions I am tracking, where mitigation measures are in place, the mean doubling time is significantly longer; 2.3 to 2.7 days except for Colorado, where the reporting is very haphazard.

With respect to reaching a million cases by April 3, which is 11 days from now, this is certainly possible if current mitigations fail. It would require a daily average growth rate of 35% and a mean doubling time of 2.3 days sustained over that 11 day period.

These numbers are on the aggressive side of pessimistic, but feasible. They are, however, linear (well, log-linear) extrapolations of the current condition into the future, which never works accurately for large, complex systems, particularly where human decision makers and human efforts are at play.

A long way round to the same conclusion as yours: These publications do more to incite hysteria and grab clicks than they provide any basis for decision-making.

Galling Points

  1. Neither the person who emailed me nor the person so commented can read. This is what I said on March 22: "Those are not my projections, those are observations of what would happen if the current trends last that long at the same pace."
  2. Two days later, I do note we are still on track for the "not feasible" by March 26.
  3. I do not attempt to "inciting hysteria or grab clicks".

In regards to extrapolating data forever into the future, I agree. It will not happen.

But the person who emailed me could not even figure out that with hugely increased testing these numbers would rapidly rise for a while.

New York Coronavirus Cases

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Readers asked for state totals so there is New York, the worst of the 50 states.

I do not project New York forward because the lines are not as smooth. What seems to be happening is that the day-to-day amount of testing varies by states.

The more testing in a state the more cases there will be found.

Te pattern of deaths in New York is interesting. For a couple of days there is no increase then a jump for two more days, then stabilization for two days. I have no explanation for this pattern.

Final Thoughts on Extrapolation

I suspect the US will will not hit 100,000 cases by March 26 but within a few days of that. Regardless, it is certainly "feasible", and so much so that the extrapolated date has not even changed.

Meanwhile, what do you call someone who literally says it is "not feasible" while accusing you of presenting clickbait?

From the point of view of the average person in the US, is there any real difference if the number of cases touches 100,000 on March 26 vs March 27, or even April 1?

I suspect not.

Yes, the number of cases will stall at some point, perhaps sooner rather than later, but probably not.

Why?

Increased testing will pick up more cases while the virus itself is still spreading.

How hard should that be to figure out?

I ought to name names, but I won't.

For the record I do not spread clickbait hysteria and I do hope the trendlines I show are high.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (103)
No. 1-32
Sechel
Sechel

the trajectory in terms of infections and deaths is clearly on the increase. It's not getting better. I was gobsmacked when I heard we're reversing course by Easter(why Easter? It sounds good). Instead of attempting to follow the path of South Korea we're virtually assured of following the path of Italy. New Yorkers are fleeing. This means the virus is spreading and that other parts of the country who think they're fine are in reality two weeks behind.

RB2
RB2

Mish I look to you by and large as the voice of reason in these heated moments. While I do not agree on all points in your posts, you are balanced. Keep it up!

tokidoki
tokidoki

Other states just really don't care about testing, including CA. I mean who believes those numbers really? Apparently Europeans only visit New York only. Let's be real.

Russell J
Russell J

If they tested every person I bet we'd all need a clean pair of underwear after seeing the results.

Quatloo
Quatloo

I am just not understanding how the ‘stay at home’ method of dealing with this virus can be effective without a vaccine (which almost no one thinks will be ready until 2021).

Here is the issue: Let’s say we lock people down for a month, and stabilize new rates of infection. If we then remove the lockdown, people will move around again and the virus will start right back up and we will have the exact same problem. Do we then have to do another lockdown for another month? Repeating 1 month on, 1 off, until a vaccine is developed? Or do we remain in lockdown continuously for as long as a year?

Even in the epicenter of the virus, in Wuhan, we have never had close to 1% being infected, so immunity from getting the disease is not much of a factor; you still have 99% of the population at risk.

How do you end a lockdown, knowing that the same problem starts back up again as soon as people are free to move around again?

Does anyone have any insight into this?

DBG8489
DBG8489

You're a nicer person than I am Mish.

I wouldn't have hesitated to name names.

