Monday, May 31, 2021

New COVID data shows it was worse than we knew. And that it got a lot better in May

Looks like the Wisconsin Department of Health Services made a few adjustments to how they present their COVID data, now that the overall crisis is slowing down.

So now daily updates will talk less about how many new cases are reported on a given day, and it looks like deaths and new cases are now more reflective of the actual date these events happened, vs when they are reported. I didn't go back to fix every week over the 14 1/2 months of COVID world, but it does mean that we didn't see as much of a drop in cases in March as we first thought, but the significant decline in cases in May is still ringing through.

The data adjustments also mean that the depths of the pandemic were even worse than we thought in Wisconsin. COVID deaths peaked at more than 500 in the 3rd week of November, and there were 16 straight weeks of at least 100 deaths starting in October.

While Wisconsin passed the sad milestone of 7,000 deaths from COVID on May 1, it took a long time to get from 6,000 to 7,000, as this chart shows.

Some of this may be seasonal, but it still is very good progress in stopping the death toll. With new cases continuing to decline (down to 225 a day as of Monday) while vaccination totals plod higher, it seems likely that it will be a long time before we will get to 8,000.

And if those cases are still low in mid-June, which means we didn't get a spike from Memorial Day travel, then I'll think that we'll be in a situation when most sensible Wisconsinites can truly start to act in a way where COVID has to play a role in what we choose to do and how we choose to do it.

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