VirtualWright | COVID-19 | “Jester…”
So, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced his five-step plan to reopen Illinois (i.e., the rest of us because he and his family don’t have to follow the rules). Here they are:
Phase 1 – Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.
Phase 2 – Flattening: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Non-essential retail stores reopen for curbside pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face-covering when outside the home and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating, and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.
Phase 3 – Recovery: The rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops, and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. All gatherings limited to 10 or fewer people are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
Phase 4 – Revitalization: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care, and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
Phase 5 – Illinois Restored: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals, and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first two items actually are about closing Illinois, not reopening it. But they’re there as a threat that he might close it down again if we don’t behave.
Look at Phase 1. “Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.” Here is the breakdown of total deaths by county where he says all areas of Illinois have experienced rapid spread:
It’s hard to figure how all those counties who have experienced only one death could be lumped in with those at the top.
Now let’s talk about Phase 3, which he states no place in Illinois will reach until the end of May. The following three items need to be stable or declining:
- The rate of infection among those tested,
- the number of patients admitted to the hospital,
- and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining.
And here are those three metrics for the past two weeks, graphed from data on the Illinois Department of Health’s web site:
Beds are stable and the percentage of cases testing positive is clearly declining steadily. Here are the graphs on capacities from that website (from which I extracted some of the data for the above):
You can see that, statewide, there is plenty of capacity but there has been an increase in usage, but it is not due to COVID-19, it is due to other patients (probably those who were not willing to go to the hospital previously or perhaps they were declined admission because they were not considered important enough.
NBC Chicago reported the following:
“Restore Illinois is a public health plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold in our fight against COVID-19,” he said. “This is also a data-driven plan that operates on a region-by-region basis, a recognition that reality on the ground looks different in different areas of our state.”
According to Pritzker, Illinois began phase two of its reopening plan on May 1, when a modified order took effect allowing some businesses to reopen. The earliest any location can begin entering phase three will be May 29.
The governor states that his plan is data-driven and that Phase 3 won’t be reached until the end of May, yet his own data shows we are already there.
This is a sham. He’s playing games and trying to misdirect us, hoping we won’t investigate for ourselves. And this court jester acts like he’s king. That he, and he alone, will decide when to reopen. He and he alone will interpret the data as to whether it will fit his criteria. And, if he and he alone feels like it, he’ll shut us all down again and throw us back to Phase 1.
Richard J. Wright, a chemist and information technology specialist, has been tracking the official Covid-19 epidemic (SARS-CoV-2 virus) data and assessing our government’s disease progression modeling, plus responses, at virtualwright.com.