Accusing you of posting click-bait is one thing, but inciting hysteria? Please. If he actually knew you at all he would know that's bullshit.

I read here often but don't usually post much. And I don't know you personally, but I can tell you that of all the people out there writing about this, you're probably the most level-headed and least hysterical of the bunch by far.

Just keep doing what you're doing.

njbr
njbr

Atlanta Mayor tells #cbs46 News ICU units in hospitals across the city are at capacity #BREAKING #Exclusive on @cbs46

Curious-Cat
Curious-Cat

Mish - "The pattern of deaths in New York is interesting. For a couple of days there is no increase then a jump for two more days, then stabilization for two days. I have no explanation for this pattern."

With respect, what did everyone say when China exhibited uneven patterns?

njbr
njbr

Andy Slavitt @ House with garden
@ASlavitt
As we know Trump has said they are taking steps to “open up” the country.

If people did, the reason will be because of the number one risk factor: age? No. Pre-existing illness? No.

Number one risk factor right now is no access to an ICU bed or ventilator. /17

ohno
ohno

Has it occurred to anyone that if everyone in the US were tested, right this very minute, that there may already be 1 million or more cases? Ohio's health authority stated over a week ago she thought they had over 100k cases. Just because you have it doesn't mean your dropping dead and rushing to the hospital. I just read something from supposed FEDEX employees being told to come to work sick for fear of losing their jobs and they sounded like they had symptoms of covid19.

aqualech
aqualech

Most Americans are not helping. Myself included. I see hoards of people at stores. Very sloppy social distancing and little regard for wiping keypads and things like that. Parks and playgrounds PACKED!

Realist
Realist

If you ask an infectious disease expert, he would recommend:

Step 1: isolate as close to 100% of the population as possible for 3 weeks.

Step 2: identify any isolated people who develop symptoms; test them; monitor them and retest if necessary; if symptoms worsen, hospitalize them; extend the isolation period for those who shared accommodation with the infected; test and monitor them

Step 3: after 3 weeks, providing the health care system is not overwhelmed by cases, all isolated people without symptoms can be considered virus free and allowed out of isolation; however, it is important to continue social distancing, hand washing, etc as a precaution, as there are always outliers; however, if the health care system is overwhelmed, you must extend isolation until such time as it is no longer overwhelmed

Step 4: once isolation is over, it will be important to carefully monitor for any new cases; any new cases must be traced back quickly to find others at risk; if you can get to this stage you can easily manage isolated cases because now you are actively looking for them

Step 5: The problem is not yet “solved”, but it is now managed. Meanwhile, treatments and vaccines can be developed over the coming months and years. Once vaccines and natural immunities spread, the problem is effectively contained. (Like measles, it will be difficult to eradicate.)

There is one crucial thing that is required for this standard practice to be successful: a population that is willing to follow the rules of isolation, social distancing, washing hands etc

tokidoki
tokidoki

Actually I do think by the end of March 26th, we will reach 100K based on how fast the numbers are rising.

marg54
marg54

Mish, help me understand. Here in Australia we watch your President make ludicrous statements and get pretty scared. Surely most Americans cannot buy his "personal beliefs" over scientific and medical facts. Is he seriously prepared to let people die in order to hold up companies and the stock market. How is it possible that people believe him? What am I missing?

abend237-04
abend237-04

Anyone on here still think we're smarter than the Chinese and can stop it before we reach 82,000?

Knight
Knight

Mish - I’ve been a daily reader of yours since before the last crash when you were Global Economics Trend Analysis. One of a few trusted sources.

abend237-04
abend237-04

I think we'll be out of speculation mode come Monday. Either Cuomo's patients will or won't match the results of doctors elsewhere using the Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin combination. There should be an 80%+ reduction in viral load and a dramatic reduction in deaths if his results do track.

thimk
thimk

today Florida state park trails closed . local parks, recreational areas closed a few weeks earlier. Took a walk through a local town yesterday evening ; surreal the emptiness . Anytime fitness is now sometime fitness.I'm po'ed . I need to stay healthy but all my venues for exercise have been shutdown. The word is out , the message is respected, the curve will flatten . godspeed everyone .

davebarnes
davebarnes

For me, the "magic number" is 100K deaths in the USA.
At that number, there is no sweeping it under the rug. Even for The Dumpster®.

