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Florida Covid-19 New Cases Slowly Moves Downward

April 17, 2020

The virus is trying to stay alive, but the direction is still downward, as pictured in the model graph below.

Yesterday’s number of new cases spiked to 1200 from the previous day’s 941 cases, a 27% increase in one day, but the overall model’s trajectory continues to point a slow downward movement. These kind of spikes are not unusual so don’t panic yet.

Based on the President’s new virus guidelines for opening up their economies, suggests (requires?) a 14-day downward trajectory in documented new virus cases. It does not specify any number or percentage of decline, just that the trajectory is downward.

Under that criteria, Florida should easily meet that requirement by the end of April. Taking any action is left up to the governor of each state. Personally, I think there should be a maximum number of new cases or at least a maximum percent of new cases to begin the process. In the end, however, it’s up to the governors’ discretion. The President doesn’t want the ball…

As expected, the number of Covid-19 daily deaths have continued to rise, as shown below.

As long as we have new cases, there will be some deaths. But as the number of new cases decline, eventually the number of new deaths will decrease as well.

The national level of new Covid-19 cases continues to decline, but a slower pace, as shown below.

Some of you have seen on TV recent graphs have shown the number of cases rising the last few days.

These are simple bar graphs used to measure linear data. Our model is a cubic regression model, which is more appropriate for the virus. As the new cases are added, the model adjusts the trend line accordingly. One or two days is not a trend.

The model’s direction continues to predict a continued downward motion, but the pace is slower than expected. The last few cases have clustered in a small group but still in a downward motion. Remember that this is a national model and many states have different mitigation policies and the effects of these different policies will have small but diverse outcomes.

The nation’s daily deaths, as you would expect, continue to grow, as displayed in the new graph.

Notice the larger red circle in the upper half of the graph. That represents 6185 deaths in a single day! This unusual spike occurred on April 14. The next day it dropped to 2700 deaths and slowly declined from there.

Why that spike? I really don’t know. It’s probably deaths that occurred earlier but for some reason, were dumped on this date instead.

A large number of nursing home deaths have been occurring nationally. It’s possible that some of these deaths are from nursing homes that have been holding back on notifying their state health departments. If I find out, I’ll pass it along. In any case, this anomaly only marginally effects the model and not the continued direction.

It’s apparent the social distancing requirements are having significant effect on the spread of the virus. That said, the states’ will be walking a tightrope, balancing the virus containment and the desire to get back to normal. Good luck with that…

In the end, some people will be unhappy that we are either not opening up fast enough or opening up too soon. President Trump’s decision to let the Governors’ make the decision how to handle the problem was politically smart.

The new issue is now testing and most experts claim that opening up without adequate testing will likely lead to a resurgence of the virus. Trump has made it clear that it’s the states’ problem.

He hand’s the ball to the Governors’ and then tweets to his base: “liberate” Michigan and Minnesota, putting pressure on those governors’ to open up.

If new cases and deaths spike, it wasn’t his decision, those Governors’ wanted to handle this themselves. If the states go too slow, he could of have done a better job. How can he go wrong.

Be safe and stay at home if you can…

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Florida Continues its Curve Downward

April 15, 2010

The number of new Florida Covid-19 cases continue to decline as our model below shows.

Data as of April 14

Yesterday’s new cases made a significant drop from 1002 to 614, or a 63% decline in one day. Unfortunately, the daily number new deaths are continuing to more upward, from 524 to 591 deaths. Deaths are likely to increase until the number new cases significantly declines, remembering the lag time for Covid deaths is approximately 13 to 18 days from infection.

The national picture is also improving as well, albeit at a slower pace Florida, as shown in the model graph below.

Like Florida, the number of U. S. new cases are also falling as well, along the models projected path (red line). The confidence level of the model is high, with an Rsq. of .973.

Like Florida, the number of national new deaths are still climbing with no end in sight. Eventually, we should see a leveling off on new deaths, but that will depend on new Covid cases declining significantly.

So when can we see an end to new cases? For Florida, the model’s track suggests that the number of new cases will near zero (but not zero) between 45 and 55 days from the beginning cases, which indicates an April 20 through April 30 date. Let’s say May 1st. For the nation, the date is between May 1st to May 15th, if we continue social distancing and stay at home orders.

