Monday, May 11, 2020

Dr. Thode Analysis: Northeast Could Be Locked Down Until July!


Dr. Steve Thode, the retired Director of Real Estate Studies at Lehigh University, has been crunching the daily numbers from the Covid-19 crisis. He has a disturbing prediction. Based on his analysis, and assuming that Governor Tom Wolf insists on following his own formula, we will be locked down until sometime in July. (July 5-17).

All I can say is I sure hope he's wrong.  Based on the rumblings in other counties, I suspect Wolf will have to open sooner.

Dr. Thode's Forecast Methodology

I started tracking COVID-19 daily new case data for all 10 counties in the Northeast Region beginning on March 30, 2020. Those counties are: Lehigh; Northampton; Luzerne; Lackawanna; Monroe; Carbon; Pike; Wayne; Susquehanna; and, Wyoming. I use the daily case data for each county as reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Here: ttps://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Cases.aspx

When Governor Wolf announced the regional requirement to go to “Yellow” as 50 cases per 100,000 residents for a 14-day consecutive period, I calculated that statistic using 2019 estimated population statistics for each of the 10 counties and the daily new case data for each of the 10 counties.

The 2019 estimated total population for the 10 counties is approximately 1,612,000. That translates to a 14-day COVID-19 new case rate of 806 total new cases.

The 14-day new case rate for the 10 counties peaked at 5,216 on April 15. It has declined substantially since then. For example, by April 29 (14 days later) the 14-day new case rate had dropped to 2,926 for the 10 counties.

I developed my forecast for going to “Yellow” by calculating the geometric average percentage drop in new cases for each 14-day period beginning with the period ending April 29. That captures the total number of new cases from April 16-29. April 16 was the first day the 14-day case rate began dropping consistently.

For example, on April 29, the 14-day case rate had dropped from 5,216 on April 15 to 2,926. That’s a drop of 43.90% over 14 days. That translates to a geometric average drop of 2.63% per day over the period from April 15 to April 29.

From this, I developed two estimates of when the Northeast Region would see its 14-day new cases drop to 806 – the criterion for going to “Yellow.” Both estimates use the daily geometric average percentage drop for the 10 most recent 14-day periods. This is what is known as an exponential decay function.

The first forecast, which I call the “Unweighted” forecast, simply averages the daily geometric percentage drop for the last 10 days, and projects future 14-day case rates based on that average.

The second forecast, which I call the “Weighted” forecast, weights the daily geometric percentage drop from the most recent days (of the last 10 days) more than the earlier days (of the last 10 days). Why? Because the percentage drop has been declining. For example, on May 10, the 14-day case rate was 2,396. 14 days earlier (April 26), the case rate was 3,175. That’s a drop of 24.94% (or a geometric average of 1.58% per day). So, the case rate continues to decline, but more slowly on a percentage basis.

Dr. Thode's Data Caveats

Any forecast is only as good as the data upon which it relies. There are at least two issues with daily reporting of new cases in the 10 county Northeast Region. Some reports are clearly in error. Susquehanna County has reported a negative number of new cases on a couple days. I simply marked those as “0” in my data set.

The more difficult problem is relying on the daily cases reported by each county as actually being the number of new cases from the previous day (or previous 24 hours). There appear to be some “data dumps” in the reporting. For example, on April 28, Northampton County reported 136 new cases – more than the three previous days combined. On May 10, Lehigh County reported more new cases (72) than it had on any day since April 30. Likewise, on May 10, Luzerne County reported more new cases (60) than it had reported on any day since April 14. There is nothing I can do about that.

66 comments:

Anonymous said...

We are doomed!

Anonymous said...

You need to find something else to write about, Bernie. You can only hate on Governor Wolf, and scientists, so much. A lot of us are actually very happy that someone gives a damn about public health, and is very aware that a second wave because we prematurely crack the champagne and let our knickers down could be a genuine disaster.

Anonymous said...

Please stop the Hate of people trying to protect us! No easy solution!
A Pandemic ISIS something apparently this County not ready to deal with!
A balance is needed with health and safety and returning to work!
So easy to complain!
What are ideas rather than just blaming either dems or Republicans!

Anonymous said...

Recalculate and exclude nursing home cases.

Anonymous said...

Let's all agree that the best way to avoid the virus is to avoid nursing homes and avoid being over 70-years old. Older people should continue to isolate and be supported in those efforts by younger people. The rest of us should get back to work and attempt to save the estimated 75,000 lives that will be lost to suicide as a result of the economic devastation.

Anonymous said...

