ND COVID Moving Average, 22 October 2020

Case counts came in above 1,000 again today in North Dakota. These episodes of increasing numbers are again one of the virtues of the MA approach. Smoothing out fluctuations up and down is important, but consistently increasing numbers will still see an increase, though muted from its absolute level.

The 14-day moving average is drawing closer to the 10% threshold for the state as a whole which is obviously discouraging to see. I wrote several times already about an issue that gets inadequate attention from policy makers. The fact is that people are scared, and whether you shut down the economy or not, individuals are changing their behaviors to avoid this illness. This includes changing shopping patterns that will put many businesses, especially small businesses at risk. How many small businesses can make it at 90% level of sales? 75% level of sales? Not many I fear. Getting the disease situation in order would allow for a return to normalcy, in some form, and allow businesses to keep afloat until vaccines or further remedies are in place. We see the same picture when we look at the positivity rate with the overall tests.

Looking at the county observations, with positives over time and the color coding representing susceptible test encounters we can see as time passes that positives are increasing as are the number of tests. There is a concern though with the mass of lower number tests which may indicate inadequate testing in some counties.

Here is hoping the data get better soon. Economics may be the dismal science but I am getting discouraged having to consistently report these types of numbers.

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