Deaths, however, will continue to increase for a few weeks because of the lag time between new cases and death. Even after the last of new cases reach zero, deaths will continue to occur.

I’m not as confident in the end dates, since the key variable is human behavior, which is always unpredictable. When we reach those dates, I’ll evaluate the time estimate. Be safe…and stay at home if you can.

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Has the Coronavirus Hurt Donald Trump’s Reelection Chances?

April 14, 2020

With the economy tanking and the coronavirus’ deaths rising, some insiders are beginning to wonder if President Trump’s reelection chances are declining. The Tampa Bay Times recently polled a 160 political insiders and 80% said the Coronavirus has hurt Trump’s chances for another four years in the White House.

To be candid, my own impression of the crisis coincides with these insiders. Trump has made the economy his silver bullet. But as I look from out of my home office window, isolated from the virus world, I wonder if there is an economy anymore and if it will come back by the November.

In addition, his handing of the virus crisis is under attack every day by both the media and the Democrats. Although the President hold’s a TV show every afternoon, even Republicans are wondering if these “press conferences” are hurting or helping his election chances.

But is the Covid-19 virus really hurting him at this point in the election cycle? A recent post in FiveThiryEight (April 14) showed that 47.7% approved of his handling of the crisis, while 48.5% disapproved.

Many of your know my affection for the President’s Job Approval rating as a metric of the President’s popularity. It’s importance is highlighted by the fact that no incumbent president since World War 2 has ever won reelection with an approval rating below 50%. That applies, of course, only to approval ratings just before the election.

Some pollsters have noted a slight rise in Trump’s rating near the end of March, but it quickly returned to its’ mean (around 45%) soon after. Some have attributed this bump to what political scientists call the “rally around the flag” effect, which often occurs around periods of crisis.

So to see if the virus crisis and the economy’s collapse has hurt or helped Trump’s approval rating, I collected 47 days of approval ratings as posted on Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight for every day since January 3. At least one approval poll occurred on each day, with most days having at least 3 to 4 surveys with this metric. When more than one poll occurred on a day, I averaged the rating of all polls for that day.

To determine if there were differences from days before the first virus case and those approval ratings after the US cases started occurring, I split the data into two samples: pre-coronavirus and post-virus periods. The pre-virus cases will act as our control group. (January 3-March 3)

Our control group (pre-virus period) has a job approval mean of 44.2%. The mean for the post-virus group is 45.7%, or a 1.5% difference. To determine if this difference is significant, I used Analysis of the Variance (ANOVA) which is used to determine if there are differences between two groups (pre-virus vs. post-virus). A graphical representation of how similar these two series look like are shown in Chart 1 below.

Chart 1: pre-virus pols (red line) and post -virus polls (blue line)

The ANOVA results shows that the statistical difference is not significant (.675) between the two groups. In other words, there is no difference between the polls before the virus epidemic and those conducted after the Covid-19 cases and deaths became public in the US.

This result also negates the idea that there was a significant bump in Trump’s Job Approval when the initial covid-19 cases occurred that many have suggested was a “rally around the flag” effect. It was just a random bleep.

All of this surprises me, but has confirmed my inability to find trends in Trump’s job rating as the number of new cases rose. Initially, in times of crisis, voters generally support their elected leaders. That has not happened here. As the crisis worsens, voters often recant their initial approval. That hasn’t happened yet either, and I’m not sure it ever will.

My only explanation is that the Trump base is made of granite. And the non-Trump group’s negative ratings are not abating either. Each side has made up their mind and even an endorsement from the Lord Himself isn’t going to change people’s opinions. God Bless…

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We are headed down the Curve!

April 13, 2020

Mark this date down on your calendar, it’s the day we started toward normality. Our latest model shows that Florida has peaked and begun the long trek downward to no new virus cases, as shown in Chart 1 below.

Chart 1

Notice at just past the peak of the curve (red line) there is a cluster of cases on the early downside. This is an early sign of q decline in new cases. There are of couple of outliers, but they are new cases that are even lower than the cluster cases. All point toward the beginning of fewer cases.

That doesn’t we mean are out of the woods yet. There still could be few bumps along the way, but it all points to a downward trend. That is, if we continue social distancing.

There is a similar pattern developing at the national level as well, although slightly behind Florida, as shown in Chart 2 below.

