One Mild Positive Sign

March 12, 2020 10:43 a.m.
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You have to find good news where you can at the moment.

There is at least good evidence that testing is starting to pick up. Terribly, terribly below where it needs to be, but here are some numbers. According to imperfect but best available statistics, by March 10th 4,889 people had been tested. By yesterday it was 7,617. As of this morning it’s 8,900. It seems likely to go well over 10,000 today.

Let me say a few words about the nature of these statistics. The COVID-19 Tracking Project is compiling these numbers from state and county health departments. States are reporting the numbers in a scattershot variety of ways. A significant number aren’t reporting the total number of tests, only positives. So we shouldn’t treat the individual numbers as rock solid. But they’re the best we have available. And we can have a relative confidence that they are both broadly accurate and indicative of the trend.

As I mentioned yesterday, the CDC is just beginning to get some statistics online, which is great. But they remain significantly behind. As of this morning they appear to have significant data only through March 8th.

One additional point: when I say that many are on the 10th or 11th, this doesn’t mean the tests were literally taken that day. They were reported that day. So mostly it’s the day before and there may be some additional lag, some the day previous to that, etc. They are the best data we have on the scale of tests being administered. By contrast, South Korea, a country less than 1/6 the size of the United States has administered well over 200,000 tests.

The COVID-19 Tracking Project is included in the Crisis Links footer to each Editors’ Blog post.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.

Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).

COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.). (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).

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