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Has anyone else noticed that the nature of the reported statistics on covid-19 has subtly changed over the course of the pandemic?

I'm sure things are different from one state to the next but at least in Massachusetts we started off reporting new hospitalizations of confirmed COVID-19 cases and then switched to reporting new hospitalizations of confirmed AND SUSPECTED covid-19 cases then at some point stopped publicly reporting new confirmed and suspected covid-19 hospitalizations and instead started reporting daily positive covid-19 tests without mentioning the gradually increasing number of tests being performed.

Now that's a flawed statistic if I ever saw one.

The data published by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows the reality of the situation if you know how to look at it. Here's a couple of graphs that illustrate what I'm talking about.

Massachusetts covid-19 hospitalizations

Note that assuming that the hospital admittance criteria for covid-19 cases has remained fairly stable over time (a reasonable assumption) then the data pretty much clearly shows that the peak in hospitalizations (which clearly lags infections by an unknown but stable amount) peaked in Massachusetts close to April 8th but here it is April 27th and not a word has been spoke in any of the governor's press conferences nor by any press or TV reporting that I've found.

Massachusetts covid-19 deaths

This data shows confirmed covid-19 deaths peaking somewhere around April 16th. Although I would prefer to see a longer confirmation of the downtrend it is known that deaths lag infections by an approximate 2 weeks which pretty much confirms the hospitalization data.

Caveat Emptor

Note that I'm not a trained statistician by trade and I'll gladly defer to the opinion of someone with more knowledge and training in the field than I have. Also note that the data should be smoothed and fitted to a standard gaussian distribution for better accuracy.

I'm also not implying that there is some kind of evil conspiracy to fool people in believing they're still in danger when they aren't.

I suspect that they are justly leery of giving folks information that might convince folks that everything's alright and they can just forget about the whole thing when it's not.

Also note that the pandemic in the US probably started with just a handful of cases and that without knowing how many folks have developed antibodies and without knowing the level and length of protection those antibodies provide I believe that it would be unconscionable to let people go back to business as usual.

I'm perfectly willing to abide by expert advice that even 3 weeks beyond the peak level of infections it's still not safe to "turn off the switch" and let everyone get back to their lives. I just prefer that they not insult my intelligence in doing so.


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