Welcome to 50,000 reported cases, of which roughly half are in New York. In other news this morning, India announced a total lock down of the entire country for 3 weeks, “a total ban on venturing out of your homes”, as the Prime Minister said. India has a population of 1.3 billion people. So, with that one order, 1/6 of the world’s population is now under stay-at-home orders. That’s without considering similar orders in other parts of the world. Just, wow.

But back to the US numbers. Some good news is that our trend line is down slightly. Although the chart hasn’t updated today, as of last night the long term regression was at 29%. That’s the number I’ll be using for today’s projections. I’m still only going to project out to April 1st, but I’ll start projecting a bit further later this week. Starting with 50,000, here’s what the projection looks like.

3/24 50,000
3/25 64,500
3/26 83,205
3/27 107, 334
3/28 138,461
3/29 178,615
3/30 230,414
3/31 297,234
4/1 383,431

The decrease to 29% has pushed the 100,000 threshold to Friday instead of Thursday. We’ll take what we can get. Sill, remember that these are not hard and fast numbers, they can and will change. As we do more, or less, testing, we’ll see the growth rate climb or drop a bit. Even a little drop in growth rate can make a substantial difference. That’s why people try to get the lowest interest rate on a mortgage they can. The total price of a house financed at 4% is a lot less than if it were financed at 4.5%.

Another thing to remember is that the effects of social distancing take some time to show up. The cases we’re seeing reported today are from infections last week or the week before. The onset of symptoms can take up to two weeks. It’s possible that we’re beginning to see some effect from the stay-at-home orders and that’s why the rate has dropped some. Or, the change in rate could be from some other cause, or it could just be noise. It will take a while to figure that out.

Of course, all of this is based on reported cases. We really don’t know how many actual cases there are. New York’s numbers are skyrocketing not just because they’re doing a lot of testing, but because they’re tests are coming back positive at a much higher rate. New York has a positive test rate above 25%. WA and CA have rates around 6%. This suggests that New York had a very high rate of unknown infections compared to WA and CA and that those infections are just now coming to light. It’s possible that the virus first came to NY and was spreading there before the first case was detected in WA. That’s another thing that we just don’t know.

A year from now, we’ll have filled in a lot of the gaps in our knowledge, but for now we just have to do the best we can with what we’ve got.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home.

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