Monday, May 25, 2020

Some Covid-19 stats and My Comments

I've been reviewing the Covid-19 states published in my local paper  and slicing and dicing them and I'd like to share a few with you all.

Just so you know something of my pre-suppositions and prejudices etc., I'm a relatively conservative Republican who doesn't really care for President Trump.  I just consider the alternatives presented to be much worse. However, I do not see this disease as made-up crisis designed to torpedo him (though I do see his opponents trying to use it as such).

I believe human life is important, however I question the those who decry a return to openness by complaining that more lives will be lost and that we are prioritizing money over people. Life is a risk, the question is how much risk are we willing to bear.  In the 1970's the speed limit was lowered to 55 mph to save fuel.  When that was no longer an issue, it was kept that way for years because it saved lives, but eventually people had their way and the state were allowed to set their own speed limits.  Yes, the death toll went up, but I doubt many would vote to reduce them.

My car insurance company has sent me refunds the last two months--it seems that with everyone staying home, car accidents have decreased.  Maybe we should stay on lock-down forever to keep people from dying in car accidents?  This weekend I went out in the boat with my brother.  I'm guessing I took a much bigger risk by getting in that boat than I did by being close to him, someone who doesn't live with me, yet while there are plenty of people who would question my judgment in being close to him, few would consider me reckless for going on a boat ride.

I think a few week lockdown to let the doctors and hospitals get a handle on this thing was probably a good idea; however, the longer it goes on the more I question whether it is worth it.

Who Is Getting Covid-19, and Who Is Dying?

I've been drafting this post for almost a month.  The initial figures shown were as of May 5. While I can't find the site I used to get the population distribution, it was as of 2017 and represented the population of the whole U.S.  I have no idea whether Louisiana is similar to the U.S. as a whole or whether there has been a notable change since 2017.  Anyway, I looked at what percent of the overall population was represented by each age group, what percent of the Covid-19 cases occurred in that age group, what percent of the deaths are in that age group, and what percent of the people that age who tested positive ended up dying.  On May 25, I updated the figures. As of May 5 I found

Age 0-19:

Children make up 25% of the population but only 1.3% of those who have tested positive. They make up less than 1% of the dead.  Of those 18 and under who tested positive, 0.2% died.

Update:  Another child died, which increased kids' % of total cases to 2%. Kids make up 0.07% of the dead and of the diagnosed kids 0.24% died.

Age 20-29:

People age  20-29 make up 14% of the population but only 11.6% of those who have tested positive.  Only 0.3% of the dead were in their 20's.  Of those who tested positive, 0.2% died.

Update:  Now those in their 20's make up 14% of positive test and 0.34% of the dead. 0.17% of the diagnosed died.


Age 30-39:

13.3% of the population is in their 30's, but they comprise 15.8% of those who have tested positive.  Only 1.8% of the dead were in their 30's.  Of those who tested positive,  0.7% died.

Update:  17.2% of positive tests were to people in their 30's. 1.75% of the dead were in their 30's and of those who tested positive, 0.76% died.


Age 40-49: 

Though people in their 40's make up  12.38% of the population, they comprise 17% of those who tested positive and 3.8 % of the dead. Of 40-somethings who tested positive, 1.5% died.

Update: 18.13% of positives were to 40-somethings. 3.7% of the dead were in their forties and of those who tested positive, 1.54% died. 

Age 50-59:

Those in their 50's are 13.1% of population but 19% of those who tested positive.  They make  up 8.6% of the dead and of those who tested positive, 3% died.

Update: 20.1% of positive tests were to folks in their 50's. 8.95%of the dead were that age. 3.3% of the people who tested positive died.


Age 60-69:

While those age 60-69 make up  11.3% of population they make up 16.6 % of those who tested positive and  18.2% of the dead.  Of those who tested positive, 7.4% died.

Update:  16.8% of those who tested positive were in their 60's, and 18.35% of the dead.  8.16% of those who tested positive died.


Age 70+

Those aged 70+  are 11% of the population but  25% of those who tested positive. and 68 % of the dead have been elderly and of those in this age group who tested positive, 25% died.   

Update:  19.1% of those who have tested positive are older than 70. 66.77 of the dead are. 26.2% of those diagnosed died.     

While these numbers clearly show that this disease is most dangerous to the old, I found another statistic in the paper to be interesting:  As of May 13, 863 of the state's 2315 deaths were nursing home residents.  According to this website,  85% of nursing home residents are 75 or older, and about 5% of the elderly are in nursing homes at any one time. As of May 25, 987 deaths were to nursing home residents and there had been about 4000 infections.  The total number of deaths in the state was 2585.

So, using the format above and assuming that 90% of nursing home residents are over 70 (my estimate no figures to back it up, but my guess is that more than 90% are over 70), let's do some math.

