Coronaplague test data show that Florida successfully flattened the curve?

Florida is being described as a Covid-19 disaster zone, but I wonder if the state is being punished for its own success at the March 2020 dogma of Flatten the Curve. Here’s a chart of tests performed and percent positives from John Hopkins:

Florida’s governor ordered a shut down effective April 3. The state began reopening in May. Can we infer from the above data that Florida, with its dense linear city, was a natural plague center, but the dramatic suffering and efforts of citizens actually had a huge effect? From mid-April to mid-June, only a small percentage of Floridians who sought a plague test actually came up positive.

Let’s look at Massachusetts for contrast:

Essentially a textbook unmitigated infectious disease epidemic, right? How about New York?

So… Florida is being pilloried despite the fact that it actually might be one of the most successful examples of flattening the curve!

(Of course, just as noted by the former chief scientist of the European CDC, and just as promised by Flatten the Curve advocates here in the U.S., infections were merely delayed by this success, not prevented. So the current state of Covid-19 affairs in Florida is exactly what one would expect given the successful shutdown.)

6 thoughts on “Coronaplague test data show that Florida successfully flattened the curve?

  1. You seem to be arguing that cases in New York haven’t gone back up because enough susceptible individuals have been infected that that the state effectively has herd immunity, but I live across the river and can assure you the state is not back to normal. Indoor dining and bars remain closed in NYC, schools are not in session because it’s summer, and many people are still working from home. A lot of the reasons to go outside have been removed so there’s obviously going to be much less viral spread for that reason. The number one way to get infected is probably hanging out with friends indoors, but even that seems way down. Many people have either left the city, or are still terrified to expose themselves because of what was going on back in April. Dating and Tinder hookups are also much less common I’m sure because the bars and restaurants are closed (we have outdoor dining, but I have not yet tried it, and there’s a tropical storm going on right now). One of my coworkers is working on a video conferencing dating app.

    • disevad: Thanks for that! The guy is hysterical. Another European who will be talking about how stupid Americans are. I do think he might be wrong on this point: “Sars-Cov-2 isn’t all that new, but merely a seasonal cold virus that mutated and disappears in summer, as all cold viruses do — which is what we’re observing globally right now.” Perhaps it was the shutdown that interrupted the usual course, but certainly Texas and Florida are having a plague right now and it is toasty warm in both states in July!

      “Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their faces would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of Covid-19.” is one of my favorite lines.

      The strongest evidence for him being right, I think, is that there have been zero deaths in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This is a huge population. The countries aren’t incredibly rich, like Taiwan. Yet something is protecting them from dying. If not their immune systems, then what?

    • “there have been zero deaths in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This is a huge population. The countries aren’t incredibly rich, like Taiwan. Yet something is protecting them from dying. If not their immune systems, then what?”

      Vietnam responded fast, having gone through SARS back in 2003.



  2. Wasn’t flattening the curve about the death curve, not the case curve?
    That was back when the disease was thought to be much worse than it was in lethality. Never mind, let’s look at cases.

    Looking at the graphs, the blue line is what really matters. Lots of caveats, but let’s get to those later.

    Those graphs argue that NY and MA policies were spectacularly effective, while FL has only delayed outset of the disease crisis, and is possibly about to get hit hard.

    New York and Massachusetts show a disease that has burnt out. It is the best possible long-term outcome. It argues well for harsh lockdowns. While the shape of the curve looks steep, this is only notable because the drop off in infections was so great. NY and MA can say they have defeated the disease’s spread locally.

    FL looks to have only delayed the disease spread, their infection rate is currently rising — the curve is not flattened, it is inverted.

    So now for the caveats. First about testing. Testing is not standardized, false positives abound and we do not know if the tested subjects accurately represent the general population. The disease is highly localized, so if NY is testing a whole bunch of people upstate, where the disease never really hit hard, it does not speak about the center of the disease in NYC.

    Even with those caveats — things look good for NY and MA policies and bad for FL, when looking at cases.

    The big caveat is how much do positive tests matter. For most people, covid19 is benign. It is easy to identify at-risk populations and have them self-isolate. Deaths from covid are a better indicator. Because of co-morbidities, general deaths above normal are still the best indicator of the disease’s impact and the effects of state action.

    Looking at these numbers, NY and MA are spectacular failures, while FL is a success. It could be argued that lockdown helped NY and MA from having even worse numbers. It could also be argued that lockdown stopped grandma from leaving the nursing home to live with her son and sealed her fate.

    FL death rates over the next few weeks will be telling. One wonders how much of FL’s spike in both cases and deaths is due to transplants from NY and MA.

    Of course the real success story is New Zealand. They totally shut their borders and are now filling stadiums for rugby matches, cheek to jowl.

    If the US had done the same in January or February, all this nonsense would be over, and perhaps even avoided. Should NYC, MA, and NJ have been quarantined from the rest of the country at the outset?

    I am crying over spilled milk. The problem is that we are treating this as a disease that threatens the general population, when it only endangers the very old and unhealthy, who are easy to identify and sequester, without serious impact to the daily life and economy of the nation.

    Those economic effects have been delayed through fiscal, monetary, and legal (eviction moratoriums) mechanisms. NY and NYC are facing massive revenue shortfalls, did next to nothing to cut expenditures during the crisis, and show no sign of cutting future spending. I do not know what the situation is in MA.

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