Flattening the Curve in New York City— an Update on CV-19

Source: CDC, Dr. Drew Harris

As the CDC numbers are completely unreliable and severely lagging, I will solely use New York City’s health department numbers as well as New York State’s health site numbers.

Why New York? It has undeniably become the epicenter of the virus, with over 40% of new cases across the country in the last 48 hours coming from New York state alone. Of the cases in New York, nearly 70% are located within New York City.

This is unsurprising, considering that the tri-state area is not only the most populous in the country, but the densest, with Manhattan accounting for approximately 50,000 people per square mile.

Thus — if we can contain the virus in New York City, we’ll be able to contain it nationally.

The latest numbers as of 6pm on 3/19 from NYC.gov are 3,945 cases in total, with 1, 945 cases reported within the last 24 hours.

What does this mean? Let’s take a deeper look:

Source: Brian Koralewski (BK)

We observe a sharp slope upwards, beginning on March 15th.

How about the daily case change?

Source: BK

As I’ve written in previous pieces — the number of new daily cases is the key metric that needs to decrease to ultimately zero. Only then will our total case curve be “flattened.”

Let’s take a look at the percentage change of total cases:

Source: BK

The total case growth rate has actually declined from 118% to 97% in the last 24 hours, although it is still quite high.

Lastly, we can take a look at the change of the daily change (or the second derivative of total cases), for an even deeper view:

Source: BK

We can observe the slightest decrease in the slope above from March 18th to 19th, which reflects the decline in growth of daily new cases over the last 24 hours. This decline will probably not be consistent however.

Finally let’s superimpose all three together for an overall look:

Source: BK

So what’s going on?

The number of new daily reported cases is certainly lagging by at least a week or two — this is because patients being reported as positive for CV-19 each day, most likely had symptoms earlier and only now are being brought to light.

Therefore — the steeper the growth in daily new cases, and the faster we can test new potential patients, the faster we should get over the hump of the curve and assume our daily case downtrend.

Case in point — New York State Governor Cuomo just this morning instituted a “lock-down” of sorts, stating that all nonessential workers should remain at home. Indeed, quarantines are the only way to effectively kill off the virus as soon as possible.

Take for example China and South Korea, which have managed to stem daily increases of CV-19 to zero, and have thus already flattened their total case curves.

Seoul — with over a million more people than NYC , and nearly as dense as Manhattan— barely registered 300 cases in TOTAL. That is extraordinary.

Overall, it took South Korea approximately eight days (2/28–3/7) to go from trough to peak in daily cases per day before their growth rate declined consistently (see previous link).

My prediction is that New York City should approach its peak in the number of new daily cases within 5–7 days (March 25th-27th), before a clear and consistent decline emerges. This is about half a week longer than it took South Korea. I am also assuming our capacity to test new patients will increasingly scale as well.

Therefore, I am predicting the peak of new daily cases by next Friday, March 27th, at the latest.

Stay safe, stay healthy,
Brian

Brian Koralewski is the founder of Austere Capital — a Digital Asset and Economic Consulting firm. He can be reached at brian@austere.capital

Economist, Ocean Lifeguard, Founder of Austere Capital Advisory (https://austere.capital/)

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