Post #650: A trend is a trend until it ceases to be a trend.

Posted on April 16, 2020

Here’s what the last four weeks of new Coronavirus cases look like, for Virginia, when plotted as  daily percentage increase.  You can’t see it here, because it happened too long ago, but in hindsight, that growth rate started to come down some time after the Governor issued the first set of restrictions on business activity.

Fairfax county does NOT look this good.  Fairfax seems stuck at around a 10 percent per day growth rate.

But for Virginia as a whole, as long as this trend continues to be a trend, we’ll get down to negligible daily new cases in about eight days.  (And, presumably, if Fairfax County can get it under control).

And at that time, we’d only have about 8500 cases.  That’s well within the capacity of our health care system to handle.  Based on available beds and respirators, and the average use rate of those by COVID-19 patients, we’d have to have something like 30,000 cases statewide to overtop our hospital capacity.

In effect, we’ve managed to continue the “sub-exponential” growth noted in Post #616, 4/9/2020.  So, no train-wreck scenario for Virginia.

Things may yet be difficult for our local hospitals, because we’ve got about a quarter of the cases in the state, and our daily case growth remains high in Fairfax.  But for Virginia as a whole, things don’t look too bad, at the moment. As long as current trends continue.

I’m just going to proactively repeat something from Post #616, because if that trend holds, it’s bound to start happening about a week from now.  Here’s the text from Post #616:

Here’s my prediction:  Give it another two weeks, and if our containment strategies succeed in avoiding ventilator shortages, mass deaths, and so on, those same folks will be back.  But this time they’ll be telling us that they were right all along, this was way overblown, it wasn’t that big a deal, we didn’t need to shut down the economy, we wasted a bunch of money, and so on.  And, most fundamentally of course, that out response was all just some Deep State plot by Liberals to undermine the President.

So when you start hearing that — and it will be coming out of the woodwork in any number of varieties of argument — just take those arguments out into the light of day, walk them around, and given the a good look-see.  Because they all boil down to:

“Our containment strategies worked, and we avoided mass deaths.  And so the lack of mass deaths is evidence that our containment strategies were not needed.”  (And then thrown in a dash of your favorite conspiracy theory on top of that.)

That’s like saying, e.g., whooping cough doesn’t kill many kids any more, so there’s no point to the DPT vaccine.  People rarely get thrown through the windshield in car accidents any more, so seatbelts are clearly unnecessary.  Nobody has invaded the US in centuries, so we clearly have no defensive need or a military.  And so on.

Those are statements that only make sense to people who are literally too stupid to understand basic cause-and-effect.  And you might be saying to yourself, nobody could be that dumb.

Hah.  Just wait and see.