Today is a highly abbreviated update: we are going to take a day or two to step back to make sure that we can see the forest for the trees.
Numbers: The US, Italy, NY, and NJ are all up yesterday and today. Moreover, testing still seems inadequate in many areas, at best. We keep hearing more stories about people that ought to be tested and either aren’t or it is medically safer for them to ride it out. We’d much prefer to have hard data on this than stories but no one is counting “not tested people,” so quantitative data is impossible to come by.
The lack of quality data will continue to hide two critical numbers: the total cases — how far has COVID-19 spread — and IFR, how deadly is this. Missing those numbers have real effects on the ability of policymakers and medical professionals to make sound decisions.
Tennessee Cases: At 1,200 we are still at exponential growth as a state. Which is the same thing as yesterday.
Hospitals: New York is sounding the alarm bell as loud as they can about how their hospitals are at capacity and close to being overrun. They are attempted to triple beds available inside about three weeks. So what? Your local community had better be watching NY to get an idea of what is coming next. Or take much more drastic actions than we have seen to date.
The Stimulus Bill is now Law: Read Axios’ summary of it. At 873 pages we’re pretty sure that there is going to be a lot more to learn than the summary. Be skeptical of anyone telling you to do something to get your check! The reporting — so far — is that it will be direct deposits without tax payer input. We’ll update you here if we see that change.
Social Distancing: Like non-testing quantitative data is impossible. Your author drove around West Knoxville today and observed that many places — especially gardening stores — were slow for a Friday but not that slow overall. This will show up in the case numbers, eventually. Exponential growth won’t stop with halfway-social distancing, that’s not how the math works.
What we are watching next: The things we are internally focusing on next are: (1) what is going to happen in hospitals: we expect that if hospitals are overrun, that will trigger new responses from policymakers. (2) How long is COVID-19 going to be around in a significant fashion. We believe we need to update forecasts just to run our own business but expect that we need 5-7 more days worth of data at minimum, and 10-15 would be preferable.