Post #1207: INCORRECT: COVID-19 trend to 8/9/2021, test your intuition.

Posted on August 10, 2021

Edit:  The numbers here are wrong, due to apparent mis-reporting by Florida yesterday.  Just ignore this post.  Florida accounts for about one-fifth of new U.S. cases, and that error threw off not just the Florida trend but the national trend as well.  See next trend post for corrected informtion.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one caught out by this.  You can see they (typically biased) reporting at this reference.


If you just want to see today’s numbers, skip to the next section.

The upward trend is now so steady that those of you who have been following along can probably guess today’s number for new COVID-19 cases.  That means that the actual data for today provide little information.  There’s almost nothing I can say about the current situation that you would not have expected.

I’d like to put that to the test.  My bet is that almost everyone who reads this blog will have enough intuition to guess today’s new count, given a reasonable range of choices.

I’m not even going to give any hints.

And so:  We had an average of 33 new cases / 100K / day, as of last Friday’s data.  We’ve now had three additional days of growth.

What’s your best guess for today’s number, reflecting Monday’s data?  In a nutshell, what’s your best guess for 33, plus three days’ growth?

In the Google Forms quiz below, once you answer, you can ask Google Forms to show you a summary of all answers so far.

I’m not trying to make light of this.  I’m just trying to get across the point that it’s completely obvious where this is headed.  The U.S. Delta wave is already a big problem.  It appears to be on course to slam the U.S. hospital and mortuary systems as they’ve never been slammed before.

And yet, our response looks like this, below:

Mask use (blue line) versus new case counts, as of yesterday:

Source:  Mask data from Carnegie-Mellon COVID Delphi project.  Case count data calculated from:  The New York Times. (2021), cited later in this post.

Vaccinations, as of today.  (Although, to be clear, it will be another six weeks before those vaccinated today have reached a full immune response.)

Source:  CDC COVID data tracker.

We’re at the point where everybody who was willing to do their part to suppress this has done so.  We’re left with the fraction of the population that doesn’t give a damn.  And I bet that this time, they still won’t give a damn even after the ICUs are full and we’re stacking bodies in refrigerated trailers.

Just look at the mask chart above, for a minute.  Compare the left-hand portion — where things stood at the peak of the U.S. fourth (Alpha variant) wave — to the right-hand portion, where things stand now.

Roughly speaking, compared to the U.S. fourth (Alpha variant) wave, we now have twice as many new cases per day, and half as much COVID-19 hygiene.  All that, against a new variant that is substantially more infectious and more virulent than Alpha was.  With a strong and persistent upward trend in new cases.  At some level, the result is just a matter of arithmetic.  What on earth do people expect to happen? 

I guess all of this was pretty obvious from the outset (Post #1160, June 15 2021).  Re-reading that post, I don’t see much to disagree with, other than the statement that this wave couldn’t possibly be as bad as the U.S. third (winter) wave.  I think that’s now in doubt.

That said, it’s upsetting to watch it play out.  To me, this is nothing less than a signal that America is a failed society.  We can’t cooperate.  We won’t coerce.  We’re only capable of watching this unfold.  That’s hardly a recipe for success, let alone world domination.

Today’s numbers

The U.S. reached 38.5 new COVID-19 cases / 100K / day today.  Round that to 39.  The week-to-week percent increase remains below 50%.  What appears to be a sharp uptick (circled below) is just an artifact of methods, from all the states that failed to report data over the weekend, then caught up to their trend on Monday.

Data source for this and other graphs of new case counts:  Calculated from The New York Times. (2021). Coronavirus (Covid-19) Data in the United States. Retrieved 8/10/2021, from”  The NY Times U.S. tracking page may be found at

Just to put this in perspective, at the current rate, we now are cleanly under two weeks away from topping the peak new case count of the U.S. third (winter) wave.  That’s new.

You don’t have to rely on my calculation.  Just use your eyes to continue the curve.  The graph below shows the entire U.S. pandemic in perspective.  Anybody can see what’s coming absent some unprecedented turnaround in the trend.

Oddly, Florida reported data today.  (In recent weeks, they have only reported Tuesday to Friday.)  And with that, Florida now has the highest rate in the nation, with 135 new cases / 100K / day.  That’s about 50% higher than its previous peak, and easily surpasses Louisiana, with 115.

In fact, only a few states have ever reached that level of new cases / 100K / day.  And none of them reached that with a near-vertical growth curve.

If you don’t think that’s going to be a problem for Florida hospitals, you haven’t been paying attention.  At this point, even the Wall Street Journal is willing to say that there are hospital bed shortages in Florida.

You have to wonder at what point the governor of Florida will gain more political capital by taking this seriously, rather than mocking it. Clearly not yet, because this is still for sale on his website.  In fact, it’s featured on the front page.


Apparently this bit of merch is still considered to be a pretty funny joke in the Sunshine State.  And probably will be, as long as the governor can score points by blaming somebody else (Post #1204).

But to tell the truth, I’m not seeing a lot of serious action anywhere, short of a mask mandate in Louisiana.  Accordingly, I can’t really accuse Florida of malfeasance.  Just bad taste.

Maybe I’ll start a GoFundMe.   The goal would be to raise enough money to buy thousands of the beer cozies pictured above.  Then send one to the family of every Floridian who dies of COVID-19 this month.

Maybe follow that up with some packets of t-shirts, for all the ICU staffs around the state.  Kind of a thank-you by proxy, from the governor.