Coronavirus, Update April 21st, Day 61

Coronavirus, Update April 21st, Day 61

Today Lombardy registered 960 new cases, which is a lot for 6.700 tests.  Deaths were once again above 200, although only slightly. The drop in ICU occupancy     (-50) remains constant along with overall hospitalizations (-333).

The real news for Lombardy, which we consider a small victory, is to finally see a drop in the number of home isolations (-226).  As is noted in the slide “this is result of being moved to the healed category”  Hallelujah.

The number of new cases on a national level was 2729 on roughly 50,000 tests. The number of overall deaths once again topped 500.

Key concepts to know

Leggi l’articolo in Italiano

In the graph reflecting the percent increase on a national level, the number remains in line with the last days although worth noting several regions which show up red. As always, I would treat these jumps with caution, perhaps even having a look at the local press for these areas. In these days, it is often the result of increased screening at facilities for the elderly.

Two words on the new projections.
First:  I could not resist, I extended the date to the 20th of May.
Second: I have not changed my view on the value of this estimate, which is close to zero. There are too many unforeseen variables, it’s almost a toss of the dice.  Although I did think back to when I started these posts. The uncertainties were many.  Then, as now, having some type of indication could be useful….so there you go.

I had to amplify the scale of the new cases curve in order to make the last part on the right more visible (anyway this is the part you will look at with the most interest).  Remember the scale is on the left.
To make is somewhat easier I have inserted a small flag which shows the lowest number in the forecast period.

Again, take this as a rough indication also because the algo will continue to recalculate on a daily basis so even the oscillations will vary.
Naturally you understand (actually showing it visibly may be the only useful truth among all these projections) that arriving to the point of 0 new cases does not mean that it will remain so, in fact, it almost never does.

Enjoy your evening.


Dr. Paolo Spada
Link to my Facebook page

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He is a vascular surgeon at the Humanitas Institute in Milan: this article, also published on his Facebook profile, is a daily update regarding the trend of COVID-19 in Italy based on official data published after 6 pm by the Ministry of Health.

The reports I publish here are based on official information. I am a doctor, and I report the numbers that the Ministry of Health issues every evening after 6pm. My job was to automate a system of graphs that show the same data over time, and divided by areas, a few minutes later the dissemination of raw data. It is a useful job, first for me, to understand the progress of the epidemic, but that many websites, and newspapers, do better than me, with interactive and much more complete graphics (as well as all over the world, not Italy only). What I add, taking advantage of some years of experience in the development of algorithms applied to medicine, is a series of projections, that is, attempts to predict the epidemic in the following weeks. It is not a question of wanting to see in the crystal ball, but only of getting an idea of ​​the possible scenario, which day by day you can glimpse on the basis of the real data available. The algorithms were initially designed on the basis of the data of the experience of the epidemic in China, the only available benchmark, against which our numbers, which can be almost superimposed in the first few weeks, vary significantly over the course of days. The projections therefore change, as data is acquired, and are also subject to “assumptions” which presuppose a certain degree of arbitrariness. Among the various hypotheses, I try to represent the “minimum” scenario, that is, the one that will probably happen even in the best of cases, or for good that the contagion goes from here on. Compared to this “little but safe” (which however is never safe) I prefer to contemplate more severe scenarios only if supported by further evidence. Finally, it should be added that the same official data are often incomplete, discontinuous, and discordant in the method of collection between one area and another in the country. An example is that of the number of infections, widely and variously underestimated, but it is not the only one, unfortunately. Although with many limitations, and lacking in the representation of the spread spread in the asymptomatic or paucisymptomatic population, these reports still provide a reading of the health burden, the effort required of hospitals, intensive care, and the number of deaths. The emergency is here, and this remains my focus, with the sole purpose of being somehow useful, and in absolute good faith. I therefore distrust anyone from the improper use, or in any case not previously authorized, of the images and comments. The content of these posts is the result of an initiative carried out in a personal capacity, in no way related to my professional activities and the institutions to which I belong. On the other hand, I have an obligation to mention, with pride, the commitment and the high social and human profile shown by doctors, nurses, and by all the staff and management of Humanitas Research Hospital in coping, at the forefront of this dramatic emergency.