The Unbiased Texas COVID-19 Tracker: October 7, 2020

It’s that time of the week again, where tens of people review my latest Texas update. If you saw last week’s update, the big theme was that things were flattening out pretty dramatically. That trend is definitely continuing this week in every key category. The Positivity Rate (Total) dropped again. This marks 7 consecutive weeks where this has dropped, which is excellent news. It has dropped almost a full percentage point just in the last week. Another important aspect of this is that this was a particularly bad week in terms of backlog dumping by the state. More than 20 counties dumped significantly late positive results amounting to over 1,000 cases that didn’t actually happen in the last week. The quickest visual indicators in this chart are the 3 rows that shoe the per 100K numbers for Total, >65, and <65. They flattened significantly last week and even more this week. The 7-Day change in the Total category is almost half of what it was last week, the >65 category is changed by 70% less than the prior week and the <65 change remains very flat again.


So, what does all of this mean? Week to week comparisons are a great way to see how we’re trending in real time. What did the 7-Day Changes look like back on August 25 when things were still peaking?

  • Positivity Rate 7-Day Change was more than 200% higher on 8/25
  • Deaths (total) 7-Day Change was almost 500% higher on 8/25
  • Deaths (>65) 7-Day Change was more than 500% higher on 8/25
  • Deaths (<65) 7-Day Change was nearly 400% higher on 8/25
  • Check this one out: The positive rate for people tested was 14.213% on 8/25 and it’s 5.747% this week. Think about that for a second. This is the positive rate for people being tested. So today, 94.253% of the people BEING TESTED are coming back negative. Most people are being tested because they are symptomatic or were in contact with someone who was sick and STILL 94.253% of those people test negative.

Another note: The 2019-20 Flu Report just came out so that column is now complete. The survival rate if you got the flu in the 2019-20 season was 99.962%. The survival rate for this disease is currently 99.946%.

As always, interpret any of this however you choose. My opinion, based on the data, is that it is time to responsibly move on from this. We need to continue to protect the people in high risk categories AND people who are high risk or still concerned need to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. Treatments are significantly better now and there are several very successful options. We’re not throwing everyone on a ventilator anymore and very few people need hospitalization at all. This is really the most important piece of the puzzle. Remember back in March and April, the constant theme was “flatten the curve”? The reason for that was to ensure that hospitals weren’t overwhelmed and to allow time to develop treatments. We’ve done all of that very successfully and the stats support that quite clearly. It wasn’t intended to make us hide from a virus until it went away because that’s simply not possible. Now folks are already warning about a “spike” in the winter and there probably will be. Just looks at flu season – it’s consistently worse in cold climates and in the winter. Colds? Same thing and this is a version of a cold. So, even if things spike in the coming months, the truths remain – we have a much better understanding of treatment and even prevention, there are additional treatments reaching the end of their Stage 3 Clinical trials, and multiple vaccines are nearing completion of there Stage 3 Clinical Trials (if you’re planning on going that route). With the flu season, we have Tamaflu and an entire pharmacy aisle of symptom treatments. For most people, that’s what this is about as well – managing the symptoms.

A while back, I think I said something about trying to keep these updates as neutral as possible so each person can decide for themselves. I still feel that way to a degree, because it’s important for people to reach their own conclusions without bias. That being said, in future updates, you might wanna skip the last paragraph if you don’t want my opinion about it.

And, as always, don’t be a dick.

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