When the weather warms up people will be out,
nothing will prevent this.

Anonymous said...

Wolf has painted himself into a corner.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You need to find something else to write about, Bernie. You can only hate on Governor Wolf, and scientists, so much. "

There is no hate in this analysis. There is just differential equations. I admit I did hate differential equations. I agree we should listen to science. I wish Wolf shared that belief.

Anonymous said...

What is most sad is the abandonment of our elderly and the staff in our nursing homes by Wolf and his pediatrician health department leader. If more effort was made to assist and protect nursing homes them instead of locking up other areas we would be looking at a lot less loss of lives. Then to deny families and monitors access to these places should have resulted in a much greater protest. The families probably had more access to protective equipment than the staff working with the residents. What wimps we are to tolerate these actions. However, the staff and residents can be looked at as marginalized populations as they are the dependent elderly and often staffed with poorly paid minority workers. And Northampton County human service workers are alarmed that they may have to return to work besides some of their fellow workers who volunteered at Gracedale. Note that these workers have been fully paid for all their days working from home.

Anonymous said...

I suggest every local politician, R or D, get very aggressive in having our Region totally in the YELLOW phase by Saturday. Obviously, Philadelphia politicians won’t go along.

People are pissed! They are going to hold every one of you responsible for prolonging this failed shutdown any longer. Now that we have a great number of Counties announcing they will ignore Wolf’s Edicts, he is powerless to stop his objectors by any legal means he chooses. If he tries, our state will be consumed by costly, drawn out legal challenges.

Citizens are on to what’s being attempted here and they’ll have nothing of it. They are suffering too much economically. YOU, local politician, now represent what is despised about overbearing government. Raising money/support and getting re-elected won’t be easy for any of you.

Serve the people, not the party.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the Chicken Little's who want to hide in their closets until the governor says it's ok to come out. They demand everyone else must hide also. Snitch, call the authorities, put them in jail, they scream. I say hide if you want to. I on the other hand am going to brave the elements as people have done for millions of years. Cuts, scrapes, lightning, flooding, bad drivers, bacteria, viruses, fires, to name a few. All can kill and the governor can't prevent it one wit. As it always does, it takes individual responsibility to get past these vexations not the heavy hand of paternal authority.

Anonymous said...

For the most part except Bernie the dems want to stay closed for various reasons none make any sense. Lehigh is home of many left wing people-lehigh people would shut us down for ever--they are socialist.

Anonymous said...

The administration's inability to perform basic math has put it in a tough spot. When coupled with PA's ever-changing numbers, which have become a national joke, it's no wonder there's mutiny. When people don't believe you, you have no authority. When you attempt to exercise authority anyway, people move from disbelief and disrespect, to anger. This is where we are.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't a trained pediatrician understand a pediatrician's limitations regarding epidemiology and put together a blue ribbon team of specialists to manage the pandemic at the state level? I manage a large organization and believe my most valuable skill is understanding my limitations in certain situations, and seeking counsel from those with more expertise than I in those areas. PA has some of the finest colleges and universities in the country. We have a lot of extraordinarily intelligent and experienced talent that could have been tapped, had someone asked.

Anonymous said...

Wolf's whole system is arbitrary. Western PA met the specified number 2 weeks ago. Not opening until this Friday.
Wolf is kind of a pussy when it comes to this stuff. With the exception of the realtors, he has caved on most issues when pushed by the State Senate. He caved on many things in the lawsuit. I suspect that when the senate passes the bill for realtors this week with Democratic support, he will cave on them, too.
The biggest issue is the nursing and personal care homes. Levine should jailed for the DOH's response. Read this article, and tell me this is not criminal: https://www.mcall.com/news/pennsylvania/mc-nws-spotlight-pa-nursing-home-response-20200509-5jdefageija5jbkzgcrxe5rsp4-story.html

Anonymous said...

This article also appears in the front page of MCALL e-newspaper this morning.

Pa. had early plan to protect nursing homes from the coronavirus, but never fully implemented it--by Aneri Pattani of Spotlight PA and Rebecca Moss of Spotlight PA | May 9, 2020

https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2020/05/pennsylvania-coronavirus-nursing-homes-plan-quick-strike-teams/

Anonymous said...

The irony involved in this is that the more people venture out prematurely, the worse the numbers will become. Wolf's standards may indeed be arbitrary but based on what we are already seeing from other places in the US and overseas, the resulting number of cases and deaths are following the changes the models are predicting. No one should be surprised at these results.

Anonymous said...

