Every morning I check the Covid-19 stats for the state and county I live in. Every day the numbers get bigger and the picture grimmer, even when things are improving. How can this be?
First of all, let me dispel the notion that I want to downplay the danger. Far from it; I fully support efforts to get people to wear masks in public places, to avoid large groups, and to keep a reasonable distance apart when interacting. I support those measures being made mandatory when necessary. I hear people say that they’ve “done their time” in lockdown, and that it seemed to them that the threat turned out to be much less than the government let on. Setting aside for the moment the question of what motivation there would be for the government to impose lockdown, except to keep the pandemic under control, these people miss the obvious fact that the measures they complain about are exactly why the direst predictions never materialized.
But those issues have been dissected and debated abundantly; there’s no reason to add my 2 bits beyond what I have already written. My interest here is in information and the extent to which it is useful.
Keeping a running total of infections doesn’t seem to be very useful. You might find it helpful if your motive is to keep the sense of crisis alive, but even that is questionable. There is no shortage of published articles on crisis fatigue. At a certain point, there’s just an overload, and the human alert system just shuts down. Eat, drink, and be merry, as the saying goes, for tomorrow we die.
We need a way to assess how many people are actually infectious at any given time. In my county, for example, just over a thousand cases have been reported since the beginning in March. Something over sixty have died. But I can’t easily find how many of those cases have recovered.
So, out of that thousand, you can subtract the deaths, which are statistically miniscule. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could also subtract the number of recovered, and therefore no longer infectious, cases? I know those numbers are available, but why can’t we see a number for current cases that are actually a potential threat? Shouldn’t that number be front and center?