Chart 2

There is a clear peak here as well and the beginning of lower data points (new cases). Like the Florida model, the red trend line predicts a steady decline in new cases.

Although this very good news, it’s the just the beginning. of long process to normalcy. Stay at home and wear a mask when out, or you still end up on the chart below: Covid-19 daily deaths.

Unfortunately, the number of Florida daily Covid-19 deaths continue to climb. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the time lag between new deaths and new cases is approximately 13 to 18 days from infection. Deaths will likely continue to rise until there is a significant decline in new cases over a few weeks.

The same is true for the national virus epidemic as well, as demonstrated in the model’s estimate below.

National daily deaths, continue to climb as well, but unlike Florida, there are some early signs of slowing down, which is surprising. Yesterday, some 1528 deaths in the US. The day before, there were 1830 deaths recorded. This could be just a random event, but the next few days will confirm or reject this early trend. I will keep watching it….

What is the Doctor Politics Coronavirus Model

The basis for using a polynomial model is that the data you are exploring is non-linear. Meaning that one data point is not a linear relationship to another data point. In the case of new virus cases, we would not expect the number of new cases to move solely in a straight line. Our expectation (hypothesis) is that as the number of new cases increases, it will likely hit a plateau and eventually slow down and then decline, making curve at the top as it progresses.

This assumption requires a curvilinear model to track that change. This requires a method that follows the “curves.” Normally a quadratic regression model would be used, but that model only allows for data that curves in one direction and in a U or convex pattern. In the case of a virus, the data could wander in both directions (convex and concave).

The best method for this type of data is called a cubic regression model, which allows for data that can curve in both directions (convex/concave) and it uses three cubed predictors.

In the simplest of terms, the model can track the non-linear virus data points (a curve), and use that movement to predict the virus’s likely future path. Cubic regression has been used to explore complex DNA changes and in sophisticated stock market models.

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Florida New Cases Beginning the Curve?

April 11, 2020

After stalling at the top, Florida’s new Covid-19 cases looks like it’s starting a slight downward slope. The Chart below shows our polynomial trend line still bending downward as new data fills in behind it.

We should see more confirmation in the next few days. But for now, our model continues to point toward a coming decline in new Covid cases. Deaths, however, continue to increase due to the lag time between new cases and and death.

The CDC estimates, based on data from China, that from the onset of pneumonia to death is 13 days. Symptoms of Covid-19 usually start within five days from infection. Using that range, we can broadly estimate that from infection to death would take approximately 18 days from contracting Covid-19 and death. Death, of course, is still relatively a rare event, since the estimated Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is only 3.4%. For every 1000 new cases, results in 34 covid-19 deaths.

The US numbers also appear to be near a peak in new cases as well, as shown in our national model below.

The trend line is also bending downward but the data points are still just below the expected peak. We need more confirmation that the number of new cases has declined before we can say the peak has arrived nationally. But the signs are encouraging. As you would expect, the number of new deaths continues to significantly out pace the number of new cases.

I will continue to post these estimates daily, so keep checking.

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Florida Has likely Peaked

Friday April 11, 2020

Today’s Florida coronavirus model strongly suggests the state has reached or nearly reached the peak of the virus epidemic, as shown in Chart 1 below.

Chart 1

Over the last few days, new Florida Covid cases have clustered at the top of the trend line (red) of our exclusive polynomial model (cubic). The model is expecting a trend downward, suggesting that Florida’s new cases will soon begin to decline.

The national numbers show that the peak hasn’t arrived yet. But the model’s projection, continues to suggest that a peak is coming.

In both Florida and the nation, the number of deaths are still climbing reflecting the lag time between new cases and death. As the number of new cases decline, we should begin to see a drop in these numbers as well. Be safe and keep watching for future estimates.

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What’s up with RASMUSSEN’S Recent Polls?

If you are political junkie, I’m sure that you are aware of the regular differences between most pollsters and the Rasmussen Reports Surveys. As an example, during the first two and half months of this year, Rasmussen’s average daily Trump job approval rating was nearly five points higher than the average of all other polls taken during the same days.

There a few reasons for this disparity starting with the survey method Rasmussen uses to contact and interview voters. The firm uses an automated call method (sometimes known as a “robo call”). As an old pollster, I have had some experience using this telephone technique and it has some advantages over the traditional live phone surveys and some serious disadvantages.

