• Bill
    April 26, 2020

    I have enjoyed reading your blog from Atlanta where we are in the midst of an experiment of a partial reopening. I was interested in your interpretation of stats that show the death rate for Covid 19 in Georgia is 8/100,000 vs 84/100,000 in NY. It also appears that in NY about 90% of the deaths occur in people over 65. I am 58 and certainly am concerned about my risk factors for going back to work practicing law at a large firm in a high-rise but I also agree with you that we can’t stay locked down much longer without killing the economy and a lot of young people as well due to the economic effects on their well being. Thanks for all you do to bring light to this crisis.

    • Brian Goebel
      April 27, 2020

      Bill, thanks for your note. Any relation to a Jim Wildman, class of ’93 at William and Mary, also from Georgia? If so, that would just be more evidence of how small our world is becoming. As for your question, I think the short answer is we don’t know exactly what explains the differences in fatalities per capita because we don’t know the actual percentage of the population in each state that has been infected (although it seems fairly high in NY based on the reporting I’ve seen and given the population density). We would also need to look at the age and health of each population. The CDC has identified age (>65) or presence of certain underlying health conditions as the two greatest risk factors for serious illness resulting from COVID-19. At the outset of the pandemic, I raised the possibility that CA would fare better than Italy, for example, because we are much younger and very few people smoke cigarettes. In the months ahead, I’m sure this will be studied by infectious disease experts. For now, I think we know enough about the virus to implement more narrowly-tailored public health measures across the country. But these would still be significant measures, at least for the near-term. And I would probably transition in 2 or 3 stages of about 14 days each so that a government could monitor the impact of each change on hospitalizations. GA may have gone a little farther and a little faster than I would have recommended. But I certainly hope it proves to be successful. Good luck with the transition and please stay healthy. Brian

  • Susan B.
    April 30, 2020

    Brian – I love your analytics on this and have shared on facebook (thanks). I agree we need to be more aggressive at getting our economy moving again. I like the idea of phases in 2 week increments that give us the opportunity to move forward into more loosening if the caseload stays stable. I’m in San Francisco and we have had only 25 deaths and today only 9 cases. It is clear the lockdown is working but it is time to slowly and thoughtfully open things back up. People are getting tired of being in jail and the rational thinkers aren’t buying all the fear-mongering that is continuing. I fear we are in a super-conservative spiral that we won’t be able to lift out of. BTW – I’d ring-fence LA County for the moment until they can make more progress. Keep posting and stay healthy!!

    • Brian Goebel
      May 1, 2020

      Thank you very much. If we could get to the point where local governments could implement their own public health measures, I suspect many would opt for some type of incremental framework where changes would be implemented, monitored, and then built upon if successful (or revised if not). I hope we get there soon. Thanks for reading and sharing.

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