I certainly appreciate Dr. Thode's analysis. He is working with the "best" data available to him/us. However, the "daily new COVID-19 cases" has NEVER been a meaningful statistic.

That statistic will go up irregularly of course each day until 50% of the population is infected, then it will go down irregularly until the population is 100% infected.

IMHO the better statistic which is apparently NOT being complied or if it is, its being well hidden is:

"daily new hospitalizations" or "daily new intubations" One should also be looking at "total hospitalizations versus total hospital beds in PA".

From my reading, the percentage of deaths versus those infected still is something under two (2) percent (Dependent upon geography included. Though admittedly we appear to be yet unsure of what precisely the lingering after affects may be.

Anonymous said...

If someone can point me to the number of "normal" flu deaths statistic during this current event. I would appreciate it. Interesting how we are unconcerned about that "old hat" flu bug any more---despite IT'S lethal past?

Anonymous said...

That's simply not true. Lockdown defenders point to increased numbers in areas with eased restrictions that are a result of exponentially increasing numbers of tests performed. Overall numbers will continue to increase as more tests are performed. The death rate remains the same and in the same age group. Deaths are overwhelmingly in nursing homes, and among those aged 70 or older. The average age of PA victims is 79.

Anonymous said...

Is it just my imagination or did it look like Wolf had had a haircut at his presser on Friday?

Anonymous said...

7:33: I suspect you flunked high school biology. The numbers in PA are still so high because people didn’t take this seriously. People didn’t stay home. Target is still full of moms and kids not distancing. The grocery stores are still not limiting the number of people in the building and their installations of protective shields is pathetically poor. Merchants that are open aren’t providing protective gear to employees.My neighbors are still having play dates and people in the house and she’s a teacher. Runners still aren’t wearing masks in the parks even though there are signs posting the mask requirement, and runners are exhaling thousands of droplets right in front of us, almost like sneezing. There is still traffic—where are people going? I think you’re anger should be directed at the virus, not the governor. Testing and temperature screening will help will help but you’ll complain about that too. I suspect that you’ll be calling us Chicken Little until someone close to you gets it or dies.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46 said:

"For the most part except Bernie the dems want to stay closed for various reasons none make any sense. Lehigh is home of many left wing people-lehigh people would shut us down for ever--they are socialist."


Lehigh County government is full of party hacks that won't question the Governor.

Shortly after taking office, the County Executive even appointed the Dem Party Chair to be Director of Administration - the #2 position in county government.

The lemmings that have been installed on the board of commissioners will follow lockstep with their party chair, who helps raise the funds for their re-election.

So don't expect any help from Lehigh County Government. They're working for the party, not for you.

Anonymous said...

903 and 908 for the win. Safety, compassion and common sense must prevail. National virus trend is on the upswing while politicos spar over who is right rather than focusing on WHAT IS RIGHT.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:03 said:

"The numbers in PA are still so high because people didn’t take this seriously."

If people didn't take it seriously to begin with, then why not end the shutdown? I suspect you'll say we can't because you know that people DID take this seriously. And now they seriously want to end this.

The purpose of the lockdown was to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed. This has been accomplished, so the state should be reopened now.

Also, far from keeping our state safe, Wolf has made matters worse. Instead of following the science, he made a political alliance with other Northeast governors and ignored nursing homes. That has resulted in PA having some of the worst numbers as far as cases and deaths, primarily in our nursing homes.

Instead of admitting his mistakes, he's doubled down on them and extended the lockdowns. He also is hiding public documents that would detail his decision making.

Instead of calling him out, office-holders in his party have mostly closed ranks behind him. So they don't care about us either.

We have too many of the wrong people in office.

Anonymous said...

May 11, 2020 at 8:35 AM

“That's simply not true. Lockdown defenders point to increased numbers in areas with eased restrictions that are a result of exponentially increasing numbers of tests performed.”

While I agree with you general sentiment, be careful about drawing too many conclusions based on headlines from “reputable” media ( I know that’s not your word, but some like to use it).

There are plenty of coronavirus data available on the internet. Before falling for “OMG, cases are spiking in xyz,” check the data yourself.
The latest whipping boys in the press are Germany and S. Korea. (Oddly, those used to be the golden boys.) Look at the data for yourself.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Click on the individual countries for graphs.

Interestingly, in South Korea, the latest “spike” is traced to a single Typhoid Mary and/or Harry, who appears to have spent a pleasant night bar-hopping in Seoul’s gay district (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Apparently, Seoul completely reopened and folks were jam-packed in bars cheek-by-jowl with no maskes.