First and foremost, its fast and less expensive compared to live call surveys. Secondly, since the call is automated, the survey script is the same for every respondent. No adlibbing from the surveyor. And possibly, some people might be more honest with the computer than with a live caller.

There are two major downsides, however, to the automated call. Most importantly, no cell phones can be called by the machine. Consequently, the number of younger voters responding is small and the sample respondents tend to be older.

That may increases the number of likely voters, but the sample tends to be older and more Republican. Rasmussen also weights its respondents according by party as well.

On the opposite side, many public pollsters still survey all residents and don’t differentiate whether the respondent is either registered or a likely voter. This allows for more comparisons with previous surveys done in the past, but probably reduces the accuracy that a likely registered voter survey would have.

But none of this is new to you political junkies. What you may not know, is how the Rasmussen’s Trump approval ratings have declined in recent weeks. As I regularly record the approval ratings on almost a daily basis, I have noticed a recent change in the Rasmussen numbers. The Chart below shows the Rasmussen approval ratings (red line) and every other polling company’s poll results (blue line) on the same day as listed on the Real Clear Politics website.

Although this chart looks like Rorschach Test, it is tracking the Rasmussen Trump approval ratings (red line) versus the cumulative average poll ratings of all other firms (blue line), from January through April 6th.

If you look closely, you will notice that at the end of February, the Rasmussen rating took a dramatic drop from 52% to 44% in less than 30 days, an 18% decline. At the same time, other pollsters were recording higher approval numbers until the end of March, when they also declined as well. For those who are color blind, the table below will help.

RASMUSSEN  TRUMP APPROVAL %OTHER POLLS %
5247
4741
4644
4744
4845
4841
4744
4842
4845
4746
4846
4943
4743
4644
4646
4749
4648
4550
4648
4649
4647
4648
4547
4746
4845
4845
4446
4445

The average Rasmussen Trump approval percent in this time period is 46% and the average of other polls is 45.5%. In other words, the Rasmussen job approval polls are tracking all other public polls which in my experience is highly unusual.

Most commentators that have noticed these recent lower approval ratings have posited it’s the public’s reaction to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. If this is true, the Rasmussen polls could be like the canary in the coal mine.

Their survey still represents the opinions of many in the Trump base. If they are having misgivings about how he is handling the crisis, it would have a serious effect on his reelection chances, to say the least.

But it could easily turnaround before we get to November. If Rasmussen doesn’t show a Job Approval rating of 50% by then, he’ll be playing golf at his course by Christmas.

I will continue to monitor the Rasmussen Trump surveys to see if the recent data is an aberration or a trend. Rasmussen may end up being the best predictor of Trump’s election fate! Who would have guessed…

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FLORIDA’S NEW COVID CASE’S CURVE CONTINUES

Thursday April 9, 2020

The latest Florida new cases data (April 8) continues to show a curve downward, as shown in Graph 1 below.

Graph 1: Florida New Covid Cases Trend

The daily change is not significant but is still encouraging. Just as a recap, this graph is created by using a polynomial regression method (cubic) which in simple terms, predicts the direction of the new cases based on past data in the model. The red line estimates the expected path of new cases based on previous entered data.

This is not the same type of model you hear about on TV or see in the news. Those models are mainly based on data from countries like China and Italy. Using this data, researchers calculate mathematically how many people are susceptible, how many are infectious, and how many are recovered (or dead) and presumably immune. This is a simple explanation of a very complicated model.

NEW COVID-19 DEATHS

Unfortunately, Florida’s daily deaths continue to climb without any sign of slowing down, as shown in Graph 2 below.

As I have explained previously, deaths from the virus are always going to lag behind the number of cases. But we can estimate the future number of deaths based on the number of confirmed Covid cases.

This is called the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) and it is calculated for the United States currently at 3.40, or 3.4%. of all Covid confirmed cases. (https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/global-covid-19-case-fatality-rates/)

That means for every 1000 Covid-19 cases, 34 will ultimately succumb to the virus. That may not sound significant, but today Florida added 1125 new cases, which translates to eventually 38 deaths. It adds up!

