The News is Bad from Georgia

This is an update on a series of post about Georgia and the effect of relaxing restrictions on activity.  If you’ve been following the story, this post is somewhat repetitive, but I’d rather not leave newcomers behind. As of 14 July Georgia seemed to be bucking the trend of increasing deaths (but not of increasing ‘cases’ however defined).  No longer.  Page down past the map to the chart with 3 tabs —  cases (which means daily newly diagnosed cases), cumulative cases, and death.  Clicking on the tabs will move you back and forth (or better if your screen is big enough open the link twice and compared cases vs. deaths.

Georgia has changed the way it reports cases, no longer waiting 14 days before result are secure.  I also think they changed some of the older numbers.  I don’t recall seeing over 70 deaths in a day in May and June, yet the current chart shows 4 of them.  There is no way to get the old reports from the Georgia department of health, by clicking on the links in the old posts on the subject.  They all take you to the current one.

The 7 day average of deaths back in 25 April was 35, new cases  740 based on detection of viral genome or antibodies to it — not sick people

Sadly now the 7 day average of death is now 45 and new cases 3700.

The charts allow you to see when both new cases and deaths began to rise.  The number of new cases began to spike 16 June and the number of death began to increase 19 July (eyeball the charts, and you’ll see that these are not precise numbers.  So there was about a 1 month lag between the increases.

So were the doom and gloom sayers correct?  Here they are again to refresh your memory.

From The Atlantic — “Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice — The state is about to find out how many people need to lose their lives to shore up the economy.” —

Possibly they were right, but deaths actually decreased for a month or two after 25 April hitting a low of 13 daily deaths on 2 July.   I don’t think any of them predicted a lag of 2 months before the apocalypse.

Most likely it was a change in behavior.  Have a look at this   It may not be a COVID party in name, but it is in fact.

At first glance it appears that they are trying for a Darwin award, but on second glance, based purely on a cost benefit analysis (to them only) the chances of a healthy 18 – 20 year old dying from COVID19 are less than 1 in a thousand.  Libido is incredibly intense at that age.   I’m not sure what I would have done in their shoes.  Here are some statistics from Florida with numbers large enough to be significant

Here is some older data from Florida  (from their department of health) —

Age  Range     Number of Cases  Number of Hospitalizations Deaths

14 – 24              54,815                                503                                    12

25 – 34             70,030                              1,315                                    34

This is a risk of death if you are a ‘case’ however defined of less than 1/2,000.

This is age range of most of folks in the video. Further more recent examples are lifeguards in NY and on Cape Cod.

Think of all the gay men who knew full well how AIDS was transmitted, still got it and died.  Libido is powerful.  The classic example is Randy Shilts who wrote the magnificent “And the Band Played On” in 1987 about the early days of the epidemic.  He knew everything there was to know about the way the AIDS virus (HIV1) was transmitted yet he himself died of AIDS.

Further examples are lifeguards in NY and on Cape Cod.

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  • Anon  On July 29, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    I think you keep downplaying the effects of the virus by focusing on the death toll. People who test positive with very MINOR symptoms lose their sense of smell or taste for long periods of time. I guarantee you wouldn’t want to take that risk just because the chances of virus killing you is so low. People who are hospitalized suffer fatigue long after being released and probably their future health is in jeopardy.

    • Peter Shenkin  On July 30, 2020 at 10:40 am

      I don’t see luysii downplaying anything. I just see him describing what’s out there. I don’t see him giving advice. It’s the people engaging in the dangerous behavior who are evaluating the risk and making their decisions, as was the case with AIDS.

    • luysii  On July 30, 2020 at 11:34 am

      Anon– thanks for commenting:

      I’m not downplaying the effects of the virus. Being over 80 I naturally focus on death as my chances of surviving it are far from the 1/2,000 of people under 35. Peter is right, I’m just describing what’s out there, not what we’d like to be out there.

      This is typical of the MD’s approach, typified by Everett Koop and AIDS back in the 80s. Koop was a devout Christian who likely regarded homosexuality as sinful, as Reagan probably did. Like it or not, to deal with the problem of AIDS as a surgeon general, he had to put all that aside (which he did to the tune of a lot of criticism from the right).

      Similarly, to deal with the pandemic we must recognize the behavior currently out there, otherwise we’re flying blind.

      • Mark Thorson  On July 30, 2020 at 1:44 pm

        At your age, what do you think the risk is? I ask because my mom is a little older than you and she might have the virus. Still remains to see whether she really has symptoms, but I’m worried.

      • luysii  On July 30, 2020 at 1:49 pm

        This was the state of play in Massachusetts nearly 3 months ago — while the remaining oldsters of my acquaintance are vigorously self isolating — I think the old mortality rates still apply.

        At an age when we should all be hunkered down, here are the latest statistics from Massachusetts

        As of 4 May 2020 324,268 have been tested for the presence of the viral genome (not for antibodies to the virus). Some 69,087 people had the virus in them. Of these some 9,133 cases were over 80

        The number of deaths due to the virus in the Massachusetts population is 4,090 of which 63% were in those over 80 — meaning that 2,576 deaths were in the over 80 set

        This gives a mortality in the over 80 age group due to the coronavirus of 2,576/9,133 or 28%. While pretty scary it is not nearlyas bad as I thought it would be. Even if you get it, you have a greater than 2 out of 3 chance of surviving.

        Ah, the golden years

  • Peter Shenkin  On July 30, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Here’s something I think is odd. I’d have expected deaths vs. time (7-day average) to have the same shape as cases vs. time (7-day average), with some time lag in the region 2-4 weeks, assuming criteria for cases and deaths don’t change with time. But the two curves don’t resemble one another in shape, except that the increase in deaths over July does parallel the increase in cases over June.

    Just looking at monthly approximate averages (eyeballing) of one-month timelagged 7-day averages of cases and deaths, I see:

    (May avg daily deaths) / (Apr avg daily cases) = 32/500 = 6.4%
    (June avg daily deaths) / (May avg daily cases) = 25/750 = 3.3%
    (July avg daily deaths) / (June avg daily cases) = 28/1500 = 1.9%

    So the 1-month timelagged ratio of monthly new deaths to monthly new cases is decreasing. This explains, at a gross level, why the curves don’t have the same shapes.

    I would guess that the reason that the death ratio is going down is because the most vulnerable members of the population get killed off first. Which is probably what we saw in New York.

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