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The Half-Time Score Of COVID-19

By Brian Woolf
July 2, 2020

June 30 marked 2020's half-time. Like a layman watching college football on TV, I wonder how the second half will play out. Will it have higher or lower scores than the first half? Has our team's coach assessed our bad calls and fumbles; Does he have corrective plans in place? And has he sorted out the other side's surprise plays and figured out ways to neutralize any repeats?

Now, to win at football, you have to understand what the game's "stats" are telling you. The same applies to our game against Covid-19. So here are a few observations about the game so far, using the YTD June 30th stats. This website is updated daily and I find it the best source for CV data. The stats were re - sorted into a format CV coaches might understand.
After studying the data, two thoughts are likely to lodge in the CV coach's mind:

1. There's a general trend that as Density increases, so does the Death Rate.
Which means that as a state's density [number of people per square mile, or ppsm] increases, the higher is the state's percentage of people dying from the virus. This is seen in Table 0, a summary of the first half's scorecard for all 50 states. It is broken into 5 Groups (aka Norm Forms). Group 1 shows the average CV stats of those 10 states with the lowest density ; conversely, Group 5 shows the same CV metrics for those 10 states with the highest density.

Table 0 tells the CV coach four things:
1. The average density of all five groups of states is 87 ppsm - with Group Densities ranging from 10 ppsm in the lowest Group to 371 ppsm in the highest (see col d).

2. In the Death Rate (DR%) column (col k), we see that CV's first half - year's death rate (ie, deaths / population) for the 50 states was 0.0382%. Rounded, that's 0.04%. Translated into English, that means that four one - hundredths of 1% of the population died from CV in the first half - year. That percentage can be restated using a simple metaphor - Think of a town in your state with 10,000 people. Well, 0.04% of 10,000 is 4 people. So, in this year's first half, the average town of 10,000 people lost 4 people to CV (ie, less than one person a month).

3. In that same column (col k), it's possible you noticed that citizens in the lowest - density Group (Group 1) had a DR% one seventh the size of the highest density group, Group 5. (Calcn: 0.0116% is approx. one seventh of 0.0820%). What this says is that while the average 10,000 - person town in Group 1 lost about one person to CV in the first half of 2020, a town of the same size in Group 5 lost about 8 people. [An explanation why the DR% is higher in denser areas is in the previous post.]

4. And here's another way to look at that 0.04% CV death number. Since CV appeared on the US scene in February, 99.96% of the population, (ie, nearly all Americans!) dodged the CV bullet - despite the CV horror stories that play nightly on TV.

2. We must fight fear with facts
Over 60 years ago (yes, there was life on the planet then), one of the most - quoted TV lines was that of Dragnet's Joe Friday: "Just the facts, ma'am." A good coach does the same thing. He fights fear with facts and perspective. He teaches his team to put fear of the competition into perspective by acknowledging the competitor's strengths yet also minimizing it by putting it into perspective and showing how it can be overcome.

We should do the same. How? For example, by thinking of the 10,000 - person town we live in and how low the risk of us of dying from Covid-19 in the first half really was - and still is.

Another way to put fear into perspective is, when in Table 0, looking at the 0.80% at the bottom of the Cases/Population column (col l). That is the percentage of Americans in the first half who were infected by the virus. For later discussion purposes, let's round the number up to 1%. Remember that cases include those labeled asymptomatic (ie, where you don't even know you are infected until it's detected in a CV test), together with mild and serious infections.

A question. What percentage of Americans who were infected with the virus in the first half of 2020, later died? The answer? - 4.8% (say 5%), seen at the bottom of Deaths/Cases (col j).

So, if Joe Friday were to ask you for "just the facts" about what chance the average American currently has of dying of CV - 19, you would dazzle him (and your friends) with -

Joe, if the second half of 2020 is no worse than the first half then the average American, between now and Christmas, has only a 1% chance of being infected and - should that small chance of CV infection occur - then he or she has only a 5% chance of later dying from it.

Friends, those are comforting facts - not fearful headlines. So, we too, like a good football coach, armed with our stats, should confidently face the future minimizing the fear that seems to be freely fomented by the sports (or CV) commentators in our TV sets and newspapers.

Remember an old axiom I was once taught: One hard fact pricks many balloons of opinion.


Table 0 gives a summary of the five increasing levels of population density in our 50 states.
The second table, immediately above, dubbed Table G1 (short for Table Group 1), has the same headings as Table 0 but, instead of showing groups, it shows the performance of each of the 10 states that comprise the Group. [Tables G2 - G5 which follow do likewise.]

All five Tables, G1 - 5 have, however, as additional column, Active Cases/Total Cases% (col m). This is an important informational column which tells us that the higher this percentage, the larger the number of new "awaiting to be cured or die" cases there are. [Understand that most high percentages are usually caused by a 'hotspot" of new cases appearing.]

To help you identify those states which varied most from their Group's average, Tables G1 - 5 highlights the best (green) and worst (purple) variances:
  ·  Deaths as a % of the Population (ie, Death Rate %) ... see col k
  ·  Cases as a % of the Population (ie, Infection Rate %) ... see col l
  ·  Active Cases as a % of total Cases ... see col m

Tables G2 - 5 follow.

Copyright © 2020 Brian Woolf

About the author...

Besides a full business life in retailing, and later, loyalty marketing, the other part of Brian Woolf's life has been filled with diverse interests: particularly speaking (including Toastmasters), travel (including all seven continents), and reading (including history). And he has written seven books sharing what he has learned along the journey. Ask him, two favorite trips? Antarctica and the Nile. Ask him, two favorite books? The Lessons of History (Will & Ariel Durant) and Over the Edge of the World (Laurence Bergreen). He loves learning and sharing.

Copyright © 2020 Brian Woolf