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Dr. Douglas G. Frank is the scientist/mathematician behind this blog.
Dr. Frank received a B.A. in Chemistry from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He qualified for his doctorate at the University of California, Santa Barbara before transferring to the University of Cincinnati in 1986 as part of the Ohio Eminent Scholar program. In 1990, he received a Ph.D. in Surface Analytical Chemistry. After graduating, he formed “ADAM Instrument Company, Inc.,” named for the new surface analysis technique he discovered during his graduate studies. The “ADAM” technique brought him international acclaim, and his work was featured in several scientific books and international journals, including cover articles in Science and Naturwissenschaften. He has over 50 scientific publications, and is internationally regarded as an expert in Auger spectroscopy.
Dr. Frank currently serves as the Math and Science Chair at the Schilling School for Gifted Children in Cincinnati, OH. He is also the President of Precision Analytical Instruments.
Good news about chart and commentary availability:
A facebook group called “Dr. Frank models” has now been established. This will enable you to follow the thought stream of Dr. Frank, and to receive the models as they become available. This blog will remain as the “reader’s digest” for those who do not have Facebook or prefer a “once-daily dose.” The Facebook group can be accessed by clicking here and then requesting membership in the group.
As you know, I am not listening to the news, nor reading the media. I am living and breathing the data. But there are many conversations going on here so I see things. And people send me PM’s asking me questions (maybe five hundred today?). And my wife even came down to tell me what the president said. She was worried too. So I feel I must address it.
**Stick with the data.
**Stick with the math.
There are a few ways to think of this. Let’s do a Fermi calculation.
1) As of today, the country has about 4,000 deaths. But we’re peaking, or close to it. You can see it in the data. So double that = 8,000 deaths total for the country.
2) But let’s assume bad stuff happens, and that the tail of the peak is twice as bad… 4,000 + 8,000 = 12,000 total deaths for the country. Hard to imagine that anything could as bad as New York, but there it is.
3) New York is the worst single situation in the country, everything else pales in comparison. New York is close to peaking. That projects to 3,500 deaths. But say I’m wrong, and it’s twice that = 7,000 deaths.
Deaths in the rest of the country now exceed that of New York. But there are more variables. Let’s say it’s twice as bad as New York’s doubled value = 14,000 deaths.
That’s 14,000 + 7,000 = 21,000 deaths.
4) We’re halfway through the epidemic. That’s why Trump is saying he wants us to social distance until May 1. But let’s say he’s wrong, and double that. That means we are only 1/3 through the epidemic. 4,000 x 3 = 12,000.
So, now we do Fermi:
(8,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 21,000) / 4 = 13,250 deaths.
Some people prefer to use the geometric mean:
(8 x 12 x 12 x 21)^ 1/4 = 12,500 deaths.
These are at least reasonable numbers. Of course, we all hope they’re really high. Seems like the models are tracking to something around 8k, but it is hard to tell with all these mini-spikes from nursing care facilities.
Now, think about that number, round it up to 15,000 to make the math easy. That is four New York Cities (projected deaths). Where are we going to find all those deaths?
We are already halfway through the epidemic, and the entire state of California is tracking to only 300 total deaths. No other state in the union has even broken three hundred yet, and only seven have broken 100. And many of the states have already peaked and are fading. Most of the breakout infections now are in rest homes (tragic), and there will be a lot of deaths from that, but those are limited populations. Not like a densely populated megalopolis.
And speaking of megalopolis, where is Los Angeles so far? They are the worst area in the state of California with a whopping 54 deaths.
100,000? Nah. It’s an order of magnitude off.
“Fallacy of Averages”
Averaging numbers is only justified when there is a reason the numbers should be close to one another. Statisticians call this a “central tendency.”
If I drop a pencil ten times and measure the drop time with a stop watch, I am justified calculating an average. The drop times *should* all be the same.
If I average the 4,000 deaths from Covid-19 over the fifty states, I get 80 cases per state. What good is that number?
“Alligators Under the Bed”
Some parents tell their children that there are alligators under the bed to keep them in bed at night. I get it. Parents need private time, and kids need their sleep.
But I took a different approach. I snuggled and tickled mine, then read them “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “At the Back of the North Wind,” “Donal Grant,” and other great adventures. It didn’t take long ’til they were dozing off. And they had pleasant dreams.
But if you tell your children that there are alligators under the bed, you might accomplish your objective, but then they are going to have nightmares. And once they figure our your ruse they are not going to trust you any more.
I don’t want my leaders to try to scare me into doing the right thing. America is the strongest, wealthiest, most generous, most innovative country in the history of the world. We didn’t have to scare our boys into signing up for WW2. They went because they loved our country.
We are better than this. Let’s expect more from ourselves.
For State graphs, click the state below:
Each state is updated daily, or as often as Dr. Frank supplies an updated chart.
Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California. Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois
Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota. Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont. Virginia. Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
Publisher’s Note: All words below this line are compiled from Dr. Frank. Other than ordering and organizing the comments and the charts, we (DPH) have not edited any of his comments because that would be out of our area of expertise. The comments were given in a social media context, so they have a friendly, conversational tone.
Latest World and USA Model:
(Note: Click on the heading to get a page of past charts for that heading)
At this minute, there are 188,600 reported cases in the US, and 4,055 deaths. My Big USA Model has been projecting a total of about 360,000 total cases, so it’s not surprising that the model thinks that today is the peak.
The “raw” death rate is 4,055/188,600 = 0.0215 = 2.15%
My starting assumption in this process was that the actual death rate was about 1%. If it is, then it means we are only detecting half the cases. Maybe that is good enough. You don’t have to hold an election to estimate the outcome pretty closely. You can do a sample poll.
On the other hand, if you happen to miss a person who is a carrier, it can start a whole epidemic.
Testing has different purposes. Tracking, detection, containment, monitoring, diagnosing…. different purposes at different points in the process.
Provided for completeness. Revised for 3/29.
As I have said on multiple occasions, this graph makes it obvious that we can think of the US as a combination of NY and US49. The “Deaths reconciliation” graph confirms this. We don’t expect the earlier proposed model (shown here) to be lining up now. Continuing to show this graph clearly reveals which of our original assumptions was incorrect. This graph is useful for that purpose. It shows the scientific method at work.
Covid-19 “US Deaths Tracking”
Note: for worldwide models we are only adding the latest graphs. We are not keeping updated records and comments as we are doing for the states.
Covid-19 “Quick Look at Australia”
Covid-19 “Quick Look at France”
Covid-19 “Model Update for S Korea”
Covid-19 “Italy Model Update”
Covid-19 “Quick Look at India”
Covid-19 “Model Update for Iran”
Just added data, but also marked the inflection point in the graph. When things settle down, I can teach y’all the calculus that makes inflection points quantitatively obvious (not just visually).The inflection point is where the progress of Iran’s epidemic suddenly deviated from a model it had followed dead on for weeks. So we suspected a significant second infection.
Covid-19 “Model Update for the UK”
Sounding the alarm. Just added data. Cases up, in tandem with deaths. Time to pray for a small infection.
Covid-19 Model Spain
Covid-19 Model for Cambodia
Covid-19 Model for the Philippines
Covid-19 Model for the Netherlands
I am concerned that your Texas data does not appear to be consistent. It could be data on some days is posted at midday and later posted at midnight. Causing the same day to be inconsistent.
I am not sure if the data bases in each state are updated from various counties time inconsistent. Some counties send their data in on the 30th and other counties send their data in on the 30th two days later. If the data is refreshed from the states single composite file past dates could show slightly higher numbers.
Thanks for your tireless work.