Note that not many people are calling for a complete opening, as happened in S. Korea, but merely for some easing so some level of normalcy can be achieved.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are right. I would add that, just as Democrats have rallied behind Wolf when he is wrong, Republicans rally behind Trump when he is wrong. There is too much tribalism and too little independent thought.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:29 said:

"Instead of following the science, he made a political alliance with other Northeast governors and ignored nursing homes."


Wolf and his supporters: Putting Politics Over People.

Anonymous said...

It is time for people to act on their own. Use necessary precautions when going outside as it will benefit all!! The USA is not built for this. People need to survive and by that, that means making a loving for their families! Sure people will get sick and some more will pass. Unfortunately that is life! STAY CLEAN. STAY SAFE! Get people back to work!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:42 said

"What are ideas rather than just blaming either dems or Republicans!"


That's simple.

Reopen to yellow immediately.

See if cases increase to the point of overwhelming our hospitals (since that was the reason for the lockdown in the first place).

If hospitals are handling "yellow", then move to green.

Anonymous said...

9:03 Your argument makes the case of why we should have NEVER closed. If all the big boxes were allowed to stay open, prosper like never before, and further infect us, why penalize the locally owned business whose best interest would be to follow CDC guidelines more closely?

Anonymous said...

If the idiots that are wearing gloves and masks while occupying their cars (1 person) would learn common sense! Smoking with gloves on! The same glove they wore while grocery shopping, getting gas etc!! Take your mask off in your car!! Obviously do not wear gloves while driving!! You people are spreading this Ch!n@ virus!!!

Anonymous said...

Seems highly unlikely they are sick!! CASE CLOSED

Anonymous said...

AGREED!

Anonymous said...

A tale of Elected Leadership:

Beaver, Dauphin, Lebanon - "Enough with this mewling quim Wolf. Let's roll!"

The Lehigh Valley - "Save us daddy, we're scared and don't know what to do. Please TELL US and WE WILL FOLLOW!"


-Clem

Anonymous said...

It's the difference between "We don't believe no stinking doctors" and "Let's follow the advice of the doctors."

Anonymous said...

9:03

If the stay at home order is such a failure, there is only one thing left to do.
Worry about yourself and your family.
I don't believe you are going to shame your neighbors into behaving as you want them to.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'll worry plenty about my family, friends, and self. In the meantime, I'll point out who's needlessly putting us in danger. When the Trump Virus chickens come home to roost, let's be clear about who's to blame.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe if he didn't wash his hands. Trump probabk Anonymous said...
9:03

If the stay at home order is such a failure, there is only one thing left to do.
Worry about yourself and your family.
I don't believe you are going to shame your neighbors into behaving as you want them to.
May 11, 2020 at 11:09 AM

Anonymous said...
Oh, I'll worry plenty about my family, friends, and self. In the meantime, I'll point out who's needlessly putting us in danger. When the Trump Virus chickens come home to roost, let's be clear about who's to blame.
May 11, 2020 at 11:17 AMly doesn't do that either.

Anonymous said...

Looks like when the nursing home chickens come home to roost, it's going to be called the Cuomo/Wolf Virus.

peterjcochran said...

Anon 7:59,You’re right “ a man has got to know his limitations “ .Take the nursing home count ,less the last couple years average death rate at same time frame of year and figure in ,then subtract that from total . Then do percentages against general population. Use of mask when by yourself, the risk can go the other way . Breathing in too much exhaled carbon dioxide over time. Air is about 21% .exhaled is 4%- maybe something more than 5% carbon dioxide variations depending on physical activity. People who have a mask on in their car or house and their alone ,don’t understand lots other things ,goes with the territory.

Anonymous said...

Democrats--Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Nadler, Omar, AOC and others all will go down as great a American politicians why because of the following, Russian probe, impeachment of Trump, All the great democratic policies

Anonymous said...

Gov. Wolf is at this moment doubling down. He has just threatened to without Federal Funds, repeat FEDERAL funds through the CARE Act from those Counties who disobey him. In addition, he threatens to pull business licenses, occupancy permits, etc.

This man is despicable and must be removed if possible.

Anonymous said...

Some believe they will prolong this shut down until after the election in November.

Anonymous said...

To add to my 11:40 AM post. Minutes later, Wolf clarifies he didn’t really mean Cares Act funding will be withheld, only discretionary funds will be kept from Counties who do not obey.

Wolf also made an initial claim he was supported in this by both the State and Federal Supreme Courts. That is actually false. Their opinions were much more focused on just the injunction dealing with his secret business closure list. Later, he walked that gently back when challenged.

