update on US covid case counts adjusted for testing levels

the news is good and keeps getting better

since last we looked at US covid cases about 2 weeks ago the news just keeps getting better. the “scariant” claims have continued to fail to materialize into anything resembling an actual issue and the US has been hitting new lows, states that opened and unmasked are showing no ill effects whatsoever, and all the broadly bellowed claims of crises put forward by the rear guard of team apocalypse have fallen flat. even the CDC is now looking for a climbdown and if we are lucky, a form of “don’t ask don’t tell” on vaccination will provide it.

let’s look at the data:

covid cases normalized for changes in testing level continue to drop and to make new all time lows and current testing level remains at 1-1.1 million/day (an extremely high level but down considerably from the highs.

this is echoed in the positivity data (% of tests coming back positive for covid) which has also been making new lows and broke under 2% for the first time on 5/16.

note how important it is to control for testing levels:

failure to do so leads to the whole pandemic having the wrong slope. this winter was not far higher than last april, it was over 40% lower. most of what that raw “case” number a disturbing number of public health officials (who absolutely ought to know better) is just this:

when ~63% of a variable you are measuring is predicted by another variable endogenous to what you purport to desire to measure, failing to control for that variable is either egregious statistical malpractice or outright misrepresentation.

(and yes, testing affects hospitalization rates, deaths, and every other metric too, especially vs early on comparisons. you can only see what you look for.)

hot spots in the US have all but ceased.

and data from the “neanderthal” states looks excellent. even better that when we last checked in with the prognostications of the drama llamas.

even among the older neanderthals:

of interest, this bucks the seasonal trends we observed last year where the southern states in the US saw summer surges vs the winter surge in the northeast etc. whether this is dispositive of reaching herd immunity or just a homogenation of seasonality post a virus becoming fully endemic seems a matter of current debate and interest. i’m not sure we can say for sure at this point.

that said, the early signs show some cause for initial optimism. when we stack the hope simpson seasonality pattern that worked pretty well last year, it would predict that we’d be rising by now. this can wobble around a few weeks and so is hard to make a claim this precise from the data at this point so the next several weeks bear watching.

it’s worth keeping in mind that those obsessing over vaccination rates are missing half the ballgame. there have been over 30 million confirmed cases of covid in the US since march of 2020. the full number is almost certainly 2-4 times that. this renders a large portion of the population already resistant and acquired natural immunity works as well or better than vaccination.

add to that US children, who have been so extremely resistant to covid all along and who have failed to spread covid, get sick, or progress to serious illness in any meaningful numbers and the “firewall” portion of the nation so far exceeds the “dry tinder” that one may be forgiven for feeling optimistic about this winding down and justified in being baffled by demands for more forced vaccination, vaccine passports, masking, and closures.

if you are vaccinated, risk was already way below any level humans have ever been shown to care about. (HERE)

add the vaccinated to the recovered to the non-vulnerable in general, and there is just no case here to force anyone to do anything even if you believe that masks and distancing work. (and they don’t. they never did. and this was known.)

there is at this point no reason to presume that returning to normal life poses any unusual risks, those who have done so have been at concerts and ballgames and dance clubs for months and it’s having no ill effect.

covid looks to be on the run and the chohorts of the vulnerable have shrunk massively.

turn off the fear box and go live your lives.