The national new cases are also continuing to show some curvature as well, as shown in Graph 3 below.

Graph 3

You can see that the model continues to show a slight curve forming. Like Florida’s estimate, it’s too early to confirm that new cases will decline at this point. But its still a good sign and at least the number of new Covid cases is slowing.

And finally, like Florida the number of US deaths continue to climb, as displayed in the graph below.

This, of course, is no surprise and like Florida, the daily deaths will continue to rise until we see a significant decline in new cases. Remember that for every 30 new Covid cases, forecasts one new death.

Tomorrow is another day and maybe we will see a substantive downward move. Stop by and check it out.

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UPDATE ON THE CURVE

April 8, 2020

Just added new data to the Curve polynomial regression model and the trend toward a curve continues, as shown in Chart 1 below.

Chart 1: Florida New Virus Cases

The red trend line is starting to bend, but at this point I wouldn’t send out those “After Coronavirus Party”invitations just yet. This trend line seems a little too curved considering the latest Covid cases. One of the data points could be an outlier. We need a few more confirming cases before we know if this is the real deal.

Chart 2: Daily Florida Deaths

The current trend line is still moving upward, which is expected at this point since there is a significant lag time between when new cases appear and when a victim succumbs to the virus.

Chart 3: NATIONAL NEW COVID CASES

The latest national data is also beginning show a slight curve now as well. This is encouraging since it seems to be following, although slower, the Florida model. Perhaps a confirmation the trend is national.

Chart 4: National Daily Virus Deaths

And the national pattern for daily deaths nearly matches the Florida model as well, as shown in Chart 4 above. Again, there is considerable a considerable lag between a new case and an eventual new case. The US fatality rate is currently 3.13% of new confirmed cases.

I’ll be updating these charts to see if they are false alarms or actually the beginning of the big curve. So check in regularly so can tell all our friends how you predicted when the great coronavirus curve began. Stay safe…

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THE CURVE IS THE WORD… ARE WE THERE YET?

In a recent post, I explained the difference between a linear graph for non linear data and why it does not reflect the nuances shown in a non-linear (polynomial) model. In this post I will update the latest data (as of April 6) and see if the we can finally see a light at the end of this virus tunnel, hoping it isn’t a an oncoming train.

I have created four different models covering both national and Florida data for new Covid-19 cases and daily virus deaths. I have chosen new positive cases because this is where the whole process starts. No new cases equals no new future deaths over time.

Daily deaths will, of course, lag behind new cases but it in time the two variables should equal 0 (or near zero). There are, of course, a number of other markers such as new hospitalizations, but they will be highly correlated with new cases.

Let’s begin with the national data starting with daily new virus cases. Chart 1 displays the number of new cases (small circles) starting with the first confirmed cases and up to April 6.

Chart 1: National new cases

The red line is the model’s track of the new cases. Notice the track continues after the last case. This is the models estimate of how the next cases will trend, based on the previous new cases track.

As you can see, there appears to be the beginning of a curve. To emphasize: “it appears to...” New data could easily straighten the line and continue the track upward. now let’s look at what’s happening with national new daily deaths, as shown in Chart 2.

Chart 2

Unlike the new cases model, this one keeps the track on an upward pace, at least in the short term. Remember that deaths have a considerable lag time from new cases, so you wouldn’t expect a nascent curve as shown in the new cases chart. But at this point, I wouldn’t expect an significant changes until the number of new cases significantly slows down.

Now let’s look at how Florida compares to the nation. In Chart 3, we start with the number of new Covid-19 cases.

Chart 3

The Florida model shows a more defined curve projection than the national model. Again, this trend will depend on the next few days of new cases. For all of us Floridians going stir crazy, it at least gives some hope of an end to this confinement. Keep your fingers crossed…

Finally, we look at how Florida’s daily deaths are trending, realizing the significant lag time. Chart 4 displays the number of deaths on a daily basis.

Chart 4

As we saw in the national daily-deaths, the Florida trend line is still moving upward and not slowing down yet. I wouldn’t expect any significant reduction in new deaths until we have a significant slowing down of new cases.

I will be updating these charts regularly, so keep checking in for the latest data. Be the first in your neighborhood to announce “it’s curving!”

Hopefully, this virus siege will slow down soon so we all can get back to our favorite bar. If they are still in business….