Jojo
Jojo

If this virus was so damn contagious, then why isn't every homeless camp riddled with sick people? Why aren't they dying left and right?

Hell, in the best of times these people don't keep their own areas clean, share needles, pipes, drugs and don't bathe or wash their hands often. And yet, I am not seeing any great number of stories (in fact, so far I have seen zero) of rampant virus outbreaks among the homeless. In the SF Bay Area, there is only ONE documented homeless person death.

Here, the homeless are fussed over and monitored regularly. IF anything bad were happening, their stories would be on/in the local news but their aren't any such stories!

Too many are hysterical and overreacting to this virus.

wootendw
wootendw

I'd be very interested in hearing Mish's take on the Putin-MbS-Trump 'dispute' about oil.

The stock market's first 2000 down day (DJI) happened on Monday, March 9 which was the first trading day after Putin walked out on the Saudis, March 6.

Fracking bankruptcies are not directed by our political leaders even though the shutdowns are.

Realist
Realist

The US is rated #1 in the global health security index.That means it is better prepared than any other country to deal with a pandemic. South Korea is rated #9. Yet the US is about to become the country with the most infected and the probably the most deaths. South Korea didn’t ignore the disease and it reacted quickly to stem the spread. The US did not. What good is being prepared if you ignore the warnings and the botch the response.

killben
killben

Should we also look at the death rate alongside. May be over a period. Since like Italy it may be that there are no deaths for a couple of days and then suddenly a spike.

Realist
Realist

The US will hit 1000 deaths on Thursday.

Indiguy
Indiguy

Your views will change when you land up in hospital needing medical attention. Safe to say you are an ass.

mrutkaus
mrutkaus

I wish to publicize the use of melatonin in flu virus cases. There has been for years a lot of news about it, here is one:

In some types of flu/virus attacks, it is not the virus that kills people, it is the body's release of its own chemicals that kills the patient. Melatonin seems to modulate/slow this body reaction.

WildBull
WildBull

It looks to me that the number of cases is greatly underestimated. I saw a stat on the news last night that 46% of the serious cases were from the 24 to 45 age group. It is doubtful that Americans in this age group are more likely to be come seriously ill than Chinese, or any other nationality. Simply, a disproportionate number of 24 to 45 year olds are infected compared to the 65+ group. This ratio could easily be 10 to 1.

This is probably caused by the way that the disease entered the US (and Europe for that matter). Instead of infecting a few extended families (China has more grandparents living with children and grandchildren), it came to the US and Europe in younger people that travel to China on business. In the US and Europe, there is less contact between the 24 to 45 cohort and their parents, so most COVID 19 in younger people went undetected because no one was dying and no one was looking for it until recently. It spread like mad. This is why the high tech areas are having trouble. Grandma and Grandpa only got it when the kids came to visit. At that point, critically ill people started to show up at the ER.

I believe that I got it in Raleigh NC in early February. I had a terrible headache followed by a day of body aches, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea followed by about six days more fever, extreme weakness, aches, bad chest congestion, wheezing and cough. My wife's symptoms started a day after mine. My opinion at the time was that this thing was the flu, but a strain that could kill people, so we stayed away from other people. Our church is full of older people with medical conditions. It didn't dawn on me until two days ago that this was probably COVID 19 when I read an article that said GI issues occurred in over half the cases. The other symptoms are classic.

Woodturner
Woodturner

Most people can barely do lineal math and suck at thinking exponentially.

Carl_R
Carl_R

It would appear that March 27th will the day we reach 100k. My current guess for March 31 is 200,000 cases, 3100 deaths.

Presskh
Presskh

So, we had 60 million Americans infected during the H1N1 (swine flu) epidemic and there was no national plea to isolate and lock everything down. Why - because that was Obama’s economy and we couldn’t make him look bad, could we?


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