Believe it, or not, Wolf also states his Civilian Tracing Corps will probably go into action in 3-4 MONTHS !

State Legislators . . . . It’s time to fight back in best interest of citizen freedom. Grow a spine, and do it!

Bernie O'Hare said...

He has the personality of an amoeba. He can't suspend state funding bc he spent it all.

Anonymous said...

Re: Dr. Thode's caveat:

"The more difficult problem is relying on the daily cases reported by each county as actually being the number of new cases from the previous day (or previous 24 hours). There appear to be some “data dumps” in the reporting. For example, on April 28, Northampton County reported 136 new cases – more than the three previous days combined. On May 10, Lehigh County reported more new cases (72) than it had on any day since April 30. Likewise, on May 10, Luzerne County reported more new cases (60) than it had reported on any day since April 14. There is nothing I can do about that. "

DOH just reported -78 new cases for Northampton county.

Yes, that's a negative sign.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wha? That is insane!

Anonymous said...

For years now I have heard that the danger of a Trump's presidency is that he is an authoritarian who lusts for power, we are now seeing who the real authoritarians are. If the economy is allowed to open, those who desire to stay home may, no one is going to force anyone to partake in the economy. It is time to allow the people to make decisions for their own protection. Give guidelines for distancing etc., then let people decide how they will live.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Luther Valentine Rhodes III, MD --Infectious Disease specialist

I keep reading "Thode" is it a typo? Or is Dr. Thode someone else?

Anonymous said...

11:17

Maybe who's to blame are your neighbors and friends. Worry about what you can control and quit tilting at windmills. Wrath, its my favorite deadly sin. Don't let it get the best of you or it will consume you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:39 said:

"DOH just reported -78 new cases for Northampton county."


Democrat Lemming says:

God bless Governor Wolf for keeping us safe and actually CURING people in Northampton County.

Anonymous said...

Also, does that count in our 14 day average?

Anonymous said...

What are the numbers among those grocery store employees? You know, those people who have been out and about everyday, right in the stink of it.

Sshhh!

Tulsi Gabbard: Presidential candidates must also condemn election interference by US intelligence agencies

https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/485051-tulsi-gabbard-presidential-candidates-must-also-condemn-election

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I keep reading "Thode" is it a typo? Or is Dr. Thode someone else?"

Dr. Rhodes is not a part of this story.

Anonymous said...

Cigarettes were once ‘physician’ tested and approved.

https://www.history.com/news/cigarette-ads-doctors-smoking-endorsement


Listen to the doctors follow the science... reading the entrails of chickens would leave you more informed.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like someone who never got past the fourth grade, I should think.

Doc Rock said...

12:39 - The -78 is from the PSU website here:

https://pennstate.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/9773ab96534c44b0b35e4d7aa8efc1cd

The PSU rocket scientist who entered the data yesterday, transposed a couple numbers and came up with 114 new cases yesterday. The number reported to the state was actually 24 yesterday and 12 today for a total of 36. So, if you take the PSU rocket scientist's two-day total (+114 and -78) you also get 36.

I guess they don't teach PSU rocket scientists to check and double-check their data.

"Don't trust, verify" is the only way to go.

Anonymous said...

AGREED!

Anonymous said...

I am so pleased that Dr. Trump knows exactly what is needed to maintain good health in the U.S. Without him, we'd need to listen to such idiots as the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Fauci. Losers!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Fauchi rhymes with "grouchy" so we can't listen to him.
Instead we should reopen all the country on a whim.
If that makes us ill then that's too bad, don't you see?
That's just because Fauchi rhymes with "grouchy".

Anonymous said...

Monday totals have low totals every Monday because all data isn't recorded and incomplete . Just look at last week. I love encouraging news, then every day until Saturday it becomes sobering.

Anonymous said...

May 11, 2020 at 4:05 PM

"Monday totals have low totals every Monday because all data isn't recorded and incomplete . Just look at last week. I love encouraging news, then every day until Saturday it becomes sobering."

That's why you look at 14 day moving averages.

Anonymous said...

Now the PSU site has 12 news cases for NC for May 11.

I'm thi-i-i-k-k-king of a number.

Anonymous said...

Americans need to wake up to this farce and see it for what it is and how Dumbacrates are using it to destroy America. There false narrative and anticipated calculations of deaths are so far off the need to change tere employment to weather forecasters.

Anonymous said...

I hope Northampton county opens up-because Armstrong and company will never go wolf.