IL. Info. THE FIRST WARD CORONAVIRUS REPORT – STILL THE SAME! Jeff Ward


To quote the great Bob Seger! And when it comes to pandemics, “still the same” is a very good thing, too! This time we have seven data points to examine:

Date   Cases   % Increase  N Cases    N Tested  Prevalence  Deaths 

5/1     56,055            5.6          3,137         14,821       1 in 4.7       2,457

5/2     58,505            4.3          2,450         15,208       1 in 6.2       2,559

5/3     61,499            4.8          2,994         19,417       1 in 6.5       2,618

5/4     63,840            3.8          2,341         13,834       1 in 6          2,662

5/5     65,962            3.3          2,122         13,139       1 in 6.2       2,838

5/6     68,232            3.4          2,270         14,974       1 in 6.6       2,974

5/7     70,873            3.8          2,641         17,783       1 in 6.7       3,111

5/8     73,760            4.0          2,887         20,671       1 in 7.1       3,241

5/9     76,085            3.1          2,325         16,617       1 in 7.1       3,349

5/10   77,741            2.1          1,656         13,653       1 in 8.2       3,406

5/11   79,007            1.6          1,266         12,441       1 in 9.8       3,459

5/12   83,021            5.0          4,014         29,266       1 in 7.3       3,601

5/13   84,698            2.0          1,677         17,688       1 in 10.5     3,792

5/14   87,937            3.8          3,239         22,678       1 in 7          3,928

5/15   90,368            2.6          2,431         26,565       1 in 10.9     4,058

5/16   92,457            2.3          2,089         23,047       1 in 11        4,129

5/17   94,191            1.8          1,734         20,295       1 in 11.7     4,177


Illinois has now tested 581,944 of its citizens, and as a result of 26 percent better testing, we did move past Massachusetts into third place in the national rankings. Meanwhile, the mortality rate, currently stuck at 4.4 percent, has been flat for a month which means it won’t likely change anytime soon.

And yes! On May 12 we did set a new daily case record, but that’s clearly the result of a record 30,000 test results. We also saw a spike in coronavirus casualties between the 12th and 15th, but as has previously been the case, they quickly fell to a cyclical low of just 48 yesterday.

If you’d asked me to predict how those deaths would plot on a graph at the outset of the pandemic, I would’ve bet they’d eventually come to to some sort of equilibrium, but that clearly not the case here. I’m not sure why those deaths move in waves, but that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Considering that Illinoisans are not staying home and they’ve completely given up on social distancing, that generally flat but slowly declining new daily case percentage is a really good sign.

But the better news is the continuing downward ICU bed trend:

Date   ICU Beds     %+     Ventilators      %+

5/5         1,266        2.7            780               2.2

5/6         1,231       -2.7            780               0.0

5/7         1,253        1.7             766             -1.8

5/8         1,222       -2.4            727             -5.0

5/9         1,215       -0.5            739              1.6

5/10       1,232        1.3            709             -3.9

5/11       1,248        1.2            730              2.9

5/12       1,215       -2.6            730              0.0

5/13       1,208       -0.5            714             -2.1

5/14       1,132       -6.2             689             -3.5

5/15       1,129       -0.2             675             -2.0

5/16       1,135        0.5            653             -3.2

5/17       1,144        0.7            735             12.0

That number has gone up the last two days, but it’s still well below our April 28 1,290 high. It appears there was a massive spike in ventilator usage, but past history would indicate an unprecedented 12 percent jump is likely a result of human error. If we see an equal and opposite plunge today, that will tell the tale.

But the best news is, what class? That’s right! The prevalence backed off to a rather shocking 1 in 11.7! Again! That means it took almost 12 tests to get one positive result. And the fact that      a whopping 20,295 tests produced only 1,734 positive results is huge!

Considering its former tight range, the last time we talked, that retreat made me a little nervous in the sense that it seemed too good to be true, but not only has that trend persisted, but it seems to be accelerating, so it wasn’t an anomaly after all.

Just two weeks ago, 20,295 tests would’ve meant 3,123 new COVID-19 cases! Again, there are only three prevalence possibilities here:

  1. We’re testing a lot more asymptomatic people

  2. The disease has become less contagious

  3. We’re developing a herd immunity despite the Governors worst efforts

I have no evidence either way, but I find it hard to believe that a generally well person would head over to the perpetually crowded I-88 outlet mall and wait in a very long line to be tested. And with limited test availability still being the norm, I’m sure hospitals and doctor’s offices aren’t about to waste those precious resources on patients without symptoms.

Since we know the disease hasn’t become less virulent, that leaves us with option three, which again, is a very good sign. As we’ve previously discussed at length, the only way to beat this pandemic, while still maintaining some semblance of an economy, is through herd immunity.

The best evidence for this theory’s soundness lies with those epidemiologists who went nuts when Florida opened their beaches and Georgia opened the entire state. But in the end, none of those portents of doom have come close to fruition. Left to their own devices, people will take the appropriate COVID-19 precautions with or without the State’s heavy-handed “encouragement!”

For the third time in two months, that 30,000 result day and a new 23,300 daily testing average have rendered our five-day new case moving average somewhat meaningless:

Date         5-day M Average

5/5                   2,609

5/6                   2,436

5/7                   2,474

5/8                   2,453

5/9                   2,449

5/10                 2,356

5/11                 2,137

5/12                 2,430

5/13                 2,187

5/14                 2,371

5/15                 2,526

5/16                 2,690

5/17                 2,234

but even though it’s certainly bouncing around a bit, the trend is still down.

So, though I will continue to publish at least one coronavirus report a week, aside from the prevalence, until we have a vaccine or develop that vaunted herd immunity, I don’t see any significant statistical shifts going forward.

The mortality rate and new daily case percentage will both stay flat, and with one exception, our new daily case range seems locked between 1,600 and 3,000. With the prevalence consistently retreating, it would seem that range will apply even if the average daily testing number makes another leap.

So, like I said last time, at this flattened curve stage of the Illinois pandemic, our most recent two-week numbers are as about as good as it’s gonna get! Aside from falling in love with their new emergency powers, I can understand why the Governor and Chicago Mayor are insisting on wreaking economic havoc by refusing to lift the shelter-in-place order.

But they’re certainly not asking me for my opinion. Please stay safe!

Jeff Ward:


https://thefirstward.net/


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