There have been 6625 cases in people over 70.  If there were 4,000 nursing home cases and 90% of them were in the elderly, that means that about 3600 cases were in nursing home residents over 70.  That leaves 3025 cases for the non-residents.  In percents, about 10.5% of the overall cases were in nursing home residents over 70 and about 8.85% were in those over 70, not in nursing homes.

There have been 987 deaths among nursing home residents.  That is 38.1 percent of overall deaths.  If 90% of those deaths were to people over 70, then 888 of the 1729 deaths to those over 70 were in nursing homes. (51.3% of elderly deaths were to nursing home residents)

Those aged 70+  and in a nursing home are  are (11% * 5%* 90%) of the population (0.495%), 10.5% of the diagnosed cases and 34.3%  of the dead. If there were 3600 infected people and 888 deaths, those getting it had a 26% change of dying.

Those aged 70+  and  NOT in a nursing home are  are 10.45% (11% * 95%) of the population and represent about 3025 cases, which is about 8% of the cases.  There have been 1729 deaths to those over 70.  If we subtract the 888 to nursing home residents over 70, we get  841, which is 33% of the dead.  27.8% of those over 70, not in a nursing home, who got it, died.

About the Curve

Every day publishes how many new people have tested positive, how many people are in the hospital and how many people died.  Honestly, I've never been very interested in the number of positive tests.  At first they were limiting who could get tested, then they were encouraging lots of folks to test.  I think one thing everyone agrees on is that lots of people have been infected who have never tested positive. 

The hospitalization numbers, on the other hand, I have found to be interesting. In Louisiana, hospitalizations peaked at 2084 on April 11.  Ventilator use peaked on April 3, at 571.  In March, about 1/3 of those who were hospitalized were on ventilators.  The percent of hospital patients on ventilators peaked on March 27, when 36% of hospitalized patients were on ventilators, and it has been falling ever since.  Less than 15% of  hospitalized patients were on ventilators by the middle of May, and looking at the dates between May 12 and May 24, about 12% of hospitalized patients are on ventilators--so much for the idea that we needed to stockpile them and that they were going to save us in this crisis.  

The day with the highest number of deaths was April 13 when 2034 people were hospitalized.  I was curious about how the deaths compared to the hospitalized people.  If you divide the day's deaths but its hospitalized population, between March 23 and April 12, on average 2.8% of the patients died each day. The worst day was March 31 when 3.9% of the patients died.  Between April 13 and May 13, an average of 2.83% of the hospitalized people  died each day.  Ten of  days between April 13 and April 30 were above that average,whereas from May 1 to May 13, only 4 were. It seems that they are getting a better handle on how to treat it--either that, or less sick people are being admitted to the hospital.

Update:  Between May 12 and May 24, an average of 2.3% of the hospitalized people died each day. In the first seven days, five were above that average, in the last seven days, only two were.  

What I'd Like to Know

I've left comments on the paper's facebook page with questions I'd like to know the answers to, but was told they report the data they get from the state.  I know some of the numbers I'd like to see may not be flattering to one hospital or the other or may be considered invasive of the privacy of people, but nevertheless, here are some things I'd like to know:

What's the total number of people who have been hospitalized for Covid-19 since this began?  Were all the dead in the hospital?  How long was the average patient hospitalized for?  Has that changed over the last two months?  Obviously, ventilators are a lot smaller part of the treatment than they once were.  What other changes have been made in managing this disease?  Have the death rates among the hospitalized gotten better--in other words is my analysis close to correct about that?

Honestly, I really don't care how many people are getting "the crud".  If Covid-19, absent a swab, would be nothing to a particular patient but another seasonal virus that made him or her feel lousy for a few days, I have a hard time getting concerned about it--yes, I know transmission is an issue, but the reality is we will never know how many people have been infected with this.  It appears that there are people who are infected an never have symptoms. There are obviously people who are infected and have never been diagnosed.  That's the main reason I chose to focus on hospitalization numbers rather than case numbers.


  1. Welcome to my reality. Here are our stats (for a totally locked down state) None under 18. 18-34/ 8 people (2%) 35-49/ 9 people (3%) 50-64/ 53 (15%) So that hit just about everyone who is working or in school. 72 people out of 562,000 people. Then you have 65 to 103/ 275 (177 in nursing home deaths). White 62%, Black 25% and Hispanic 7%. We never had more then 350 people in the hospital at a time. We have 2,500 acute care beds. 150 of these deaths were 8-10 weeks AFTER the lock down began.
    I am in my 12th week of lockdown. Every activity that I have been a part of has been canceled. I went from being comfortable to being terribly depressed because I am being "protected". We were promised two weeks.
    My last thought is going to be even more unpopular. I never thought I would see the day that the Catholic Church would choose NOT to do Mass or give Communion in a time of need. Or visit the sick. Or sit with the elderly. To me, this was a HUGE betrayal of everything we were taught- Eucharist is central to our religion. My diocese has just permitted Last Rites, but no Communion for those who are with the dying!

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