The Method to My Madness

A number of friends have asked me what I track on a daily-weekly basis to make predictions and decisions during the pandemic. So much has changed in terms of available data tools over the past 9 months—that I’m constantly evaluating and often changing what I watch.

As briefly as possible, I’ll walk you through my process.

1.) The most useful tool I’ve found for predicting trends at the state level is https://rt.live. With very few exceptions, I’ve found their transmission rate (Rt) trend lines to be highly predictive of rises or drops (depending on direction of Rt trend) in the number of cases. They account for testing volume changes, and give the most accurate look at case number trends as well. The best part? Changes in Rt trends precede case number changes by 30 DAYS! I haven’t found a single indicator out there that has been this useful.

The recent rise (doubling)of cases in INDIANA came as NO SURPRISE TO ME. Rt rose above 1 in late August, indicating exponential, and our cases started rising in late September. I’ve checked out several other states experiencing significant case number increases, and saw the same trend, predicted 30 DAYS EARLIER.

2.) Knowing that cases would likely be on the rise, I then focused on our state’s COVID19 dashboard for county by county numbers. Just because your state is trending in the wrong direction, doesn’t mean your part of the state is following. Indiana’s site is pretty robust, grading each county on positivity, case trends, hospitalization rates and a few other metrics. https://www.coronavirus.in.gov

3.) If your state doesn’t represent the county data in a clear way, you can always use the NYT COVID19 interactive map. Don’t laugh. It’s pretty useful, and you can get a quick county-level trend line on their big map. You can also quickly see hotspot areas across the country. If you want to take a deeper dive into your state or county, scroll down a bit and find your state in the listings/charts. https://www.nytimes.com/…/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

4.) Worldometer gives a quick state by state look at cases and deaths. I check it every few days to see the national trend, and sort the tables by states with highest number of new cases. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

HOPE THIS HELPS IN SOME WAY!