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…An Even Bigger Boat

What a Difference a Week Makes!

Okay, then NOW its crunch time for the US versus COVID-19!!

First, thanks to all for the positive feedback on last week’s COVID update, You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat.  As luck would have it, we issued the blog on Friday and then many of the US state case counts went into orbit that same day- very active week. What follows is a short supplement that updates the US numbers and answers a few interpretation questions that have been asked.

United States Case Counts

The daily case counts through October 27th are as follows:

On October 20, when the last edition was published, the 7-day average was 61,481. In the last seven days the average has risen to 72,633, a five-figure increase. The current total surpasses the July peak and is more than double the low point from early September.

How do we know the numbers are “real”? I’ve been asked this question quite a bit due to election proximity. I’d say there are two factors that legitimize the increase. First, we noted previously that the virus appears to spread faster in cold weather. This was seen in the southern hemisphere during their winter months, and it has also been seen with the rate of increase in the United States being more focused in the northern states. The state-by-state map is as follows:

The orange states have all experienced at least a 40% increase in daily case counts, yellow from 0-40% increase, and green states have a decrease in counts. The table on the right lists the states in which the case count has more than doubled since September 1- total of 27 states, up from 19 last week. The pattern on the map supports the hypothesis that northern / colder states are indeed increasing faster than southern / warmer states. There are other factors involved of course; will continue to monitor as winter arrives.

The other supporting evidence that the increase is real is to look beyond the United States and see what is happening in the European countries as they enter their winter. The table below shows the top ten countries in Europe with regard to highest case count on Sep 1 and Oct 27, with the % increase in the right-hand column.

Note that Spain is the only one that hasn’t at least doubled (barely). Belgium, the Netherlands, and Poland were under 700 cases per day, and they have skyrocketed over 9,000 per day each as the weather has turned. This strongly supports the cold weather hypothesis and does not bode well for the future.

United States Deaths

The deaths per day graph has been updated below.

Definitely can see an upward trend at this point; up about 90 deaths per day from last week. (Note: in last week’s blog the number from Oct 21 was highlighted; I substituted Oct 20 above to make the comparison apples-to-apples by day of week.)

Unfortunately, the US has retained the number one position in total deaths at 232,000, which has grown to about 75,000 more than #2 Brazil. And the death rate per million residents has grown to 700 even, which remains the 10th highest in the country rankings.

Conclusions

People have asked me if I think we should shut the country down or learn to live with the virus. We have no choice but to learn to live with the virus, but I sure would like to live with it for as short a time as possible. I continue encourage everyone to be vigilant, which includes getting a flu shot and observing safety protocols.

Very much hoping there won’t be another update soon!!!!

Ralph Smith

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