Situational Awareness: Nov 11
Situational Awareness: Nov 11
Today, I am giving an abbreviated report.
Big picture: We are well into the fall surge in COVID-19 Cases. I do not know how bad it will get, but it is getting worse.
Local: The caseload in Vienna doubled in the last month, but leveled off. Because the case numbers are low, random variations can make it more difficult to assess the trends. But they are increasing. Elsewhere in NOVA, cases are increasing with a doubling rate of about 45 days.
Yesterday, VA reported 1,594 new cases of COVID. The data were reported by VDH on Nov 11, 2020 were well above (nearly 2 standard deviation) of the three-week bias-adjusted average of 1,021 cases. Today was the fifth highest caseload for Virginia, out of 240 days.
Viewed over the last seven days, VA reported 10,670 cases, or 1,524 cases per day, which works out to 18.3 cases/100K people. This is the highest verified weekly number during the pandemic, though it is likely the May numbers were significantly under-reported by a factor of four. The best way to demonstrate that is through hospitalizations which peaked at 1,600 in early May but are currently at 1285 (but increasing rapidly). Since hospitalizations should not be impacted by testing levels that provides a strong indication that the caseload was probably higher in May, but underreported.
The trends over the last three weeks now are showing a minimal increase at 1.70% per day or 12% per week.
By combining our current regional trends with the typical reporting for the day of the week, I expect about 1798 cases tomorrow (Wed) with a 90% chance of the numbers falling between 1448 to 2235 cases. If tomorrow's numbers differ from that, we will have a very rare event. This is useful to consider if I am unable to report tomorrow since you can compare the state reported numbers with this.
The testing numbers now show the percent positive to be above the the 5% metric over the last week (6.4%) which is often used to indicate sufficient testing. VA is testing about 2.8% of the population every two weeks .
When we look at the local ZIP code data, we see that the observed increases are almost universal across VA. I am comparing the current estimated % positive to that of one month ago. Note that almost all is a warmer color (further from blue and closer to yellow). This is an indication of the uniformity of the increase. As a practical matter, it means to be safe and careful, no matter where in VA you live, there is risk, and it is increasing.
In the spring, COVID-19 in VA was primarily a concern in the DC suburbs. Over three to four weeks, (from late May to early June), NOVA recovered and for about a month the disease was under control to the point that restrictions were eased. Unfortunately, in eastern VA/Hampton Roads, the easing of restrictions resulted in a surge in cases which peaked just before August 1st resulting in stricter restrictions in that area. Since then, with the exception of growth on college campuses, the disease has been stable, excluding the rural parts of the state where safeguards (social distancing and masks) are largely ignored. Starting in October our weekly case count has been increasing throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in NOVA and SWVA.
The different regions within the state continue to track one and other.