Caseload Comparisons

I’ve been thinking about caseload recently. That is – how many people TODAY are either contagious with COVID or coping with COVID – and how that number compares to what we like to optimistically think of as the peak back in April when the tristate area was overwhelmed with cases.

As we know we are now in a position where the US in total is setting records for the newly recorded daily cases.

Does this mean we have more contagious people now – than in the past? Yes.

Lets take a look – on a state level.

NY state has 19 million people. It hit its peak level of tested contagious of 132,766 people on April 15th and peak caseload of 253,866 on April 23rd. Now for sure NY was not testing enough – so the real numbers are likely much higher – but bear with me. This is the worst of the NY picture from the available ‘TESTED’ data set. Today New York’s caseload is 1086. Less than 1% of its peak.

Now – lets look at Arizona and Florida today – setting records for new cases.

Arizona – estimate of # contagious people is ~50,000 and caseload is ~85,000. Caseload per capita is ~12,000 per million which is # 2 in the COVID history of this country. Second only to NY – and above NJ, Rhode Island, Massachusetts etc.

Florida – estimate of # contagious peole is ~119,000 people and caseload is 167,000. Caseload per capita is ~7,700 per million. This is now #6 record high for the country.

Here are the states with the worst caseload per million today and their estimated hospital burden from COVID
StateCaseload per millionHospital Burden
South Carolina7,14347%
North Carolina4,14828%
All states with caseload exceeding 4,000 per million of population – as of 7-8-2020

Caseload is helpful in predicting hospital usage. At the NY peak – the estimate of 15% of cases was used to predict hospital usage. Using that metric – my model shows Arizona at 96% used, consistent with reports from media.

Recall my earlier post on Vermont’s high bar for entry into the state. That was based on caseload calculations. Caseload is a very sensible way of measuring the potential covid contagion risk, as well as the potential burden on hospital systems.

A note on my definitions:
  1. Assume contagious period is 2 weeks from date of positive test
  2. Assume ‘coping period’ in total is 1 month from date of positive test
  3. Assume person is recovered on day 31
  4. Hospital beds by state. This is the resource I used

All assumptions are generalizations – so for some people they may struggle for several months, or others may sadly pass away within 2 weeks. The point of the assumptions – when applied to a large population – is to reasonably model the effects.

In this case – caseload estimates predict the potential population who may at some point need hospital care.

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