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Which COVID numbers do you check?

December 13, 2020 pm31 2:04 pm

Before Thanksgiving NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference where he talked about how low New York State’s COVID numbers were, and how bad the numbers were in other places. North Dakota. Wyoming. He said Wyoming again and again, each time slowly, carefully forming each syllable like he was doing physical therapy for his jaw and tongue. “Wyoming.” He made it sound strange, foreign. I’ve learned that we do not make fun of names. Andrew needs that lesson.

Before Thanksgiving Wyoming had a case rate of about 130 out of every 100,000 residents. New York State had a rate of 25 out of every 100,000. As of yesterday those numbers were 73 and  51.

At Thanksgiving my neighborhood was middle of the pack in the Bronx as far as test positivity – around 3-4%. Today the middle of the pack in the Bronx is over 6%. My neighborhood is at 8.6%.  Brooklyn’s at 5.5% Manhattan’s at 3.0%. Queens at 6.0%. And Staten Island at 8.9%. (actually, these are moving averages from 4 – 10 days ago. To find out today’s rate, I’ll need to check in 4-5 days).

There were 4000 COVID positives in New York City yesterday. Before I go further, a joke:

The Lord Chancellor frantically alerts the English King (English so that I don’t have to translate the story) – “sire, the French are invading!” The King asks “How many knights do I have in my kingdom?” “Three thousand nine hundred and eighty-five sire” “Round them up!” “Four thousand, sire”

Yesterday there were 3985 COVID positives in New York City.

Where I am pulling numbers from?

Indirectly much of this comes from the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University which clearly is doing a great job. But I have trouble figuring out what I want from there. And for NYC, the source makes more sense. So here are the websites I consult daily:

NYC Health Department of Health COVID-19: Data page. I keep it set at the default (Latest), scroll down to the “Percent Positive and Test Rate of Molecular Testing by ZIP Code” and I look at the map (that comes up first, but also at the table, and at the “By Borough” which gives graphs of positivity rates over time.

I go each morning to a page NPR maintains – Coronavirus Is Surging: How Severe Is Your State’s Outbreak? – and scroll down to a big old honeycombed map of the US. I scroll over each state and see what the latest case rates are. These are those numbers “out of 100,000.” Apples to apples, and the numbers move slowly over time. The data comes from the Johns Hopkins site, but nicely packaged and easier to access.

Finally, I go to the good old World-o-Meter, go straight to the World-o-Meter New York State page, click “yesterday” (because that data is complete) and sort by “new cases.” That brings the five boroughs to the top, which is how I found 3985 for yesterday, which is like 10 times higher than not all that long ago.

I may follow up and explain how I read these sites (some of which is straight-forward, but some of which is not).



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