1/Daily coronavirus data (raw) for Allegheny County (PA) @Allegheny_Co from March 13->November 13. There are many problems with looking only at raw counts; for example, there's no context for testing, positive tests found, hospitalizations, and/or deaths....
2/...We don't know: Ct for the PCR tests, number of asymptomatics among positive results, whether people were hospitalized with or because of covid19 infection, and/or whether people died with or from covid19. Nontheless,...
3/..these unadulterated, decontextualized data tell a story: Unprecedented levels of testing are associated with unprecedented numbers of positive tests; hospitalizations & deaths are a fraction of positive tests found; & deaths are only a fraction of hospitalizations (esp. now).
4/Tests administered and positive tests found:
5/Positive tests found and attributed hospitalizations:
6/Positive tests found and attributed deaths:
7/Attributed hospitalizations and deaths (note low numbers; y-axis):
8/So, even if someone receives a positive test result (a "case"), the chances that anything dire will happen is extremely slim. It's well past time to stop this incessant panic-fueled narrative, to open fully, and move forward. It may not sell papers or generate clicks...
9/...and it may mean that you have to step out of the spotlight and focus once again on the mundane activities of being a county administrator, but we'll all be better for it. Trust me; the data is on your side.

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More from @ZachCol58464771

17 Nov
1/@SecretaryLevine I had such high hopes for you, given your much more measured recent public statements about lockdown dangers. I thought that more sensible, data based strategies (opening PA) were in the making. But according to media reports...
2/...you will use your 1p presser today to announce new restrictions for PA. I am truly disheartened as I thought you had turned a corner. I can see now that I was wrong and my hope misplaced.
3/My renewed hope, though, is that you will announce mitigation measures that “look strong” for political purposes but are for practical public health purposes, weak and unenforceable.
Read 5 tweets
15 Nov
1/Pennsylvania: cv19 positive test results ("cases") and cv19 attributed deaths, copied directly from the PA DoH. This is misleading because the figures are printed to be the same size visually-this makes cv19 deaths appear to be grave and concerning, compared to "cases".
2/But if plotted on the same scale, it's clear that deaths are a very small fraction of "cases" (cases in this visualization are "raw" counts, not corrected for testing levels) - for dates in this figure (Sept 19-Nov 6), about 1.3% deaths as a function of cases.
3/In fact, although there was excess death in the spring (mid-April to beg. June) for those older than 45 (increasing excess death with age; from all causes here), it's been within normal limits since then (even with the Fall Surge; data are incomplete for recent weeks)
Read 4 tweets
9 Nov
1/I try very hard to stick with the data in my posts, but sometimes I veer into editorializing (which is data driven but layered in sarcasm). That said, I’m going to try something different with this thread.
2/First, masks are dumb. Second, lockdowns are dumb. Third, crowd restrictions are dumb. Fourth, getting a cv test when you are not sick is dumb. Fifth, forcing students to get tested for cv when they are not showing symptoms is dumb....
3/Sixth, quarantining people that are not sick is dumb. Seventh, contact tracing with widespread cv spread is dumb. Eighth, calling positive test results cases is dumb. Ninth, reporting positive test results without more information on the context for testing is dumb....
Read 4 tweets
3 Nov
1/Repeating: # positive cv tests found is strongly dependent on the number of tests given. The figure below, for Allegheny County (PA) clearly illustrates this relationship. Curve shape is very similar, meaning that positive test ("cases") reports must account for testing level. Image
2/This figure illustrates # positive tests found, while controlling for # tests. These are reported as averages per day per month, April-Oct. The # positive tests found in July was statistically higher than in all other months, after a meaningful decrease April-June... Image
3/...and after a meaningful decrease from July to August, positive tests found increased meaningfully in September and stabilized from September to October (no change). Put another way, the county's "Fall Surge" amounted to finding ~16 additional positive tests per day.
Read 13 tweets
29 Jul
1/Thoughts and opinions on today's ACHD press conference (thread)
2/First, there continues to be an obsessive focus on case counts as important for substantively informing decision-making regarding schools, sports, etc...I can't stress enough how wrong-headed this approach is: cases without context are meaningless.
3/Second, there's now a focus on percent positive cases (positive cases/tests administered) with no appreciation for how contact tracing and hotspot chasing are inflating this metric. It's now near useless as an index of viral spread and should not be used for decision-making.
Read 10 tweets
27 Jul
1/Update for Allegheny County (PA) using @HealthAllegheny dashboard, current as of this morning and confirmed through 7/21 (i.e., dates locked for tests, positive cases, hospitalizations, & deaths). Note there's always some movement even after a date is "confirmed" (thread)
2/Data from the @HealthAllegheny dashboard is the best source for our county; the numbers reported in press releases are accurate for *reporting day* but not for *date of occurrence*
3/# tests & # confirmed cases. Testing numbers have decreased and with that decrease comes a decrease in positive cases. Tough to see here but since 7/1, the rate of the case decrease has been faster than the rate of the testing decrease. Getting harder to find positives? Maybe.
Read 10 tweets

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