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…

By Jim Kane

Jim Kane is a pollster and media advisor, and was for fifteen years an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. Kane is founder of the polling firm USAPoll and served as the Director of the Florida Voter Poll. His political clients have included both Republican and Democratic candidates, including the Republican Party of Florida, and both the Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel newspapers. At the University of Florida, Professor Kane taught graduate level courses in political science on Survey Research, Lobbying and Special Interest Groups in America, Political Campaigning, and Political Behavior. In addition to his professional and academic career, Jim Kane has been actively involved in local and state policy decisions. He was elected to the Broward County Soil and Water Conservation Board (1978-1982) and the Port Everglades Authority (1988-1994). Kane also served as an appointed member of the Broward County Planning Council (1995-2003), Broward County Management Review Committee (Chair, 1990-1991), Broward County Consumer Protection Board (1976-1982), and the Broward County School Board Consultants Review Committee (1986-1990).


  1. Down trend appears to be based on about 4 down days. Deaths (lagging indicator) still rising.
    Does the cubic function fit imply that 1 person infects 3 others unless restricted by social distancing measures?

    1. Peter, Cubic regression is a non-linear model that uses previous data points to predict future movement, but not the actual number of new cases or deaths. The R square statistic measures how well the model fits the data (R square values in the .900> range are extremely good. As the infection rate (R0) is calculated based on Covid-19, sometimes using experiences from other countries. In other countries the R0 was 1.1 to 3.2 additional cases per contact. A R0 (pronounced Row-naught) of -1 means the virus will eventually die out on its own (like SARS). New York state is now claiming a R0 .9, but I’m skeptical. The Covid-19 in the US is about 2.2, which means that one infected case infects over two other people. In contrast, the R0 for the ordinary flu is 1.3, so you can see how contagious this virus is when infected people come in contact with other people. The reason the number new cases are declining is due to social distancing and stay at home policies. Jim

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