Monday, June 14, 2021

There are all sorts of reasons why COVID data is hard to interpret

This detailed explanation letter from the Alameda County Public Health Department explains why overall COVID deaths in Alameda County have been restated from 1,634 to 1,223:

Alameda County previously included any person who died while infected with the virus in the total COVID-19 deaths for the County. Aligning with the State’s definition will require Alameda County to report as COVID-19 deaths only those people who died as a direct result of COVID-19, with COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death, or in whom death caused by COVID-19 could not be ruled out.

Alameda County has appx 1,671,000 people.

So, prior to this adjustment, we thought that appx 0.1% of the population had died of COVID so far; aligning the definitions with national standards shows us that 0.07% of the population has died of COVID so far.

Meanwhile, in more good news, the county continues to inch closer to complete vaccine coverage, with 1.98 million doses administered to this date.

And even closer to home, in my hometown 85% of the population aged 12+ are at least partially vaccinated; 71% are fully vaccinated. For the county as a whole, those numbers are 79% and 64%.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Vaccine Complexity

Through a combination of the amazing Tableau data analysis software, applied to the extensive California Open Data Portal datasets, you can now see an amazing breakdown of COVID-19 vaccination data down to the individual ZipCode level, across the entire state.

Spending some time with this visualization tool is amazing. Not only can you learn a lot about the situation across various areas of the state, the challenges of "vaccine equity" become crystal clear.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Less: a very short review

When I started reading Andrew Sean Greer's Less, I didn't understand why I was reading it, nor what all the fuss was about (Less won numerous prizes, including the Pulitzer).

But I found myself continuing to read, page after page, chapter after chapter, and quickly I became captivated and enchanted.

It's hard to explain why Less is so much fun to read, but almost every single page is graceful and sincere while still being outrageous and hilarious.

And that's a hard thing for a book to do!

Our hero, Arthur Less, doesn't take himself too seriously, and doesn't take the world too seriously, and yet still somehow has an entirely serious observation to make on almost everything, nestled down there in betwixt all the sly pokes and rude chuckles.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

News of the World: a (2nd) very short review.

News of the World, perhaps better known as "that movie that Tom Hanks was making when he caught COVID-19 on the set", turned out quite well, I thought.

It's nowhere near as good as the book, but I think that it did a very good job of capturing the essence of the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Possibly vaccine progress?

It is a bit hard to see, but the diagram below, from the CA State COVID-19 dashboard, shows that the Alameda County count of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 is down to 68 patients.

Not only does that represent a 30% drop in patient count in the last 12 days, but perhaps even more importantly it is the lowest count of hospitalized patients in Alameda County since the counting began, back in March of 2020.

I haven't read any detailed analysis of this data, but I've certainly been watching these numbers every day for months, wondering if and when the hospitalization count would ever drop (note how stubbornly it hovered at ~ 100 patients for the last 2.5 months, even as daily case counts plummeted during that time).

Hopefully this is a real finding, and represents real progress.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Time to upgrade that phone!

I have an iPhone 6, meaning I'm locked on iOS 12.

I recently learned about the existence of Silence Unknown Callers.

That one feature, right there, might be enough to get me to finally buy a new iPhone.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Vaccine Progress

This is what public health success looks like (from the May 25, 2021 state dashboard page):

Now, 618 new cases and 8 new deaths in a single day is still a tragedy. Hospitalization numbers remain high, and vaccination numbers are still a long way from where we'd like them to be.

But as recently as early March, California was still reporting more than 2 thousand new cases a day, as well as more than 100 new deaths a day, so the progress here is dramatic.

I hope the state is able to continue to drive millions more vaccine doses through under-served communities, and the overall progress continues at this rate.